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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
One of the best travel credit cards currently on the market is the Barclaycard Arrival. Back in April, Barclaycard upped its sign-up bonus to 40,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, but my contacts at Barclaycard have confirmed that the minimum spending requirement is going to increase to $3,000 within 90 days very soon (exact date TBD), so if you’ve been thinking about applying for this card, now might be the best time to get in on the offer. There may be some other minor changes to the offer, but the sign-up bonus will still be 40,000 points after the increased spend. Right now the 40,000 point sign-up bonus equates to $440 in travel rewards- not bad for a card with no annual fee the first year ($89 thereafter).
I’m not terribly surprised because the card’s main competitor, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, has a similar 40,000 point bonus (45,000 if you add an additional user) after $3,000 spent within 3 months and the trend I’ve seen among lucrative credit card offers is to increase the initial spend bonuses. While Arrival points cannot be transferred to airline and hotel partners like the Sapphire Preferred, they’re good for covering travel expenses that normal airline miles and hotel points cannot cover (like trains, award ticket fees, purchasing airline tickets, B&Bs and more). Having an Arrival card is another smart step in diversifying your points portfolio, also because you get 2x on all purchases, so it’s especially good for purchases that don’t have a category bonus on any other card or foreign expenses since there are no foreign transaction fees.
As a reminder, here are the current terms:
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
- 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99% depending upon your creditworthiness.
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- No mileage caps and no foreign transaction fees
- Get 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel
- Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no restrictions and no blackout dates
- Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
- Complimentary Triplt Pro subscription – the mobile travel organizer that helps make traveling easier (an annual $49 value)
- $89 annual fee waived the first year.
So as you can see, there are a lot of reasons to get the Arrival. First is that 40,000-mile sign-up bonus. Those miles equate to over $440 in value when you use them for travel expenses including:
Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (including online agencies such as Expedia, Priceline and TripIt)
Hotels, Motels and Resorts
Car Rental Agencies
The card earns 2X miles on all purchases, and you can redeem those miles at a rate of 1 cent each towards travel in the categories above (note, the expense must be categorized as travel on your statement). You also get a 10% mileage refund on travel redemptions, bringing the return on your spending to around 2.2%. Plus, when you redeem Arrival miles for airfare and hotels, you generally earn airline miles and points on those flights since you are paying for them with a credit card and then getting reimbursed using points after the fact just as if you were actually purchasing them. Plus, if you have elite status you can still enjoy your elite benefits such as possibly getting upgraded.
Because Arrival miles are fixed-value points, you can pretty much use them like cash for any travel expense, so there are no blackout dates like with regular award miles or hotel points. The downside is that premium travel purchases will cost you a lot of Arrival miles since their value is fixed at 1 cent apiece (not counting that 10% mileage refund), but if you need the flexibility to buy any ticket or book any room when you need it, these miles can be great.
One other thing to note is, if you’re all maxed out with Chase and American Express and Citi credit cards, Barclaycard is another issuer with a strong portfolio of travel credit cards,
The card also has some other great perks including that it waives foreign transaction fees, and is a World Mastercard, which means it comes with tons of valuable benefits like Master Rental Insurance for rental cards, Master Trip insurance to cover you when traveling, lost and delayed baggage insurance and roadside assistance, among other benefits. Check out the full list here.
The TripIt Pro membership is another interesting feature. It normally costs $49 per year and is basically a travel organizer and planner that will keep track of your flight itineraries automatically when you have emails forwarded to it, can store maps, directions, photos and other helpful details as you plan trips. It will also send you mobile alerts about things like flight and gate changes, will share your itineraries with contacts you designate, and comes with complimentary 1-year memberships to Hertz #1 Club Gold and Regus Gold (which can be worth much more than $49).
For more information, see these posts:
- Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard Bonus Hits 40,000 Miles
- Details on the Barclaycard Arrival Travel Bonus Category
- Maximizing Barclaycard Arrival Miles
- Evaluating When To Get the Top Barclaycard Offers
In the meantime, share any questions about the Arrival and how to use miles in the comments. With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.
With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.