By Guillermo Rodriguez (Award Travel Points)
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – With $89 Annual Fee waived for the first year comes with an amazing bonus of 40,000 bonus miles (~$440) if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening and earns 2X miles on all purchases. This is one of the very best travel credit cards at the moment which I highly recommend. If you’re married it’s even better because if both of you get approved for the card you’ll have over $900 dollars to redeem for free hotels or flights. That’s what my wife and I accomplished by both getting this card and we redeemed our bonus points for a total of 7 free nights at different hotels in Italy. CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – No Annual Fee comes with 20,000 bonus miles (~$220) if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening and earns 2X miles on travel and dining purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. This is also a very good offer and with NO ANNUAL FEE. CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
Those miles are redeemable at a fixed rate of 1 cent each for travel and between 0.5-1 cent each for other redemptions such as cash back credits and gift cards (which I’ll get into below).
One of the other interesting features of both cards is that you get 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel, bringing the return on your dollar up to 2.2% on all purchases on the annual fee card and that high on travel and dining purchases on the no annual fee card.
What Counts as Travel and Dining?
If you get the no annual fee card, the key to your spending strategy will be figuring out just what counts towards that 2X category spending bonus on travel and dining, so I asked for further information from Barclaycard and here is what is included.
The Barclaycard Arrival card’s travel spending category includes the following:
Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (including online agencies such as Expedia, Priceline and TripIt)
Hotels, Motels and Resorts
Car Rental Agencies
Just note that all of this depends on how a merchant is categorized and there is no maximum to the total miles you can earn as long as your account is open and in good standing.
When it comes to redeeming miles for travel, you cannot redeem fewer than 2,500 miles and you can use them to “pay for travel” on the same categories at a rate of one cent per mile. The way that works is you can redeem miles for statement credits on travel purchases made within the last 90 days.
You can also redeem miles for cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Cash back statement credits also start at 2,500 miles but for just $12.50 in value, so you’re only getting a value 0.5 cents per point. Gift card redemptions start at 5,000 miles for $25, again just getting a value of 0.5 cents per mile and bringing your return on spending to just 1% with the annual fee card and potentially just 0.5% on the no annual fee card. Merchant gift card redemption rates vary. If you redeem Arrival card miles as a statement credit, the credit will be posted to your account within 5-7 business days – so no waiting till your due date to request a credit! There is no maximum to the total miles you can redeem.
You can redeem miles as soon as they post to your account by going to BarclaycardUS and visiting “Manage Rewards.”
Regarding that 10% miles refund, here’s how it works. When you make a mileage redemption, you’ll get the bonus miles added back into your account within 1-2 weeks. So if you were to redeem 25,000 miles, you’d get 2,500 added to your rewards account automatically a week or two later that you can use toward your next redemption. That means you have to have enough points in your account for the full redemption you wish to make and then you’ll get a refund rather than just having to redeem 90% of the points off the bat.
One other major thing to note from the terms and conditions of both cards: “Your credit card account cannot have been inactive for thirteen (13) billing cycles (approximately thirteen (13) months). “Inactive” means you have no balance, no payments and no transactions.” So you’ll have to make a charge at least once every thirteen billing cycles in order to keep your account open and in good standing – otherwise you better use your points before your account is inactivated, though for reasons of maintaining your credit score and history, I would never suggest letting that happen.