[Disclosure: Emily and I get a commission if you're approved using the links in this post. We always include the best offer for a card even if it doesn't pay us a commission. You don't have to use our links, but thanks for your support!]
Million Mile Secrets reader Ricky commented:
I have the Barclays Arrival card. I have 40,000 miles after the signup bonus. If I buy a $100 Marriott hotel gift card, can I redeem (after 10% redemption bonus) 9,000 Barclays Arrivals miles to effectively get the $100 gift card for free?
Ricky’s referring to my post on how you can stack Marriott points and save up to 78% when you buy Marriott gift cards by buying Marriott gift cards in combination with certain promotions.
Barclays Arrival Card
The Barclays Arrival card is a simple-to-understand cash-back travel card which doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. The current sign-up bonus is 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months.
0% APR on purchases means that you don’t pay interest on your purchases for a certain period of time (though you shouldn’t apply for credit cards if you can’t pay the balance in full each month).
Ricky earns 2 miles for every $1 he spends on all purchases when using his Barclays Arrival card, plus he will earn an extra 10% when he redeems those miles. So that’s close to ~2.2 cents per $1 spent on travel expenses or about 2.2% back when redeemed for travel.
Redeem Arrival Miles For Free Travel
Ricky can redeem 100 miles for 1 cent in statement credits as long as he is applying the statement credit to a travel expense such as hotels, car rentals, etc. He will get only 0.5 cents per 100 miles if he redeems his Barclays Arrival miles for non-travel redemptions.
Barclays considers the following as travel expenses (bolding mine):
Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies as defined by the merchant category code.
So Ricky can redeem the 40,000 point sign-up bonus from his Barclays Arrival card for a $400 statement credit towards $400 of Marriott gift cards which he charged on his Barclays Arrival card.
And when Ricky redeems his miles for travel, he gets 10% of his miles back. So of the 40,000 points he redeemed for Marriott gift cards, he’d get 4,000 miles back to use later. So those $400 in Marriott gift cards would cost Ricky only 36,000 points (40,000 miles redeemed – 4,000 miles back)
So, the answer to Ricky’s question is yes. He could buy a $100 Marriott gift card, use 10,000 of his points to pay for the purchase and get the gift card for free plus get another 1,000 points back to use later!
And he can potentially get Marriott hotel stays for much less if he takes advantage of the other promotions for buying Marriott gift cards which I’ve written about in this post.
The Barclays Arrival card with annual fee has a 40,000 point sign-up bonus and earns Ricky 2 miles for every $1 he spends.
Ricky can use the sign-up bonus from the Barclays Arrival card to get a statement credit when he buys Marriott gift cards.
PS: I’m on vacation until September 10, 2013, so won’t be able to get to the comments quickly.
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 10,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another credit card tip!