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The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is increasing the minimum to redeem travel statement credits from $25 to $100. That’s a big jump!
So folks are thinking about other cards with lower minimums on award redemptions.
I’ll explain which cards offer similar opportunities to earn points that you can use for travel purchases. And if it’s worth making the switch!
Upcoming Changes to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Here’s what’s changing:
- You’ll no longer receive 10% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel. Instead, you’ll only earn 5% back.
- In the past, you could use Barclaycard Arrival miles towards statement credits for travel purchases of at least $25. Now, you’ll have to redeem them for purchases of at least $100 (10,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles).
- If you choose to redeem miles for cash back, the minimum redemption is increasing to 5,000 Barclay Arrival miles ($25). Previously, you could redeem for as little as $12.50 (2,500 Barclaycard Arrival miles).
- The free TripIt Pro subscription is being discontinued
- Tourist attractions (museums, theme parks, Disney, etc) will be removed from the qualifying travel redemption list.
But when the changes happen to your card depends on when you applied. According to the Barclaycard representative I spoke with:
- Changes will go into effect in November for cardholders who opened their card before September 30, 2014.
- Changes will go into effect in August 2016 for cardholders who opened the card on or after October 1, 2014.
So these changes will happen as early as this fall for some folks!
Because you’ll only receive 5% of your Barclaycard Arrival miles back (instead of 10%), the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is essentially a 2.1% back card. And it has an $89 annual fee (waived the 1st year).
Other Travel Cards to Consider
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases.
Chase says these purchases count as travel:
Airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, operators of passengers trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferrys, tolls, bridges, highways, and parking lots and garages.
So purchases under $100 for travel like taxi rides, tolls, and parking will earn bonus points.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate rewards points for cash back starting at $20.
Or you can redeem for flights in the Chase Travel Portal where they’re worth 1.25 cents each.
But my favorite way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards is to transfer them to hotel and airline partners including United Airlines, British Airways, and Hyatt for Big Travel!
Citi ThankYou Premier
The Citi ThankYou Premier card earns 3X Citi ThankYou points on travel purchases, including gas.
You can redeem Citi ThankYou points for cash back but this is NOT a good option. That’s because they are only worth 0.5 cents each for cash back, although there is a trick to double their value for mortgage or student loan payments.
Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each when you book travel with the Citi Travel Center.
But they’re worth even more when you transfer them to your Citi Prestige account and then to hotel or airline partners such as Virgin Atlantic and Hilton for Big Travel.
Cash Back Cards
Other cards offer ~2% cash back with NO annual fee. So they are good to keep forever to help boost your credit score!
Citi Double Cash
Link: Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases. And another 1% cash back when you make payments on your balance.
You can redeem your cash back starting at $25.
Considering it has NO annual fee, this is a good 1 to consider.
It does NOT have a sign-up bonus. Also, be aware that it has a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use it overseas.
Discover It and Discover It Miles
Link: Discover It
Link: Discover It Miles
Because cash back is doubled after the 1st 12 billing cycles for new card holders, you can get up to 10% cash back with this card.
You can redeem for a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account for any amount.
If you’re looking for a card with NO bonus categories to remember, the Discover It Miles card earns 1.5 miles per $1 spent (worth 1.5% back) on all purchases. And at the end of the 1st 12 billing cycles, your miles are doubled.
Both cards have NO annual fee and NO foreign transaction fees.
Link: Fidelity Visa
I’ve written about the Fidelity Visa. And how this card earns 2% cash back on every purchase when you link it to an eligible Fidelity account. The rewards are easy to redeem for account credits and flights.
But the best way to use this card it to link it to a Fidelity retirement account to save money for the future. The compound interest you’ll earn over time can add up to much more than 2%!
It’s a good choice if you want a card with no bonus categories to think about.
While it does NOT have an annual fee, this card adds a 1% foreign transaction fee. So you’ll still get 1% cash back when you use this card overseas.
The minimum to redeem for cash back is $50.
For smaller travel purchases, sometimes cards with rotating bonus categories are helpful. For instance, through September 30, 2015, Chase Freedom earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) at gas stations, when you activate.
And until that same date, the Citi Dividend card earns 5% back at Hilton, which includes their budget brands Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites.
With the Chase Freedom card, you’ll currently earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards ($150) when you spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
And for Uber rides, the Capital One Quicksilver card or the Capital One QuicksilverOne card earns 20% back through April 30, 2016. Folks new to Uber can use Emily’s link to get a free ride worth up to $20.
Emily and I will always tell you about the best offers on credit cards, even if we won’t earn a commission.
Browse the Hot Deals page. You might find a card you like more than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. For beginners, I suggest the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it allows you to transfer points to great partners such as United Airlines, Hyatt, and British Airways.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is changing its perks. Soon you’ll only be able to use their miles for $100+ travel purchases. So some folks are wondering which cards are better for smaller travel expenses like cabs, tolls, and parking.
Or you may prefer cash back cards with no annual fee like the Citi Double Cash, Discover It, Discover It Miles, and Fidelity Visa. They have varying minimum award redemption amounts, but none as high as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ($100!).
Will you switch cards when the changes to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus kick in?