Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader Ricky commented:
I have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus 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 Arrival Plus 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.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® 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 $3,000 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, plus he will earn an extra 5% when he redeems those miles. So that’s close to ~2.1 cents per $1 spent on travel expenses or about 2.1% back when redeemed for travel.
Redeem 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® for a $400 statement credit towards $400 of Marriott gift cards which he charged on his Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.
And when Ricky redeems his miles for travel, he gets 5% 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 38,000 points (40,000 miles redeemed – 2,000 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® 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.