Barclays Arrival Miles Review – The Surefire Way to Get Hooked on Free Travel
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INSIDER SECRET: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a great card to open if you want to book free travel as soon as possible. That’s because you don’t have to earn the welcome bonus before you book reward travel.
If you’re new to miles and points, Barclays Arrival miles are your gateway to free travel. They’re easy to earn, and they take nearly zero effort to use.
There’s no “learning the tricks of the trade” with this card. Anything that’s complicated about miles and points does not apply to Arrival miles. You use your card to buy airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc., and you can erase those purchases from existence with a few mouse clicks. It sounds too good to be true, but I’ve got this card, and trust me when I say it’s exactly that easy.
Here’s our official Barclays Arrival miles review, including any pitfalls that come with these miles.
Barclays Arrival Miles Review – Easy to Earn
Read our review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus currently comes with a welcome bonus of 70,000 miles (worth $700 in travel) after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. That’s the highest bonus we’ve ever seen with this card, and, by far, the easiest way to stock up on Barclays Arrival miles quickly.
The card also comes with:
- 2 Barclays Arrival miles per dollar spent on all purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Chip + PIN capability (handy when traveling overseas)
The $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
How to Redeem Barclays Arrival Miles
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus earns a different kind of reward than cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express. They’re also different from frequent flyer miles.
Here’s how they work: Barclays Arrival miles have a fixed value of 1 cent per mile when you redeem them for travel purchases. You can’t do anything fancy with them — like transfer them to airline or hotel partners.
The good news is that you never have to worry about blackout dates. They’re essentially cash back that’s restricted to travel purchases. And, “travel purchases” is very broad:
Airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, purchase and travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, and the account annual fee as defined by the merchant category code.
To use your Barclays Arrival miles, book your travel as you would with any credit card.
Then, you’ll have 120 days to erase the purchase once it’s posted in your transaction history online. For the example below, you can erase a $149.76 airline charge for 14,976 Barclays Arrival miles (a value of 1 cent per mile).
You’ll even get a 5% rebate on the miles you redeem. So if you spend 20,000 miles, you’ll receive 1,000 miles back.
You can redeem for other things, such as gift cards, but your value per mile drops to 0.5 cents, which is not a good deal.
Pitfalls of Barclays Arrival Miles
There’s one thing about Barclays Arrival miles that I absolutely detest.
With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you can only redeem your rewards if the travel purchase costs more than 10,000 miles ($100). If the travel purchase costs less than $100, your miles are useless.
Real-life example: I used Uber between Queens and Manhattan last week. My bill was $49.62. I didn’t pay with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus because I know I can’t redeem my miles unless the Uber ride cost $100+ (I could have left a $51 tip, I guess).
For this reason, plan to use your Barclays Arrival miles for flights, hotels, rental cars, Airbnb, and anything else you know will cost $100 or more. You can use your miles for as many travel purchases on each statement as you want (provided you have enough miles, of course).
As long as your travel purchase is more than $100, you can use miles for the exact amount of the transaction. So if you spend $121 on a rental car, you can use 12,100 miles to cover the cost.
Also note that you cannot combine separate purchases on your statement to increase the amount you paid for travel in order to reach the $100 threshold.
The Secret Way Around These Restrictions
There’s a no-annual-fee version of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus called the Barclaycard Arrival. The card isn’t accepting new applications, but you can get it when you downgrade your Barclaycard Arrival Plus.
This card earns Barclays Arrival miles more slowly, but it’s also much easier to redeem your miles.
With the Barclaycard Arrival, you can redeem your rewards for travel purchases costing just 2,500 miles ($25). This makes your Arrival miles much more flexible.
Plus, this is an excellent way to keep your miles without having to pay an annual fee. After 11 months of using the card, if you decide it’s not worth the fee, downgrading is a great option.
Note: If you currently have either the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or the Barclaycard Arrival, your application for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus will probably be declined. If you’ve had either card in the past but have since canceled them, you should be eligible.
The miles you earn with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus are valuable because they offer great flexibility and are not subject to blackout dates. Book your travel normally and use your miles to erase those travel purchases.
Remember these important details:
- You must redeem your miles for a travel redemption of at least $100+
- You can’t transfer your miles to hotels or airlines
- You must redeem them within 120 days of your travel purchase
If you’ve taken the benefits of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus for a test drive and don’t want to pay the annual fee, you can downgrade your card a no-annual-fee version.
For a quick way to earn an obscene amount of Barclays Arrival miles, read our review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus here. Check out these posts, as well:
- Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus Annual Fee Worth It?
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card Benefits and Perks
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)