At the moment the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® (see terms) has its best ever welcome bonus. The card is offering a bonus of 70,000 miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 90 days. Furthermore, the card’s $89 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months.
This is a really good bonus. For context, I signed up for the card about a year ago when it was offering a 50,000 mile bonus and didn’t have the annual fee waived for the first year, so this bonus is 20,000 miles and $89 better than when I got the card (and at the time that was already an increased bonus).
Anyway, long term this is a solid card that can earn you miles that can be redeemed at the rate of one cent each towards the cost of a travel purchase.
The card offers 2x miles on all purchases, plus you get 5% of the miles back to use towards your next redemption every time you redeem. That means the card offers a return that’s slightly better than 2% towards travel.
The card has no foreign transaction fees, and also has Chip & PIN technology, which is a great feature for international travel.
How to redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles
I redeemed the miles I earned on my Barclaycard Arrival Plus for the first time last month, so I thought it’s worth posting a refresher of how that works, for those who are just now considering the card in light of the better bonus.
What can you redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles for?
You can redeem your miles towards travel statement credits or towards the card’s annual fee at the rate of one mile per one cent. You need to redeem at least 10,000 miles for $100 towards a travel statement credit, and you need to redeem at least 2,500 miles for $25 towards an annual fee credit.
Alternatively, you can redeem miles as cash back statement credits or towards gift cards and merchandise. When you do that, you only get a rate of two miles per one cent, so you’ll want to avoid this redemption if possible.
Therefore you should redeem your Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles only towards the cost of a travel statement credit or annual fee credit.
What constitutes travel on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus?
If you want to redeem your points for travel, what actually qualifies in that category? Travel redemptions on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus include the following:
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.
As usual, purchases made at merchants that don’t process purchases under the correct merchant category won’t qualify, and it’s not the responsibility of the issuer if that’s the case.
When can you redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles?
You can redeem them within 120 days of when you make the purchase. The soonest time you can redeem is when the purchase hits your account.
How do you actually redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles towards a travel purchase?
The process is really easy. For example, I purchased a $560 American Airlines gift card with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Yes, even airline gift card purchases are eligible to be reimbursed, assuming the purchase is processed directly by the airline.
I logged into the “Rewards & Benefits” section of my account, where it displayed my miles. I then clicked the “Redeem my miles” button.
There it gave me the option to choose how I want to redeem my miles — for gift cards, cash back, etc. In order to maximize value I of course chose to redeem as a statement credit towards a travel purchase, so clicked “Redeem Now.”
This brought me to a page showing the two purchases on this past billing cycle, and also how many days I have left to redeem (remember you have to redeem within 120 days).
Then you can click on “Redeem now” next to the purchase you want. For example, I could redeem 8,900 miles for the $89 annual fee.
Or I could redeem 56,000 miles for my $560 American Airlines purchase.
As you can see, you can also choose to just partially redeem towards the cost of a purchase. I selected to redeem 56,000 miles, and was brought to a confirmation page.
Interestingly the 5% redemption bonus posted immediately.
It’s also worth noting that when I purchased the $560 American Airlines gift card the 1,120 miles posted immediately, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting (rather than when the statement closed). So between that and the 5% redemption bonus, my balance is once again over 4,000 miles.
Once the redemption is complete, it takes 1-2 days for the statement credit to post.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a solid travel card that earns miles that can be redeemed towards the cost of a travel purchase. The card even has its best ever welcome bonus right now, and you can get $700+ worth of travel with the annual fee waived for the first year.
The process of redeeming these miles is painless, and it’s cool how broadly these miles can be redeemed, even for airline gift cards (which is convenient when trying to redeem for an exact amount).