While I tend to target hotel, airline, and bank cards with flexible transferable points, sometimes you just need some “miles” that just act like cash. This is for those random expenses you can’t cover with other currencies. It could be a night at a bed and breakfast or a ferry ride to Newfoundland. That’s where cards like the Barclaycard Arrival+ come in.
Elevated bonus on the Barlcaycard Arrival+
The Barclaycard Arrival+ is currently offering an increased bonus of 60,000 “miles” after $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days and payment of the $89 annual fee. After hitting the spending requirement, you’ll have $700 worth of flexible travel points that cost you $89. Definitely worth looking into.
Redeeming your miles is easy. You simply charge a travel purchase to your card and then use your miles as a statement credit to offset the purchase within 120 days. One of the only “features” I dislike is that the minimum redemption is $100 or 10,000 miles.
Additionally, the card provides a 5% rebate when you redeem your “miles”. The card also waives foreign transaction fees and earns 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases.
At the end of the day, it really isn’t an earth-shattering product. It’s essentially a 2% cash back card that has a $100 redemption requirement and gives you back an extra 5%. Things like the collision damage coverage may help make up for the annual fee, but a better card might just be a plain ol’ Citi DoubleCash (SEE: 5 of the best no-fee credit cards for travel) that will earn you 2% back on everything with no annual fee.
But that sign-up bonus is worth chasing. I used the sign-up bonus from my Arrival+ back in 2015 to pay for our ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, something we never could have done without the flexible points.
Experience with Barclays approvals
Some people struggle to be approved for products with Barclays. I don’t know why. I’ve never hit them furiously like I have…uh…Amex. But they’ve approved me for almost everything I’ve applied for.
Just take it slow and steady. If this is your first card with Barclays and you don’t have a lot of hits on your credit report and otherwise good credit, you’ll probably be fine.
Downgrading to the Barclaycard Arrival
After holding onto the Barclaycard Arrival+ for a year, my wife and I both downgraded ours to the plain Arrival card (without an annual fee). I typically would have straight-up canceled, but in this case, there is still an ongoing benefit from having the card: ability to earn miles by writing travel stories.
If you sign up for the Barclaycard Travel Community and link your Arrival+ or Arrival card, you can earn miles by writing travel stories. You can actually earn points towards Amazon gift cards if you don’t have the card, but the earn rate is significantly worse. I can easily earn the equivalent of $2 per story if I write a quick 100 word summary, add a photo, and add a handful of travel detail “points of interest” that each give you 10 miles.
With the elevated bonus and the ability to use the miles flexibly for any travel purchases, the Barclaycard Arrival+ is a great option if you’re on the lookout for a new card. As always, do your research for yourself. Don’t just sign up because a random guy on the internet told you to. 😉