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Update: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no longer open to new cardholders as of June 2019. Current cardholders can find more information about the card's benefits below.
The Arrival Plus is one of the best rewards cards for covering travel expenses that aren't your typical hotel or airline redemptions. The card earns Arrival Miles which can be used to erase any travel purchase greater than $100 charged to your Arrival Plus card. Discount airfare, train tickets, ferries, cruise charges, Airbnb, purchases from online travel agents and discount travel websites — all can be wiped with your Arrival Miles.
The current sign-up bonus is the largest ever for the Arrival Plus — 70,000 miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. The bonus alone is worth $700, plus you receive an additional 10,000 miles for meeting the minimum spend requirement, worth another $100.
That's a total of $800 in free travel charged to your card.
In this post, we take a detailed look at the benefits of the Arrival Plus, and how to use Arrival Miles to minimize your out-of-pocket travel costs.
Earn 2X Miles On All Purchases
There's no bonus categories to remember or annual spend required to trigger bonus miles. The Arrival Plus earns 2X miles on all purchases all day. That's equivalent to 2% cash back towards travel all day, on all purchases.
Annual Fee Waived for the First Year
The annual fee for the card is $89 (waived first year). That means you get the 70,000-mile sign up bonus and all travel benefits the card offers, and pay nothing out-of-pocket for the first year. You can use your Arrival Miles from the second year moving forward to cover the annual fee.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Many U.S.-issued credit cards charge a ~3% fee for using your card overseas. This has been a nasty surprise for many of my friends and family who return from trips abroad. The Arrival Plus does not charge any foreign transaction fees when using the card internationally. Your transactions will be automatically converted to U.S. dollars at the market exchange rate. Just make sure to always choose to pay in the local currency. Some merchants will offer to convert your purchase to U.S. dollars before you pay. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion, and it's usually done at a terrible exchange rate.
Chip + PIN Capability
If you've traveled to Europe or some Asian countries, you know the frustration that can be alleviated with a chip + PIN-enabled card. Many merchant terminals overseas request a PIN after inserting the card and very few U.S.-issued credit cards have this capability. I've specifically run into hurdles trying to pay for gas in Europe or buying train tickets at automated kiosks in Asia, both of which typically require a chip + PIN card. The Arrival Plus has you covered.
How to Use Your Arrival Miles
According to the Arrival Plus T&Cs, the following charges qualify as a travel purchase using Arrival Miles:
“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.”
The merchant category code of the business determines if a charge qualifies for a statement credit. Take Disney tickets for example; if they are purchased directly from Disney, they do not code as travel and cannot be erased with Arrival Miles. However, if you buy them from a broker like Undercover Tourist, they do code as travel and can be covered with your miles.
To redeem miles, you log in to your online Barclays account and head to the Rewards and Benefits center. There, you can select “Travel Statement Credits” which will bring you to the following screen:
Any eligible travel charges over $100 from the last 120 days will show as redemption eligible. Select the purchase you want to credit and confirm using your miles to cover the charges. Free travel couldn't be any easier.
Stack Arrival Miles with Shopping Portals and Loyalty Programs
Unlike traditional airline miles, when you purchase a flight with your Arrival Plus and redeem Arrival Miles against the purchase, the tickets are treated as revenue fares and you still receive points/miles and elite status credits.
As the flights are considered revenue tickets, you can also make use of shopping portals to stack additional cash back or rewards on your purchase.
Here's an example of how you can stack rewards when purchasing travel with your Arrival Plus:
- Purchase a flight on Expedia via TopCashBack.com and receive up to 2% cash back, plus earn Expedia points on the purchase price
- Earn 2X Arrival Miles per dollar on the purchase price
- Earn redeemable miles and elite status credits after the flight is completed
- If the airline has a business rewards program such as Delta SkyBonus or Qantas Business Rewards, you'll earn additional miles in that program
- Redeem your Arrival Miles as a statement credit against the cost of the flight
- Receive 5% of your Arrival Miles back for use on another redemption
Not only can you stack purchases with cash back portals, but you'll earn redeemable points/miles and elite status credits on the flight, helping you chase down that next frequent flyer elite status.
Any time you redeem your Arrival Miles for a travel purchase, you receive 5% of the redeemed miles back in your account. This means the card effectively earns 2.1% cash back on all purchases, every day.
Arrival Plus Travel Protection
If you travel enough, you know things can go south from time to time. The Arrival Plus has built-in travel protections which can help you ease the financial and mental strain when tough situations happen. The card offers baggage delay protection, trip cancellation/interruption protection, trip delay protection and secondary rental car collision damage waivers.
Barclays' application rules used to be relatively predictable for the Arrival Plus, but new card applicants now need to navigate a cluster of application rules and restrictions to qualify for this card. First and foremost, if you already hold the card, it's hardcoded into Barclays' application process that you will be auto-denied for a second card. You can only apply for one card every six months and only one card at a time, Barclays is not flexible when it comes to application frequency. Recently, Barclays appears to have implemented a 6/24 policy, restricting approvals of the Arrival Plus to applicants with five or less new card accounts opened in the previous 24 months. The rule is similar to Chase's 5/24 policy, but capping new cards at six in 24 months as opposed to five for Chase. This new policy currently applies only to the Arrival Plus.
If you're an international traveler, you're going to run into expenses beyond your lodging and plane tickets that can't be covered by traditional rewards programs. The Arrival Plus provides the perfect avenue to prevent these charges from coming out of your pocket by redeeming Arrival Miles. The current offer of 70,000 bonus miles and no annual fee for the first year make right now the ideal time to pick up this card along with all of its travel benefits.
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