Amol and I have both written about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ WorldElite MasterCard® before. It’s possibly one of the best cards out there for ongoing spend if you don’t hold any allegiance to a loyalty program. If you are one of those people who love to buy Vanilla Reload cards, you’ll want to read on.
Every purchase with this card earns 2 “miles” per dollar. Like ThankYou Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and Membership Rewards, you can use these miles for almost any airline ticket or other travel booked — just call up Barclays and they will deduct the miles and issue a statement credit. Those flights will still earn redeemable and elite qualifying miles without any of the blackout dates you see from typical award flights. Miles are redeemed at a rate of one penny per mile, so if you spend $10,000 you would earn 20,000 points worth $200.
Furthermore, you get 10% of your miles back from each redemption, so in the end you’re only redeeming 18,000 points for a $200 credit. That’s a 2.2% rebate on ALL purchases, it’s good on almost any flight, and you can earn even more miles since these are revenue tickets that credit like normal to your preferred carrier.
At one point the sign up bonus was 20,000 points ($200), which dropped to 10,000 points ($100). But now it is up to 40,000 points after spending just $3,000 in 90 days! That’s a $400 credit, and you’ll get 4,000 of those points back for a future flight redemption. The only catch is that the annual fee is $89, but it’s waived the first year.
I know many of you are thinking about what to do when the various Hilton HHonors credit cards stop earning bonus points at drugstores next month. You’ve been buying your Vanilla Reload cards there and need to ensure you’re using the best card possible to make up for the $3.95 card activation fee. SPG’s Starpoints are probably one of the best options and are valued around 2.5 cents each, plus you can transfer them to most airline programs.
The Barclaycard Arrival is a good alternative choice. Instead of getting 1 Starpoint for every dollar, which you use for award nights or transfer into airline miles, why not earn 2 “miles” with Barclay’s program toward revenue flights without blackout dates? If you value your Starpoints at more than 2.22 cents, then you should stick with the SPG American Express card. If you value them less, the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard looks smart. The difference is so small that you may want to use the Barclaycard Arrival anyway to avoid the award space headaches that come with traditional airline miles.