Navigating Barclaycard Arrival miles

If you prefer simple, consistently valuable rewards, Barclays miles will take you far

Barclays Arrival guide

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Barclays offers a valuable rewards program option if you’re interested in big bonuses and solid earning rates toward travel benefits. Here, we’ll break down how you can go further by maximizing your Arrival miles.  

An easy way to earn a lot of miles

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus card

Why should you get it?

If you want to score $700 worth of travel in your first few months plus 2X miles on every purchase without having to put much effort into it, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is the way to go. 

More things to know: 

  • 70,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in first 90 days
  • 2X miles on every purchase
  • Get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee, $0 first year

What are Barclaycard Arrival miles? 

Barclaycard Arrival miles aren’t miles in the traditional sense. For instance, they can’t be transferred to airline or hotel travel partners as with American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Instead, Arrival miles are used to offset costs of travel expenses – such as plane tickets, cruises, taxi cab fares, hotel stays and more. 

Essentially, your Arrival miles act the same as cash. This provides a great deal of spending flexibility that other rewards programs don’t have (dealing with blackout dates, for example), along with a straightforward and painless redemption process.

How much are Barclays miles worth? 

The short answer is –  it depends how you redeem them. Generally, travel purchases are going to yield the most value at one cent per mile. So if you have 50,000 miles on your card, you can purchase a $500 plane ticket. If you’re planning to redeem your miles for a gift card, cash back statement credit, or another kind of non-travel-related purchase, you’re looking at a value of about 0.5 cents per mile. We’ll dig deeper into that when we start exploring ways to redeem your miles. 

For now, let’s talk about earning miles.  

Earning your Arrival Miles 

The tool of choice 

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is the sole card that allows you to earn Arrival miles. Its old sibling, the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard® is no longer available – but it does seem like the better of the two cards remains. For starters, it has a robust bonus offer. For a limited time, you’ll get 70,000 bonus miles if you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of your account. That’s enough to get you a travel statement credit worth $700. 

Here’s how the Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard earns rewards:

  • 2X miles on all purchases (2 miles per every dollar spent with the card)
  • Earn 5 percent of miles back every time you redeem
  • Miles don’t expire
  • $89 annual fee that’s waived the first year 

Simply put, you should use this card to make as many purchases as possible to earn miles. And not having to worry about blackout dates, expiration dates or spending limits is the icing on the cake. 

Your full earning potential could easily offset the APR and annual fee after the first year, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. With one of the largest bonus offers out there, 2X miles on all purchases, and 5 percent miles back every time you redeem, this is a tool that provides some of the biggest opportunities to earn. 

Read our full review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard here. 

Pair and share 

One well-used method for taking advantage of more chances to earn rewards is pairing cards according to their rewards rates. The Barclaycard carries a fixed rate that would go perfectly with a card that operates on rotating bonuses. For example, the Discover it® Cash Back Card and the Chase Freedom® are considered to be among the top cards for tiered rewards. 

Using one of these cards during high-earning bonus periods while you continue to spend with the Barclaycard will get you more points. This skill is often attributed to seasoned cardholders, but even beginners can put together a simple strategy to start practicing. Pairing your Barclaycard with one of the tiered rewards rate cards will really set you up for some nice bonus earnings.

Shop around 

Barclays offers even more opportunities for you to earn bonus points through shopping on their Barclaycard RewardsBoost online mall. This online mall allows you to shop at 700 stores and earn up to as many as 12 extra points per dollar with your Barclaycard. No need to worry about any extra membership fees to access the mall. It’s free for Barclaycard members. And all of the shopping rewards you earn are delivered right to your Barclaycard account. It’s a convenient option that fits perfectly with a convenient rewards program.   

Redeeming your Arrival miles 

Arrival miles are redeemed for travel-related rewards and non-travel-related rewards at different values. These redemptions come in the form of travel and cash back statement credits, gift cards and other merchandise.

Most valuable redemptions 

Travel statement credits are redeemed at 1 cent per mile. In order to redeem for a travel statement credit, you need to have earned a minimum of 10,000 Arrival miles on your Barclaycard to use toward a travel purchase of $100 or more. All travel purchases need to have been made over the previous 120 days of your account. Also, your Barclaycard account needs to be open and in good standing at the time of redemption. According to Barclays, the minimum for account annual fee redemptions within the travel statement credit category is 2,500 miles for $25. 

Barclays has a wide definition of travel, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruise lines, discount travel site purchases, trains, buses, taxis and more. This makes the Barclays program much more flexible than, say, a hotel or airline program, where you have to redeem rewards for a narrow category of travel purchases to get the best value. 

Less valuable redemptions 

If you’re looking to redeem miles for cash back statement credit, the overall value drops to about a half cent per mile (another reason to pair your Barclaycard with a rotating bonus cash back card to maximize rewards) but the flexibility is there, nonetheless. And since your miles don’t expire, you have as much time as you want to add to your pool of cash back rewards. 

To redeem for a cash back statement credit or gift cards, you need to have a minimum of 5,000 Arrival miles on your account. This would then redeem for either $25 cash-back or a $25 gift card. If merchandise is your reward of choice, value will vary based on what you want to redeem your miles for. All in all, redeeming for a travel statement credit is the way to get the most bang for your buck.

Take a portal to Easytown 

Sticking with the flexibility and convenience theme – it’s nice that you aren’t tied to a designated site in order to redeem your rewards. You can make purchases directly from a vendor or from a large selection of discount travel sites. The key is organizing your miles so you can operate with no hassle. A great way to really get comfortable with your miles as well as your redemption options is to access your account right on the Barclays rewards portal at BarclaycardUS.com

After signing into your Barclaycard account, follow the Manage Rewards prompt. That’s where you’ll be able to see your Arrival miles balance. If you’ve met the minimum spending requirements, you can start redeeming right away.   

Arrival Miles work best for…

Big spenders

The 2X per mile return on all purchases made with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus provides some generous earnings without having to worry about managing rotating categories. If you’re a frequent monthly spender, your Arrival miles act as a low-maintenance personal investment. 

Frequent flyers

If you need to book flights often and you’re not a fan of restrictions, Arrival miles should fit right in your wheelhouse. The flexibility of avoiding blackout dates and being able to earn from a wide variety of booking websites should make up for not being able to transfer miles directly to a rewards partner. 

Miles/points gurus

If you have experience with wielding multiple cards and dealing a bevy of points, Arrival miles play very nicely with other rewards programs. You can manage your categories to get the best bonuses of your choice, while continuing to collect Arrival miles on all other purchases. The miles fit any cardholder’s strategy with no problems.

Final thoughts 

If you’re partial to the bigger name rewards programs with ties to hotel and airline clubs, there are plenty out there. But Barclays offers a great alternative with straightforward, flexible and convenient redemption opportunities. Unlocking the program’s full potential gives you rewards that are comparable to any big player in the field.   

Related stories: Earn 70,000 bonus miles with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MastercardTravel hacks guide: How to become a points hacker using credit cards


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Updated: 03-18-2019