Category Archives: Barclay’s

Arrival Miles Can Be Used to Pay Airline Taxes and Fees

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Arrival miles are good for so much more than just airfare. You can also use them to offset fees that airlines charge or even the taxes on award tickets.

Any purchase you make from an airline should code as travel, which means you can redeem Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® to remove the purchase from your card’s account balance.

After my brother and I used his Arrival miles to get a $571 airbnb stay in Seoul for free, we looked at what was left in his account.

He had two other travel purchases that he could redeem miles against: $64.20 from United and $30 from Hawaiian Airlines.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.55.48 PM

The United charge was the taxes on his award ticket to Asia. The Hawaiian charge was the change fee on an interisland flight when he decided to cut short a trip to the Big Island.

Many programs like Ultimate Rewards, ThankYou Points, and FlexPoints allow you to redeem points for a free ticket on any airline. Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® go one step further allowing redemptions for any travel expense including these airline taxes and fees.

  • How did we redeem his miles for the taxes and fees?
  • What decision did I make to save him $1 (he owes me a Frosty!)?
  • Does this mean you can use Arrival miles to offset the cost of buying airline miles during miles sales?

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Can You Use Arrival Miles for Free Airbnb Stays

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Can you use Arrival miles to get free lodging from airbnb, the easiest way to rent someone else’s apartment while you travel?

I talked my brother into getting the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® earlier this year for the same reasons that I got one, the big sign up bonus and the two miles per dollar on all purchases. He quickly spent $3,000 in the first 3 months to unlock 40,000 bonus miles. That 46,000 miles–40,000 bonus plus 6,000 from spending–is worth $500 in free flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

We are in Hong Kong now as part of two week trip through Asia. We’re using my cheapskate lodging techniques, avoiding hotels altogether with nights in airbnb, a hostel, and a Chinese farmer’s house.

He booked us five nights in Seoul through airbnb for $571. I told him to make sure that he booked the stay with his Arrival Plus, so we could test whether he could redeem Arrival miles (link) for an offsetting statement credit.

  • Were we able to redeem Arrival miles for a free airbnb stay?

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These Are the Easiest Places to Get with Miles

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Where are the easiest places to get with frequent flyer miles, especially if you’re just starting out?

I started thinking about it because I had a string of very tough requests through my Free Credit Card Consultation form. One in particular read:

Been following your site for about a year and haven’t been able to jump in. Shame on me. It’s all very overwhelming for a newbie even though you break it down well. [Scott: Agreed, but it doesn't have to be. Start with the Free Credit Card Consultation and reading my beginners' series.]

So here is my situation: my wife and I would love to get to one of three destinations over the holiday break (12/26-1/3 ish). The top destinations ( in order) are : Maldives, bora bora, or Bali. Right now I am essentially starting from square 1.

Unfortunately, it’s a nearly impossible request given the:

  • time horizon: he’d need to get the miles and book within 3.5 months
  • travel dates: everyone wants to travel over Christmas and New Year’s, so there is less award space
  • destinations: French Polynesia is tough to get to with miles and Maldives and Bali are just really expensive, requiring more credit cards than he has time to open

Don’t worry about this requester, though, I helped him come up with a plan to get to the Maldives next summer that I am confident he can accomplish.

The tough request got me thinking about all the people who come with a nearly impossible first idea for miles, fail to achieve it, and then give up on our hobby. The opposite, an early successful booking with miles, can hook someone for life. I started pondering: what is the easiest place for a beginner to get quickly with miles.

  • What four regions do I think are the easiest for beginners to focus on to jump start their miles success?
  • What time horizon and travel dates increase the chance of success?

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How to Get 1.52 LifeMiles Per Dollar on All Purchases

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

You can get 1.52 Avianca LifeMiles on all purchases by using your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.

This is a big flipping deal!

The Arrival Plus is already the most valuable card for economy redemptions since its 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and 10% rebate on all travel redemptions means you effectively get 2.28% back toward flights on any airline with no blackouts. This technique makes the Arrival Plus also the best all-around card for business and first class redemptions.

The technique in this post is an incredible way to turn Arrival miles, which are worth a fixed 1.14 cents each, into traditional airline miles that can be used for valuable international business and first class itineraries.

Now Get into Beds, like United Global First, with Arrival Miles

To me, the technique in this post makes the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® much more valuable because no other card earns 1.52 traditional airline miles on all purchases, and the LifeMiles award chart offers tons of great values for premium cabin awards on Star Alliance partners like:

Maybe you’ve never heard of LifeMiles, but they are actually fantastic for international awards. The only reason they’re not better known is because they’re normally hard to obtain.

LifeMiles awards never contain fuel surcharges, just government taxes plus a $25 award booking fee. You can book all 27 Star Alliance airline with LifeMiles.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.48.37 AM

Getting more than one-and-a-half miles per dollar on such a great award chart is quite a deal.

  • How can you get 1.52 LifeMiles per dollar on all Arrival Plus purchases?
  • How can you book LifeMiles awards?
  • What are the highest value LifeMiles awards?
  • Is earning 1.52 LifeMiles per dollar better than 2 Arrival miles per dollar?

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Top Ten Credit Cards for Travel, September 2014

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

There are a lot of reasons to collect miles and points.

  • For free luxury hotel stays and first class flights
  • To travel to more countries than you could otherwise afford
  • To take your family on vacation
  • To visit home for the holidays
  • To earn big rewards for everyday spending

Whatever your reason for being here, there is a rewards card or cards that suit your needs.

Want Bed Head at 35k Feet? There's a Card for That

Want Bed Head at 35k Feet? There’s a Card for That

Since the start of last year, I’ve been to 26 countries, travel that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards. This has been my life thanks to miles:

  • Eating more steak than anyone should in Brazil and Argentina
  • Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Leading an “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” cheer in Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia
  • Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Eating Thai-hot Thai curry in Thailand at Thai prices
  • Biking in the Lake District of Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina
  • Spending three days at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
  • Seeing Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Getting some home cooking from my mom who lives 5,000 miles away
Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.14.12 AM

2013 Flights

If you don’t have the money to take your dream trips, the good news is that you don’t need much money. By maximizing the sign up bonuses on rewards cards, anyone with good credit can take a dream trip anywhere in the world.

  • How can you earn rewards for the trips of your dreams?
  • What are the best credit card offers for September 2014?
  • Which of the cards on the list expire in the next few days?

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JetBlue Cross-Country Suites for 26,250 Points until Tomorrow

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Two amazing JetBlue promotions are stackable today and tomorrow that allow you to fly JetBlue Mint Class, the best Business Class Suite in the United States for only 26,250 points Membership Rewards.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 12.31.19 PM

Enclosed Suite, Live TV, Free WiFi

  • What are the two stackable promotions?
  • How good of a deal is this?
  • How can you ensure that you get an enclosed suite (not all Mint seats are)?

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Can You Get the Annual Fee Waived on Your US Airways Card?

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Reader Joanna emailed me to let me know the results of calling Barclaycard:

“My US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® annual fee was due August 29. I called and got 5,000 miles for $1,000 spend over 90 days and annual fee waived for a year.”

Barclaycard is really going all out to get people to get this card, keep this card, and use this card, and Joanna’s email is another example. (Your mileage may vary.)

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in early 2015. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

We know that Barclaycard offers many cardholders big bonuses for ongoing spending like Drew who was offered 15,000 bonus US Airways miles for spending $500 per month for three consecutive months.

And now we know that Barclaycard will waive the annual fee for some folks who call and ask like Joanne did.

By the way, Joanne asked me about her other carrot, whether she should spend $1,000 in the next 90 days for 5,000 bonus miles. I gave her a resounding “YES!” That means she’ll get six miles per dollar on those purchases, 1,000 for the normal purchases and 5,000 bonus miles for $1,000 in spending.

Six miles per dollar is a fantastic deal, especially when we’re talking about US Airways miles, which are the highest value miles in the world in my opinion.

Have you had success getting the annual fee waived on the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®? Share your story in the comments or by sending me an email.

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Top Ten Credit Cards for Travel, August 2014

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

There are a lot of reasons to collect miles and points.

  • For free luxury hotel stays and first class flights
  • To travel to more countries than you could otherwise afford
  • To take your family on vacation
  • To visit home for the holidays
  • To earn big rewards for everyday spending

Whatever your reason for being here, there is a rewards card or cards that suit your needs.

Want Bed Head at 35k Feet? There's a Card for That

Want Bed Head at 35k Feet? There’s a Card for That

Since the start of last year, I’ve been to 26 countries, travel that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards. This has been my life thanks to miles:

  • Eating more steak than anyone should in Brazil and Argentina
  • Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Leading an “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” cheer in Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia
  • Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Eating Thai-hot Thai curry in Thailand at Thai prices
  • Biking in the Lake District of Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina
  • Spending three days at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
  • Seeing Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Getting some home cooking from my mom who lives 5,000 miles away
Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.14.12 AM

2013 Flights

If you don’t have the money to take your dream trips, the good news is that you don’t need much money. By maximizing the sign up bonuses on rewards cards, anyone with good credit can take a dream trip anywhere in the world.

  • How can you earn rewards for the trips of your dreams?
  • What are the best credit card offers for August 2014? Continue reading

15,000 Bonus US Airways Miles for Spending $1,500

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Loyal reader Drew sent along an amazing targeted offer he received to continue spending on his US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

If he spends $500 per month on his card in August, September, and October, he’ll get 15,000 bonus miles!

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 4.29.40 PM

That means for a total of $1,500 in spending, he will earn 16,500 miles, which is 11 US Airways miles per dollar!

The email came to Drew with the subject “Earn 15,000 miles with your card!” Check your email for a similar offer if you have a US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

Most of us got the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® for its 40,000 bonus miles with no minimum spending requirement. Check out all the places you can go with just that sign up bonus.

Barclaycard seems to recognize that fact and offers frequent promotions to encourage us to get in the habit of regular spending on the card. These offers are targeted, but it seems like everyone eventually gets targeted for one or more:

  • Earn 20% bonus miles (1.2 miles per dollar) on all purchases between July 1 and August 31, 2014.
  • Earn 2x-10x US Airways miles in select categories from January 1 – March 31, 2014. I was offered 5x in grocery stores, movie theaters, and utility bills.
  • Frequent offers to spend $750 per month for three consecutive months and earn 15,000 bonus miles. (The same offer Drew got, but Drew’s spending requirement is smaller.)

It looks like Barclaycard is pulling out all the stops to keep people engaged with the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, which will only be open to new customers until the US Airways and American Airlines loyalty programs combine early next year. Don’t miss out on getting the card and its 40,000 bonus miles.

  • Should Drew take advantage of his bonus offer?
  • How can you get targeted for the same offer?

Continue reading

Top Ten Credit Cards for Travel, July 2014

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

There are a lot of reasons to collect miles and points.

  • For free luxury hotel stays and first class flights
  • To travel to more countries than you could otherwise afford
  • To take your family on vacation
  • To visit home for the holidays
  • To earn big rewards for everyday spending

Whatever your reason for being here, there is a rewards card or cards that suit your needs.

Since the start of last year, I’ve been to 26 countries, travel that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards. This has been my life thanks to miles:

  • Eating more steak than anyone should in Brazil and Argentina
  • Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Leading an “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” cheer in Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia
  • Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Eating Thai-hot Thai curry in Thailand at Thai prices
  • Biking in the Lake District of Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina
  • Spending three days at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
  • Seeing Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Getting some home cooking from my mom who lives 5,000 miles away
Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.14.12 AM

2013 Flights

If you don’t have the money to take your dream trips, the good news is that you don’t need much money. By maximizing the sign up bonuses on rewards cards, anyone with good credit can take a dream trip anywhere in the world.

  • How can you earn rewards for the trips of your dreams?
  • What are the best credit card offers for July 2014? Continue reading

Hurry: Lufthansa Card’s 50,000 Bonus Miles Disappear Today

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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Today (June 30, 2014) is the last day to get 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles from the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 12.49.52 AM

See my Miles & More Program Primer for more information on the Lufthansa frequent flyer program and six great uses for the mega sign up bonus.

The cliff notes? Lufthansa is a major member of the Star Alliance, which also includes United, Air New Zealand, Thai, South African, and 20+ others. Lufthansa Miles & More miles can be used on any Star Alliance partner.

55,000 Lufthansa miles–the sign up bonus plus normal spending needed to unlock it–will get you:

This is a card I got for myself last year, and I’ve been using the miles to fly United flights between the mainland and Hawaii, a trip that costs fewer Lufthansa miles than United miles for the exact same flights.

  • How can you use your Lufthansa miles?
  • When does the 50,000 mile offer end?
  • Who is this offer right for?

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When Do Arrival Miles Expire?

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Arrival miles never expire as long as you hold your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®. They do disappear the second you cancel the card though.

Arrival Plus Card Image

Other than cancelling the card, the only time constraint on using Arrival miles is that you have 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles for an offsetting statement credit.

If you forget to use your Arrival miles to offset a travel purchase within 120 days though, it’s usually not a big deal, since all travel redemptions get the same value per Arrival mile. You can just use your Arrival miles to offset the next travel purchase.

These are great redemption rules for us:

  1. Since Arrival miles never expire, you don’t need to earn Arrival miles with a specific redemption in mind. Once you earn Arrival miles, they stay in your account until you’re ready to use them.
  2. With 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles, you have the ability to take a trip, then earn miles, then redeem the miles to make the trip free retroactively.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is the king of cash back cards without even being a cash back card. I got one myself in February and have included it as one of the June 2014 top ten credit card offers for travel. The Arrival Plus earns 2.28% back toward travel on all purchases, offers flexible redemption options, and just clearing the sign up bonus is worth $500 in free travel!

Since I got the card, Barclaycard has expanded its definition of a travel purchase, which increases redemption options, and now offers Chip & PIN technology, which means it can be used abroad more easily where it has no foreign transaction fees.

  • What are the best uses of Arrival miles?
  • How do you earn and redeem Arrival miles?
  • Who is the Arrival Plus card best for?

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Comparison of Lufthansa and United Award Charts

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Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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There is one week left to get the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. The offer expires June 30, 2014.

The normal bonus on the card is for only 20,000 miles. I got the card last year and racked up 73,000 Lufthansa miles. I’ve booked myself a few awards between the mainland and Hawaii, since Lufthansa charges fewer miles for the exact same United flights than United charges.

Comparing United and Lufthansa miles is natural because both are Star Alliance members with (basically) equal access to award space on all Star Alliance partners.

Between Hawaii and the mainland isn’t the only route where the United and Lufthansa award charts differ. I’ve compiled three charts to show whether Lufthansa miles or United miles are cheaper to any given destination in economy, business, and first class.

  • For which destinations are United miles cheaper?
  • For which destinations are Lufthansa miles cheaper?
  • What about fuel surcharges?

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How to Book Singapore Business Class to Europe This Summer

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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Lufthansa Miles & More Miles can be used to book longhaul Singapore Business Class awards to Europe!

Singapore Business Class

This is especially excellent because United miles cannot book longhaul business class awards on Singapore, and Singapore Business Class is widely considered one of the best products in the world.

The Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is currently offering 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. (This deal ends June 30, 2014.) Meeting the card’s spending requirement would earn you enough miles to book Singapore Business Class one way between the United States and Europe.

  • How do you search Singapore Business Class?
  • How do you book Singapore Business Class with Lufthansa miles?
  • Does Lufthansa collect fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines flights?

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Get the Hawaiian Miles Card and Take Your Friends Orphan Miles through Share Miles

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

I know a lot of people with around 5,000 Hawaiian miles. Until recently, I was one of them. That’s about what you’d have if you’ve flown one paid roundtrip on Hawaiian Airlines.

For a lot of people, those miles are headed to an unused expiration.

But if you have The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®, you can receive miles from other Hawaiian Miles accounts for free through the online share miles promotion. So get the Hawaiian card and relieve your friends of their orphaned miles.

Or combine all your Hawaiian Miles into one account before making a booking for you and travel companions.

  • How does the Hawaiian Share Miles work?
  • Who can send and receive Hawaiian Miles?
  • How can you use it to make family bookings easier?

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