How to Redeem the $444 Sign Up Bonus on the Arrival World MasterCard

Update 2/21/14: The minimum spending requirement is now $3,000 in the first 90 days to unlock the 40,000 bonus miles. Full offer details:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next travel redemption!
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel statement credits (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use your card to book through any airline, hotel or discount travel engine with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits towards all or a portion of your travel purchases within the last 90 days
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Arrival cardmembers

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases

——————————————————————————————–

Two months ago, Barclay’s launched the best fixed-value rewards card on the market. The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1k in the first three months, plus you earn double miles on all purchases.

The combination of a solid sign up bonus with a top notch earnings rate is pretty much unheard of for a fixed-value rewards card, so a lot of people got the card who didn’t understand exactly how to redeem the sign up bonus.

I’ve done a little digging to clear up the best ways to redeem the card’s miles.

What are the best ways to redeem the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard’s miles? Is the card right for you? Should you get a fixed-value card?

Here’s the full offer:

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – Earn 2x on All Purchases with 40,000 miles after spending $1k in the first three months

  • Named ‘Best for Travel Rewards’ MONEY Magazine, October 2013
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Exclusive Carry-on Miles – earn 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 annual value!

The main questions I get are:

1) What qualifies as a travel redemption?

The 10% rebate on redemptions only applies to travel redemptions. So what qualifies as a travel redemption? I reached out to Barclay’s and heard that the following count as travel redemptions:

  • Charges from airlines
  • Charges from hotels, hostels, motels, etc
  • Charges from cruises
  • Charges from train travel
  • Charges from car rentals
  • Charges from online travel agencies including the major ones like Priceline, Hotwire, etc

2) What is the redemption process?

  1. Use your Arrival card to purchase the travel that you want to get for free with your rewards miles.
  2. Log in to your online account with Barclay’s.
  3. Click on the Manage Rewards button.
  4. Select the charge that you want to eliminate with miles.

Note that you will redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per mile. You must redeem a minimum of 2,500 miles. And you must have enough miles to completely eliminate the charge. For instance, if a flight cost $500 and you have 47,000 miles, you cannot eliminate $470 of the charge.

Also note what the redemption process leaves out. You don’t have to search for award space or talk to a phone agent. You just book the ticket like a normal cash ticket through any channel you like. Rewards have no blackout dates or capacity controls.

3) What are the best ways to redeem the miles?

All redemptions equal one cent per mile, so I think the key is to find redemptions that are impossible or poor value with traditional miles.

For instance, if you have to take a $40 United flight between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, redeeming 12,500 United miles would be a horrible idea. But why pay $40? Just redeem 4k miles.

Or if you redeem a Singapore Suites award with $300 out of pocket, make that zero out of pocket by redeeming 30k miles.

Fixed-Value Rewards Primer

A fixed-value rewards card earns miles that are redeemed for a fixed value, in this case 1 cent per mile. This differs from traditional frequent-flyer miles where the value of your mile depends on how you use it.

For instance, a United mile could be worth one third of a cent if you redeem 12,500 for a one way flight to Las Vegas that costs $40, or a United mile could be worth 10 cents if you redeem 67,500 for one First Class flight on Lufthansa that would cost $7,000.

But a mile earned on the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard will always be worth exactly one cent toward travel. A $40 flight costs 4k miles and a $6,750 flight costs 675k miles.

There are three reasons I am going to get the Arrival World MasterCard–the sign up bonus, the ongoing rewards, and the fact that it diversifies my miles strategy.

First, the card has a $444 sign up bonus.

The card has recently increased its sign up bonus to 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of card membership.

Those 40,000 miles can be redeemed for $400 in free travel. And doing that will trigger a 10% rebate in points. You can use that 4,000 points for $40 more in free travel. Of course, you’d also get 400 points back, which is $4 more in travel, which means 40 points back, $0.40 in travel, 4 miles back… These iterations make the total value of the 40,000 miles sign up bonus $444.

Second, the card earns 2.22% back toward travel on all purchases. The rewards of the Arrival World MasterCard are simple. You earn two miles per dollar on all purchases. Each mile is worth 1.11 cents worth of travel because of the 10% rebate on travel redemptions I’ve mentioned.

And 2.22% back on all purchases compares very favorably to other cards.

It is 11% better than any other cash back card I know of. I haven’t seen better than 2% back on all purchases.

Third, there are certain types of travel that are impossible with traditional miles or wildly inefficient with traditional miles.

For instance, it is impossible to get a flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora with traditional miles, but many of my clients need to make that flight to get to their resort on Bora Bora.

And it’s wildly inefficient to redeem 40k United miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu, but many people do that because they have the miles and want to take the trip.

If a trip gets you less than one cent per mile with traditional miles or the redemption is impossible with traditional miles, a fixed-value program is right for you.

Even if most of your travel is better served with traditional miles, it’s a great idea to diversify to fixed-value miles.

I occasionally take flights in domestic economy or intra-island in Hawaii or I stay at a non-chain hotel. I can’t or wouldn’t use traditional miles to avoid these costs, but the miles earned on the Arrival card are perfect for theses costs.

Who Should Not Get This Card

Do not get this card if you want to collect miles to fly international first class exclusively. Paid international first class is exorbitantly expensive–think $10,000. A $10,000 ticket would cost 1,000,000 of these miles, which is far more than the number of traditional miles paid first class costs.

It’s always sad to tell Award Booking Service clients who have accumulated miles on a card like this one and want to fly up front that they don’t have enough miles.

Who Should Get This Card

This card is ideal for people who fly economy, families, domestic flyers, and points omnivores.

  • Economy Flyers- If you mainly fly economy class, it’s hard to get even 1.5 cents of value per traditional mile. Most miles cards earn 1 mile per dollar, meaning they get economy flyers 1.5 cents of travel per dollar spent–if that! The Arrival World MasterCard gets economy flyers (and everyone else) 2.22 cents of travel per dollar spent.
  • Families- Families have two things working against them. It’s tough to book four capacity-controlled award seats on the same flight, and they usually have little date flexibility since they want to travel over school breaks. The “miles” earned on the Arrival World MasterCard don’t require you to find award seats. They can be redeemed toward any travel purchase. A family can book four tickets to Disneyland and use their miles from this card to make that flight–whatever flight they want–free.
  • Domestic Flyers- You’d have to spend $25,000 on a United, American, or Delta credit card AND find award space on the flights you want to get a domestic roundtrip. You’d have to spend far less on the Arrival World MasterCard, and you can book any flight you want.
  • Points Omnivores- This is my category. I’ll collect any mile or point I can to get more travel. I collect other types to get into international first class. I’ll collect this type to fly to more mundane places in economy class. A dollar saved is still a dollar saved. Bonus for points omnivores: Barclay’s doesn’t have a ton of great rewards cards, so this the Barclay’s card I’ll be getting on my next app-o-rama.

Recap

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is currently offering a sign up bonus worth $444 in free travel, plus the card earns 2.22% back toward travel on all spending!

This card is ideal for economy flyers, domestic flyers, families, and points omnivores. The card is also ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to search for award space. The miles earned from this card can be used on any airline for any flight. (And you’ll even earn miles on that flight!)

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

31 Responses to How to Redeem the $444 Sign Up Bonus on the Arrival World MasterCard

  1. “And you must have enough miles to completely eliminate the charge. For instance, if a flight cost $500 and you have 47,000 miles, you cannot eliminate $470 of the charge.”

    I was afraid of that. That’s how the Capital One Venture works (if I recall correctly) and it can a little annoying. It’s good to know though, so one potentially might want to break up travel purchases into multiple charges to create a value you can eliminate with existing points.

    Thanks for the info!

  2. I was able to redeem Barclay Arrival points for a portion of a hotel bill with no problem. I could have done any amount in increments of $25.

  3. This was the best explanation for the mile redemption of Arrival Mastercard in the few that I read. Will use your link when I apply tomorrow. :)

  4. How does this compare to having the Chase Freedom/Sapphire/Ink cards? You can redeem UR points through Chase on a fixed value basis (and with Sapphire get a 20% break on the number of points needed to make the purchase, so that same 40,000 points sign up bonus gets you $500 worth of travel), and my understanding is that Amex has a similar award redemption system as well correct?

    • It’s far superior to using those as fixed-value points. This card earns 2 miles per dollar, 1 cent of value per mile, plus a 10% miles rebate on travel redemptions. That makes charging any dollar on this card worth 2.22 cents back.

      Those cards earn 1 to 1.25 cents back per dollar unless you charge in a bonus category. The benefit of the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold is the transferability of points to United miles and other airline/hotel miles.

  5. 1. Same question/comment as KennyB, are you certain that you cannot redeem miles toward a portion of travel costs if you don’t have enough miles to cover it? I called Barclays and one rep said that you could. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that an entire travel charge would have to be covered to be able to redeem any of the miles.
    2. Could these be used to book 1)theme park tickets or 2)Disney Resort stay? If Disney includes all of these in one package, could I use these miles?

    • Based on Kenny B’s comment, I believe I am mistaken and you can redeem any amount > 2,500 miles.

      Whether something is travel depends on how it is coded on your statement. You would hope Disney would be a Resort for which you could redeem.

  6. “it’s wildly inefficient to redeem 40k United miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu”

    I need to fly from Ohio to Kona (Hawaii) multiple times per year. Should I get the Chase Sapphire & Ink cards to redeem the UR points to fly to Kona from Ohio on United? Or, is that a bad strategy?

    Should I consider different cards if I need to travel Ohio – Hawaii multiple times per year? Thanks!

  7. There seemed to be a lot of confusion when this card first came out about whether or not you could redeem miles for a portion of the purchase cost.

    I can confirm that you can use miles for a portion of the total purchase. I just used 5,000 points to get a $50 credit on a ~$200 airline purchase.

  8. If those flights go for more than about $800 roundtrip, you’d probably be better with United miles (UR). If they are less than $800, you’d be better with this card.

  9. I used 20K United miles to redeem for LAX-HNL because only thing available. I guess I’m a newb? :)

  10. It seems that the Capital One Venture card has about the same deal plus there are no foreign transaction fees which is great if you travel internationally a lot.

  11. I think that these fixed value cards become even more useful as the airlines add a revenue component to their loyalty programs. If you are chasing status on an airline, better to have points you can use on a flight that’s going to help you to reach that threshold than to have to spend real money on it. Of course if you can do better than 2% cash back, great, but on non-bonused spend this card is a great choice.

  12. If it weren’t for the fact that this is a Barclays card, I would be all over it.

  13. Greetings from Ulan Bataar, Mongolia. You should definitely visit here.

    Scott, you say it’s difficult to get more than 1.5 cpm on economy redemptions. That may be if you are only flying specifically from Point A to Point B and back, but I think you underestimate your own contributions to helping people get value for their miles. Due to what I’ve learned reading this blog and others, I’m currently on an 8-week odyssey that looks like this:

    ICT-DEN-NRT-ICN-PEK-ULN-PEK-ICN-HNL-LAX-ORD-ICT-ORD-MAD-BLQ-VIE-CAI-AMM-DOH-DXB-MUC-DUB-ORD-ICT

    That’s 156,000 miles for economy flights from five redemptions (UA, AA and BA). At 1.5 cpm that would be just under $2,400. But I think it would cost three times that to buy the itinerary for cash. And I suspect I haven’t really optimized the options.

    This is meant to thank you for your good work.

  14. Also, the 10% bonus for travel redemption does not show up right away when you redeem the rewards. According to the website:
    You earn 10% of your miles back as a Travel Redemption Bonus every time you redeem for travel. For example, if you redeem 25,000 miles for travel, you will receive 2,500 miles as a bonus to use towards your next redemption. Travel Redemption Bonus Miles will be added to your rewards bank within 1-2 weeks after your travel redemption is processed.

    No big deal. I just couldn’t see where the 10% played in until I actually clicked to “check out” my redemption.

  15. Scott, can travel purchases that I intend to submit for credit redemption be used to meet the mininim spend requirements? For example, I get the card today and purchase $400 in travel, thus meeting the minimin spend. Will I be able to redeem my 40,000 miles for that $400 initially spent (which was also used to meet the minimum spend requirement)?

  16. CB, yes. I did. Once you hit the minimum spend, you are credited the rewards. You can then use the rewards to redeem for your travel related purchase. There may be a short delay but it’s fine as long as you redeem within 90 days of the travel purchase.

  17. I have a Cap1 Venture Card with a bonus that I was able to partially cash out in the form of a convenience check. I had a ticket from Seoul to Tokyo that I ended up not using, but the system still let me redeem the points for it — so I had an account credit of ~$400. I used one of the no-fee, non-promotional rate convenience checks to write myself a check for the amount of the credit.

    I now have an Arrivals Card and haven’t done the same thing yet (it is handy to have $ available for cash upgrades, food, change fees, etc.) but it is tempting! :)

  18. I have got the 40,000 miles. I dont have any upcoming travel plans soon but towards the end of 2014. IF I use my Barclay Arrival card on a travel website like AA.com or United.com and buy gift cards for later use – Will this transaction then appear as a travel transaction that I can redeem the miles against ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>