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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?

First, we decided to remove the cost of the taxes on his award ticket. On redemptions, Barclaycard rounds the number of miles needed up to the nearest 100, so redeeming 6,500 miles for the full $64.20 was a slightly worse deal than redeeming for 5,000 for $50 or 2,500 for $25.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.57.59 PM

We redeemed 5,000 miles for a $50 statement credit.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.58.08 PMInstead of being left with just 2,522 miles, he was actually left with 3,022 miles after the instant 10% rebate on the 5,000 mile redemption.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.58.51 PMThat was just enough miles to completely remove that $30 change fee from Hawaiian Airlines.

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The 3,000 mile redemption bought him another $30 statement credit. And he got 300 miles back as a 10% rebate, leaving his account with 322 miles.

Bottom Line

Here are all the things considered travel for the purposes of redeeming Arrival miles:

  • airfare on any flight on any airline with NO blackouts whether purchased from the airline or an online travel agency like Expedia
  • taxes and fees on award tickets
  • airbnb
  • buying TACA/Avianca LifeMiles
  • any hotel charges including meals and services on your bill
  • motels
  • hostels
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • car rentals
  • cruises
  • trains
  • buses
  • taxis
  • ferries
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