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I’ve come to Colombia four times in the last year, and one thing I’ve learned is that leaving Colombia is a lot like redeeming Arrival miles.

Every time you redeem Arrival miles for travel, you instantly get 5% of the points you just redeemed rebated back to your account.

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Used to be an instant 10% rebate, now 5%

I don’t turn down free miles, but I do find this “lock in” annoying. If it just cost 95 Arrival miles for every dollar of a travel purchase you wanted to remove from your statement, you could run your Arrival miles balance down to zero. Since it costs 100 Arrival miles per dollar, but then you get 5 miles back, you can never run down your balance to zero.

Leaving Colombia is the same way. If you book a one way award to Colombia, which I have on three of the occasions, you pay the Colombia Resident Exit Tax at the time of ticketing.

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Then, as an American staying in the country less than 90 (I think) days, you are entitled to a refund when you board your flight exiting Colombia. If they just gave me $35 back each time, that would be great.

But instead, the last two times I’ve left the country, they’ve given me 74,000 Colombian pesos. (First, that’s annoying because 74k pesos equaled $31 last time and only $24 now, but this post isn’t about that scam.) What’s annoying is that the pesos are like a lock in to come back to Colombia.

Give me my dollars, and please let me run my Arrival miles and Colombian pesos balances down to zero, Barclaycard and Colombia.


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