Hopefully you’ve heard about WOW Air, which frequently offers $99 one way tickets from Baltimore and Boston to Iceland and $149 one way tickets to Europe. Starting this Spring, WOW Air will add San Francisco and Los Angeles to its route network.

Hopefully you’ve heard about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

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Arrival miles can be retroactively redeemed after any travel purchase to eliminate that purchase from your credit card statement at a rate of 100 miles per $1.

You can use the super-cheap WOW Air fares and the Arrival Plus to book a free trip to Europe. Here are the steps:

  1. Open an Arrival Plus.
  2. Wait for a WOW Air sale, which happen every month or so.
  3. Book the WOW Air flight with your Arrival Plus.
  4. Meet the minimum spending requirement on your Arrival Plus (and yes, the WOW Air purchase counts toward it.)
  5. Redeem Arrival miles to remove the WOW Air flight purchase from your statement.

1. Open an Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

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The card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchase. You can redeem the miles to offset any travel expense greater than $100 inside your Barclaycard account within 120 days of the purchase. Here is How to Redeem Arrival Miles.

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on the card, you’ll have at least 46,000 Arrival miles, which you could redeem to offset a $460 charge. You can almost always book a WOW Air roundtrip for under $460, often for as little as $230.

When you redeem the miles, you even get 5% back instantly, so redeeming 46,000 would offer 2,300 miles back, worth another $23.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

2. Wait for a WOW Air Sale

About every month or so, WOW Air offers $99 flights to Iceland and $149 flights to continental Europe. Here were the deals on December 1st, for instance.

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Just going to the WOW Air site shows the current deals on the home page, which aren’t quite as good, but are still good. Ideally I’d wait for a sale, but I will show you how to book a $6 roundtrip to Europe with the current prices.

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3. Book the WOW Air Flight with Your Arrival Plus

I will use flying from Baltimore to London, returning Dublin to Baltimore as an example. There’s nothing special about the example; I just chose it because it looks like a trip many people would enjoy.

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I searched for the cheapest one way flight from Baltimore to London, and I found the advertised $199 fares on Mondays and Thursdays this winter.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.17.44 PM I selected a Thursday departure, and then I was taken through the gamut of extra fees. WOW Air allows just one carry on, not one carry on and one personal item like most American airlines. The carry on is free if under 11 pounds. You can increase the weight of the carry on to 26 pounds for $48 each way between the United States and European mainland/British Isles.Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.18.05 PM A checked bag would be $67.Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.18.13 PM I advocate one bag travel, so 26 pounds in a carry on is plenty. I’d choose that option to save money. I’d also skip picking an assigned seat to save money, but I think paying to sit together or for extra legroom is reasonable. Here are the prices, which are based on legroom and how close to the front of the plane you are.

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Booking one way from Baltimore to London is $247 for an unassigned seat and a 26 pound carry on.

The return from Dublin is another $231, including a 26 pound carry on. I noticed that it is a few dollars cheaper to book the return in euros from the Irish site than it was to book it in dollars from the American site. You select your site, and thus your currency, when you go to wowair.com.

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I found a return eight days after the outbound 189.25 euros.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.23.07 PMAfter adding the fee for a 26 pound carry on and paying a booking fee (which is not applied to dollar purchases), the price was 212.32 euros, which is $231.
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The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has no foreign transaction fees. Put both one way tickets on the card for $478 in total charges.

4. Meet the Arrival Plus’ Minimum Spending Requirement

To unlock the 40,000 bonus miles, you need to spend $3,000 on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® in the first three months.

The WOW Air charges (of $478 in this case) count toward that minimum spending requirement. When you hit the spending requirement, you’ll have at least 46,000 Arrival miles, the 40,000 bonus plus 6,000 for $3,000 spending at 2x miles per dollar.

5. Redeem the Arrival Miles for a Free Trip

Once your Arrival miles hit your account, typically the day the statement closes, you can sign into your Barclaycard account and redeem Arrival miles to offset the purchases. You have 120 days from the purchase to offset it with Arrival miles.

To remove the $247 outbound, you’d redeem 24,700 Arrival miles. You would instantly get 5% back, which would be 1,235.

That would leave you with 22,535. These could be used to remove $225 of the $231 return for a total cost of a $6 roundtrip, and you would have over 1,000 Arrival miles left in your account.

If you didn’t follow that, check out How to Redeem Arrival Miles.

Bottom Line

Right now, you could book an open jaw roundtrip from Baltimore to London, returning from Dublin for $6 by combining WOW Air’s cheap fares and the sign up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.

If you time your purchase to one of the very frequent sales, you could get one or possibly even two free roundtrips to Europe or Iceland.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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