MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.


A card offer in this post has expired so its links have been removed. Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

A naive person might think that the miles earned on the Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases are worth 1 cent each. After all, you can use 2,500 Arrival miles to knock $25 off the cost of any travel purchase.

Conventional wisdom has long held that the points are worth 1.1… cents with the last 1 repeating forever. After all, you get an instant 10% rebate when you redeem Arrival miles online for any travel expense. (This is often stated as the points being worth 1.1 or 1.11 cents.)

Last week, Bill said on this blog that Arrival miles are worth 1.14 cents each. After all, you earn 2 miles per dollar on all Arrival card purchases, even the ones that you later remove from your statement after an Arrival-miles redemption.

Yesterday the Frequent Miler asked What is the Barclay Arrival card’s rebate really worth?, noting Bill’s post and a reader email as the catalysts. The Frequent Miler’s conclusion was that Arrival miles are worth 1.1 cents.

This is important because the Arrival card is a card that can get you any of the following travel expenses completely for free:

  • any flight on any airline
  • award ticket fees
  • trains
  • bed and breakfasts
  • hostels
  • car rentals
  • cruises

What’s my take? How much are Arrival miles really worth?

On every redemption, Arrival miles are indeed worth 1.14 cents.

It is impossible to redeem all of your Arrival miles for travel. Because of the 10% rebate on all travel redemptions, your account will always have miles in it. The minimum value you’ll get from your Arrival miles over the life of your account is 1.07 cents.

You’ll get closer to 1.14 cents per mile of value the more you use your card, and most people should use their Arrival card a lot.

Let’s go through those three points.

1. On every redemption, Arrival miles are indeed worth 1.14 cents.

This is fairly obvious, and Bill ran through the numbers. I’ll use the Frequent Miler’s numbers to illustrate the point again:

Suppose you have 35,000 points and you want to get a $350 hotel stay for free.  You would simply pay for your hotel stay with your Arrival card, and then log into your account to redeem 35,000 points for that purchase.  Now, two things happen: 1) You earn your 10% rebate on points used = 3,500 points; and 2) You earn points for the $350 purchase just as you would any other time: $350 x 2 points per dollar = 700 points.  So, after your “free” $350 hotel stay, you will have earned back 4,250 points.  In other words, your net loss of points is only 30,750 points.  And, since you got $350 worth of travel from those points, we can calculate the value per point: $350 / 30,750 = 1.14 cents per point.

2. The minimum value you can get is 1.07 cents per mile (assuming you meet the minimum spending requirement.)

If you meet the minimum spending requirement of $3k in the first 90 days, you will have 46k Arrival miles.

Don’t forget that the rumor is that the spending requirement is set to triple very soon.

That’s the 40k bonus miles plus 6k miles for spending 31k since every purchase earns 2 miles per dollar.

With 45k miles, you can do a $450 travel redemption for 45k miles. You’ll immediately get 4,500 miles back as a rebate.

Now you have $450 in free travel and 5,500 Arrival miles. You can redeem 5k miles for $50 more in free travel. You’ll get a 500 mile rebate.

Now you have $500 in free travel and 1k Arrival miles. Those are not enough to redeem anymore, since the minimum redemption is 2,500 Arrival miles.

The sum is $500 in free travel on 46k earned miles. That means getting 1.09 cents per mile on the miles earned. This number would be higher if not for the now-orphaned 1k Arrival miles.

3. You’ll get closer to 1.14 cents per mile of value the more you use your card.

The simple solution is not to orphan so many Arrival miles relative to the total earned. If you keep putting lots of your regular spending on the Arrival card, you’ll orphan a very low percentage of the miles you earn and the value of the miles you earn will climb closer and closer to 1.14 cents.

Recap

The Arrival card is rare in that you earn 2 miles per dollar for all purchases–even purchases that you later remove by redeeming miles to offset the charge.

That extra 2 miles per dollar adds value and takes the maximum possible value of the miles from 1.11 to 1.14 cents.

But if you leave Arrival miles in your account when you close the card, they disappear worthless. The certainty of orphaning some miles makes the value of all the miles you earn less than 1.14 cents. The more you spend on the card, though, the closer you’ll get to 1.14 cents in value for all the miles you earn.

Use that value to get the following travel expenses completely free that you’d normally have to pay out of pocket for:

  • any flight on any airline
  • award ticket fees
  • trains
  • bed and breakfasts
  • hostels
  • car rentals
  • cruises

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

 

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.