With the recent increase of the sign-up bonus for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to 50,000 points, there’s no better time to sign up for the card.
Aside from earning 2x on all purchases, the competitive bonus can be redeemed for $525 worth of travel – and you might be surprised at some of the things Barclaycard considers to be travel purchases! One might think just flights or hotels qualify as travel charges, but there are several other options to make a trip just a little more affordable.
Here are seven creative ways you can use your Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles:
1. Disney Tickets
Disney tickets are known to be sold for a pretty penny, and the Arrival Plus card can help you significantly reduce these costs. It’s important to note here that entrance passes purchased through the park’s website do not code as travel. However, purchasing them through a third-party seller, such as UndercoverTourist.com, counts as a travel purchase and therefore is eligible for a statement credit. Please note, Undercover Tourist is a safe and reliable company, so you do not need to worry whether the tickets you receive are legitimate.
2. Ferry Tickets
Say you wish to visit Greece and its gorgeous islands in the summer time. My family and I recently took an overnight ferry (aka a nice cruise ship) from Athens to Crete, which was a creative way for us to kill two birds with one stone. We essentially “woke up” in Crete, saving us the need to buy a hotel night in Athens. We purchased the tickets ahead of time directly from the cruise line’s website, which produced a charge that was coded as travel. As another example, a high-speed ferry ride between Crete and Santorini costs 62 Euro each way; so if you’re island hopping by boat in Greece or elsewhere, wiping out those charges can be a really good way of using your Arrival miles, as long as the ticketing agency codes ferry tickets as travel.
3. Rail Passes
An example similar to the previous one is buying train or rail passes to travel in a country where trains are a prevalent mode of transportation. Japan, for example, sells a Japan Rail (JR) Pass to foreign tourists who wish to explore the country economically. However, an Ordinary JR Pass is quite expensive. A seven-day pass is 29,110 yen (about $280), and a 14-day pass is 46,390 yen (about $447). It’s possible to wipe out these charges with the Arrival Plus credit card as well. However, the process might not necessarily be automatic. Some data points suggest a JR Pass purchase codes as a tourist attraction (not travel), but a simple phone call to Barclaycard can erase these charges.
4. Award Ticket Taxes & Fees
Another great way to use your Arrivals miles that is relevant to those of us in the miles & points hobby is to offset taxes and fees incurred with award tickets. As an example, I love using Aeroplan miles to fly Lufthansa First Class, but the fuel surcharges can sometimes be astronomical (~$500)! Making the booking using the Arrival Plus card can help bring down the cost at your discretion. 10,000 Arrivals miles = a $100 statement credit towards those pesky fees.
Airbnb is everyone’s favorite lodging option when trying to save a buck or two in a big city. Just like many online travel agencies, Airbnb bookings code as travel purchases, which is exactly what you want when redeeming the points you earned for a statement credit. Simply book a stay using your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, and choose to redeem points toward the bill. If the points do not completely cover the cost of your stay, you can put the remaining balance on the card and pay it off with cash later.
6. Uber / Lyft Rides
Although it’s a rather unconventional use of the travel credit, you can apply it toward long and expensive rides. Because at least 10,000 Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles must be redeemed toward a statement credit on travel purchases, this might not work for everyone. However, if you end up in a situation where public transportation is no longer running in a city you’re not familiar with, your hotel (or Airbnb) is 40 miles away and the ride-sharing prices are surging during last-call hours, it might be the only option to get to your accommodations. Enter your card number in the app and use the credit in case of an emergency.
7. Sightseeing Tours
If you book a lot of sightseeing tours when you travel to new places, you can easily reduce your final bill by applying Arrivals miles. Viator.com specializes in selling sightseeing packages, tours and activities in cities worldwide. The best part is, all purchases through the website code as travel, which makes it that much easier to afford that snorkeling trip in Hawaii, a glacier walk in New Zealand, or visit to Chichen Itza in Mexico.
As mentioned earlier, Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is offering an elevated bonus of 50,000 points (up from 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. A minimum redemption is 10,000 points (good for $100), and 5 percent of your points are credited back to your account for a future redemption. The card earns 2x points per dollar on all purchases, so there’s no need to keep track of bonus categories. The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year. The points do not expire as long as an account remains open.
I personally love that so much more than just airline and hotel purchases count as travel purchases. What are some creative ways you’ve used your Arrivals miles?