Barclaycard Arrival Plus: excellent for travel redemptions, terrible for cash back


Update: This card now earns a 5% point rebate when redeeming miles.

In the recent post “The single best credit card and why my favorite cards didn’t make the list,” I made a mistake.  I originally said that the Arrival Plus card earns 2.2% towards travel and 2% towards everything else.  Well, not so much.  Readers promptly corrected me and I edited the post.  Yes, when redeeming for travel, the card effectively gives you 2.2% now 2.1% rewards as follows:

  1. All purchases earn 2 points per dollar.
  2. Points can be redeemed for statement credit against travel expenses at a rate of 1 cent per point.
  3. When you redeem for travel expenses, you are given a 10% 5% point rebate.

So, if you spend $10,000 on the card, you’ll earn 20,000 points.  Those points can be used to pay for $200 worth of travel, and then you’ll get 1000 points back, which in turn can be used to pay for $10 worth of travel (which would then earn a rebate of 50 points good for $0.50 worth of travel, etc).  However, keep in mind that the minimum number of points that can be used for a redemption is 10,000 — meaning that you must redeem points for travel expenses totaling $100 or more.

What if you prefer cash?  In that case, you can redeem points for half a cent each.  If you do that, the card gives you only 1% cash back for your purchases.  Given that there are no-fee cards that offer 1.5% cash back, that’s a really terrible redemption.

The morals of the story are:

  1. Always use the Arrival Plus card points for travel redemptions.
  2. Always do research before writing a blog post.  I’m not promising anything though…


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