How to Redeem Barclaycard Arrival Points for “Free” Travel

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A while back my husband got the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, but we had yet to redeem the points from the card toward “free” travel.  When the time came to buy a couple of airline tickets that weren’t available on miles, our thoughts turned to the points we had on the Barclaycard that can be used basically like cash toward any travel expense we wanted.  I hadn’t ever gone through the process of redeeming those points, so I wasn’t sure how hard or easy that process would be.  Turns out, it was pretty easy. 

Application Link:  Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!

Make any travel purchase you wish on the card:

To use these points you don’t have to go through their portal to shop for tickets or hotels the way you have to with some cards, you can simply use the card to pay for any travel expense that you wish, and then use points toward that charge later.  This meant I was able to buy the tickets we needed directly from United with the Veteran’s Advantage discount to save a little bit of cash/points, and use a gift certificate that we had obtained from using the $200 annual airline fee credit via our Mercedes Benz American Express card to bring the cost down even further.

BarclayCard RedemptionThe card awards 2x points on all charges on the card, so you don’t have to worry about category bonuses or similar to get the most out of the card.  I actually think for many traveling families, this is likely the best card to use for everyday spending that isn’t available as a bonus category on any of the other cards.  The points earned are worth one cent each, but they are worth a bit more if you plan to redeem them for travel expenses.

Redeem points toward any travel expense:

Once our airline ticket charge posted to the account, we logged in to redeem points to cover some of the cost.  We had about 44,000 points from getting the 40,000 point sign-up bonus plus the money we had spent on the card to trigger the sign-up bonus.  We went to “Rewards” and then selected the option to “pay yourself back for travel”.  The reason this option is better than just selecting the “cash back” option that you could use for any charge is because you will get 10% of your redeemed miles back when you pay yourself back for travel charges.

Barclaycard Redemption 2Once you select that option, you will see the eligible travel charges on your card that you can redeem points for.  The eligible charges must have posted within the last 90 days.  In our case, the two airline tickets we had recently charged showed up as eligible options.

Barclaycard Redemption 3

Get 10% of redeemed miles back when used toward travel:

We redeemed points for the $398 airline ticket first, which left us with 4,562 points.  However, since we redeemed our points toward a travel charge on the first ticket we got 10% of those redeemed points back instantly.  That meant that we got 3,980 points back to bring our total to 8,540 points to use toward the other ticket we charged on the card.

Barclaycard Redemption 4

 Redeem points to cover a portion of a travel charge:

We didn’t have enough points left to cover the full $298 of the second airline ticket, but with this card you don’t have to have enough points in your account to cover the full amount.  You can just use what you have in increments of $25 (2,500 points) toward the charge.  This is really handy as not every card works in this way.

Barclaycard Redemption 5

This meant we were able to use 7,500 points ($75) toward our second ticket, which brought our out-of-pocket cost for that ticket down to $223.  Of course we also earned 10% back on those 7,500 points redeemed to use in the future.  The statement credits for the redemptions posted to our account about two business days after we made the redemption.

We bought two round trip airline tickets that cost about $418 each, for a total of $223 out of pocket by stacking the 5% Veteran’s Advantage discount, using $100 of our annual Amex Platinum airline fee credit, and using the points we had on our Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.  I can stomach paying $223 for the two tickets much more than the $836 we would have had to pay if we weren’t in the miles and points world.  We will also earn elite qualifying and redeemable United miles when we fly on these tickets (and they also will count toward the Premier Qualifying Dollars elite requirement).

I plan to start using this card more on non-bonused spending as earning points that are effectively worth 2.2 cents toward any travel expense can be a very useful tool to have in your back pocket.  Do you use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to help cover some of your family’s travel costs?


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  1. DO NOT redeem a statement credit for the full amount of the transaction if it does not round out to an even dollar amount. For example, if you have a charge for $63.17, the points required will show at 6,400 and you’ll lose the $.93 (w/10%) of points. As long as you spend on travel enough, you’re safe at the next lowest $25 increment (in this case $50 for 5,000 points) and will realize the full value of your points.

    Also, note that you can only redeem against purchases 1 time. So if you only have 2500 points for the purchase above of $63.17 and redeem them against $25 of that purchase, you can’t later redeem 2500 more points against the same purchase.

    Hope that helps to round out this post a little. Having just attained our goal with the SPG Amex for Nights and Flights, we’re switching our non-bonus spend to the Arrival!

  2. DH and I both got this card last summer and used the $800 in free travel to “pay” and offset costs for non-award resort nights. We’ve haven’t used the cards much since, though, as we have been meeting the min spend on other cards and trying hard to increase our URs. We may have another non-award stay coming up this summer, though, so I should be taking a closer look at it again. Thanks, MP!

  3. I think the biggest bang for the buck on this card is it’s churnability. Although knowing Barclays that possibility is likely low.
    I can see using it for non-bonused spending only but most spending categories already have 2+ points and better rewards(CSP, Bold/Plus,AMEX PRG, Starwood).
    But getting two cards for a couple and spending the min with no fee is a great sign-up!

  4. “We bought two round trip airline tickets…using $100 of our annual Amex Platinum airline fee credit”

    I’m confused. Your link above for the Amex Plat credit lists airline tickets as the first type of charge that is ineligible for that credit.

    • Robert, you have been around all of this a long time…I’m surprised that part is confusing. 😉 It is listed as ineligible, but how it works in practice is sometimes different. The most reliable method right now via United is gift registry.

  5. I saw your post on gift registry the other day but didn’t read it all the way thru, since it didn’t seem to apply to me. I just read the whole thing and saw that it quite clearly explains how it works for purchasing tickets thru United GR.

    I’ve never had an AMEX plat, so no experience with it. I’m Lifetime Gold with AA, but I haven’t flown UA in 20 years. Which is about to change due to Chase UA cc and UR points, but only for award flights. 😉

    I’ve been trying to figure out how we could use this AMEX fee credit personally since virtually all of our flights are on awards. No baggage fees anyway due to ccs, all our flights are premium cabin so free lounge access, and we both already have Global Entry.

    Is there a similar GR program with AA? Our major expense with AA is British departure taxes and fees on AA award flights out of LHR which are “ineligible”.
    AA award redeposit fees are about the only other expense we incur with airlines. But even if we do end up incurring the latter, we probably won’t know in time to get the MB card first. And I’m not sure if that counts as a “change fee” anyway.
    Still those low hanging 50K miles are quite tempting, if only I could offset the AF.

  6. Could you redeem the miles only after your monthly statement was processed or could you pay for entries as soon as they appeared on your online statement? I ask because I have some charges from Southwest and Amtrak that appear on my online statement but don’t appear on the list of items available for reimbursement with miles.

  7. Thanks for the post! Does the United charge just disappear off your statement, or does the $398 ticket still show up, with another $398 offsetting credit?

  8. I definitely agree – for families and people that aren’t as focused on some of the aspirational trips, Barclay Arrival are the way to go for any spending that isn’t in a 3X or more category or to meet a signup bonus

  9. A final thing I’m noticing that is tangentially related to redemptions is how Barclay chooses to assign points to the transaction.

    If the cents portion of the transaction ends in ≤.49, then the points round down. If the cents portion of the transaction is ≥.50.

    Thus, $2.49 nets 4 points (=4.4 cents)
    Thus, $2.50 nets 6 points (=6.6 cents)

    So, only round up to .50 on a tip or at the gas station IF YOU WERE ALREADY AT .48 or .49 cents to begin with. Don’t round up just for the points in any other case because you’ll lose out. However, if the transaction ends at .48 or .49 and you can get to .50, you’ll get an extra 2.2 cents for travel redemption.

    Especially think about this if you have automatic contributions from the card. End them in .50 to recognize a small gain over time.

  10. Will booking on OTA’s (Expedia, Cheaptickets, etc) also qualify? And if you use an obscure foreign OTA for travel booking, can we be comfortable Barclays will recognize it as a travel expense?

    • wolfgang, my bet is yes. In that case you may have to call them if it isn’t correctly categorized automatically, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work in the end. Haven’t done it myself though.

  11. i feel barclaycard is very good for travel expense, but I just love to know, if we buy by anyoher promotion,l like, full vocational package, car, hotel, and airline,

    can we pay back by our miles use

  12. Thank you for the info. I just signed up for this card and I was wondering after you made $1000 in purchases, how long did you have to wait for the 40000 point bonus?

    Also, do you know if I use this card for a travel purchase during the first $1000 I spend, can I use the bonus points towards this purchase once I receive them?

    • Bobby, don’t remember the exact timing on when the points posted, but you should be able to use the points toward that travel charge once they post.

  13. Hello

    I have got the 40,000 miles. Can I use my card on a travel website like or and buy gift cards for later use ? Will this transaction then appear as a travel transaction that I can redeem the miles against ?

  14. Anyone book an airfare through a travel agent? Such as Walkerhill Travel Agency in NY. Will that be considered travel purchase and be redeemable?

  15. For those that asked: I paid my card as soon as it hit spending of 1005.00-ish$ online yesterday. The very next day (today) my points are in there!

  16. This was very helpful for someone who just recently got the card, but didn’t quite understand how to redeem the miles properly. Thanks very much!

  17. Just got the Arrival card a month ago.
    Got the bonus miles immideatly. Can’t wait to use it toward my Thailand trip!
    Quite like the 2.2 miles on EVERYTHING! Guess not being bombarded with TV advertisements is putting some of those Ad dollars in our pockets!

  18. I am planning a trip to Vegas with my family, I want to use my points for our vacation. If I use a site like Orbitz or traveloity etc, will I be eligible for the 10% miles refund and full point (opposed to half for non travel) useage?? Part of the cost would be travel but part is also lodging and a rental car. Thank you in advance for your help.

  19. Can you use the a+ credits if you book air travel through a travel agent or do you have to book directly with an airline?

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