Two Non-Obvious Points About the Best Travel Rebate Credit Card

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

This is one of the best ‘rebate’ cards that earns points you can use to pay for travel, rather than transferring points into airline miles or hotel points.

It offers one of the highest effective rebates on spending in the market — two ppints per dollar spent plus a 10% points rebate when you redeem for travel means in essence that you’re earning 2.2% towards you travel from all spending.

The card offers:

In my view probably the best bank proprietary points card overall. You want to use the points to cover expenses that airline miles and hotel points don’t — taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on award tickets; non-chain hotels or flights on non-alliance airlines; tour operators; cruises; cars; airline fees.

Here are two non-obvious points about the card that have come up over the past few days.

  1. You can’t transfer Barclaycard points between accounts. That’s too bad. Citi lets you do it with Thank You points.

  2. The signup bonus <can be used to offset the minimum spend required to earn that bonus.

Spend the $3000 required to earn 40,000 points , and you earn 6000 points as well.

Then request a statement credit with those 46,000 points against that same $3000. Let’s assume you spent the $3000 on travel. You’ll get a $460 credit.

Those 46,000 points give you a $460 credit back.

And since you redeemed for travel, they credit you with 4600 points. Which you can redeem for a $46 credit.

And since you’re redeeming those 4600 points for travel, you get 10% back or 460 points…

Effectively, you earn a 17% rebate on your first $3000 spent (provided you spend this on travel) when signing up for the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I agree it’s a terrific card for the signup bonus and for using for one year. I think it needs to offer a retention bonus or renewal award, though, in order to justify keeping it a second year. The amount of spending it would take the second year to justify paying the annual fee just seems too high.

  2. Has anyone ever been turned down for a second year fee waiver when they’ve called Barclays retention? I don’t think so.

  3. Most miles cards still have much better signup value. I just got two rt tickets to Alaska on a Frontier card that cost me $69 and just did a rt to Buenos Aires on a card that cost me $69. Way more value than $400.

  4. The capital one venture card couldbe a better value at $30 less per year depending how much you spend and how you buy your travel. You also get 40,000 ‘miles’ with them to the first year.

  5. The capital one venture card could be a better value at $30 less per year depending how much you spend and how you buy your travel. You also get 40,000 ‘miles’ with them to the first year.

  6. Agree with DaveS – this is a use for one year and then cancel card. There’s very few scenarios where this comes out to be a better long term value than the Fidelity 2% Amex.

  7. Being able to transfer between accounts is not a particularly important feature for a rebate card. The only reason I can think of to want that feature is if you have travel spending on one account and a bunch of points on the other.

    Am I missing something?

  8. @Stvr It is an interesting set of facts that bloggers are heavily pushing the Barclays card (has referral link) while hardly a mention of the Fidelity card (no referral link), despite that they are both straight cash back cards.

    Gary is better than most in that he has mentioned it in the past, but incentives do matter…

  9. This isn’t just a chip card, it’s chip and PIN. I just used it for two weeks straight in London, Paris & Germany and only about 2 times was I required to enter a PIN.

  10. A big drawback of this card is the fact that it only gives you one shot at redeeming against a charge; i.e., you can redeem for partial credit (Say, 10,000 points for $100 off a $200 charge) but you will not be able to redeem points for the remainder of the charge at a later time.

  11. At least you an make a partial (although only in $25 increments). The Venture requires you have 100% before you can redeem.
    Another plus is that the AF is treated as travel and can be offset by your miles.

  12. Is the arrivals+ card churnable? I have the card since October, can I apply for it again now? Do I need to close the card I have first?
    Thanks for all the advice.

  13. ck, here is our datapoint: About six weeks ago after reviewing key Boarding Area blogs & flyer talk–we waited six months between Arrival apps (Arrival+ came out recently), then applied–we both (wife/I) were instantly apvd for a second arrival+. We did not close our original arrival card (since converted also to arrival +). We both got another 46K+ bonus approx. seven months after applying for our fist arrival card. Ymmv.

  14. @Wes
    Thanks for the datapoint. Did you need to explain why you wanted a second card that’s the same thing as you have already? Or were you instantly approved?

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