While a lot of people tend to focus on a credit card’s ability to earn free flights and hotel stays, it’s best not to underestimate the costs once you actually arrive at your travel destination.
It’s great that the hotel is paid for in advance with those free night certificates, and it’s even better when you’re traveling in first class to get to your destination.
But what happens when the hotel bill comes? Those piña coladas were pretty good, actually they were really good (with the rum float), but they were also $15 a pop. And you drank 24 of them. Shoot.
Come check-out, the bitter reality sets in. Your supposed free vacation all of a sudden got really expensive, this despite the fact that your hotel and flight were “free!”
Don’t Leave Home without Barclaycard Arrival Plus?
Borrowing a famous line from American Express, it might actually be in your best interest to pack the Barclaycard Arrival in your suitcase before you leave for your trip.
Why? Because you can earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000, which can be redeemed for any travel purchase of $100 or more.
That means any in-hotel purchases, car rentals, trains, taxis, limos, cruises, etc. can be erased after the fact. And let’s face it, any trip is going to have a lot of these incidental costs, which often aren’t so incidental.
So, let’s use a real-world example to see where this card would benefit you. As mentioned, you’ve got your free flight to, let’s say, Hawaii, and your free hotel room at the Marriott Beach Resort in Wailea. That’s all good.
But now you’re drinking at the pool and ordering club sandwiches and having a ball. Again, all good, that is, until the bill comes.
A Card That Fills in the Gaps on Your Free Trip
There’s no miles card out there that will pay for incidentals at the hotel you’re staying at, except for one, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.
Let’s assume you have a bill of $437 after all is said and done. You tell the hotel to put it on your Barclaycard Arrival+ and head back home.
If you hit your minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 90 days, you’d have at least 56,000 points waiting in your account, thanks to the 50k bonus and the miles earned for spending $3,000+.
You get 2X miles on every purchase, so that’s how you wind up with at least 56k. Did we mention you get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them?
Anyway, you get home and you’ve got that pesky $437 hotel charge. Boo. Your vacation wasn’t free. But wait, you paid for the hotel charges with your Barclaycard Arrival+.
That means you can erase the travel purchase with all those miles you accrued. You take 43,000 of your miles and you’re left with a $7 tab.
Yep, all those mai tais and piña coladas and club sandwiches you scarfed down at the hotel pool set you back just $7 when all was said and done.
Hang on. What about the resort fee and taxes that wound up costing $150? Well, you get 2,150 miles back for that 43k redemption, and you still had 13,000 miles leftover. That means you can redeem another 15,000 miles for those charges.
Sweet. All the hotel charges are GONE. And now your free vacation is starting to look and feel a lot more free. You can finally brag to people about your free trip…
Keep in mind that redemptions for travel statement credits start at a minimum of 10,000 miles ($100 value) toward all or a portion of your travel purchase of $100 or more made within the past 120 days.
That means the charge has to be at least $100 in order to erase it. Make sure you combine charges (like charging to your room) to ensure you don’t have a bunch of sub-$100 charges you can’t redeem. And the charges have to be redeemed within about four months.
Pro tip: If you have a spouse or significant other, they too can apply for the card and get the same bonus. Use the second card for other travel purchases, such as car rental, transportation, and so on.
In summary, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is the perfect filler card to cover all the stuff in between your big-ticket travel purchases to ensure you don’t wind up spending more than you’d like.
Just be sure to apply for the cards well before you leave for your trip…a month or so in advance is a safe play. It can take time to receive the card, especially as Barclaycard can sometimes make some pretty demanding paperwork requests in order to get approved for their credit cards.
And you’ve got to hit the spending requirement too to unlock those miles within 120 days of your travel purchases!
Read more: How Barclaycard Arrival travel redemptions work.