Barclaycard Arrival: The Definitive One Year Review

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2/20/2014 Update:  The terms of this offer were changed today.  In order to earn the 40,000 bonus points, you must spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card.

Is Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for General Spending?  

Over the last couple of months, my family has had a number of major expenses pop up some of which may resonate with you:

  • the check engine light came on in my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid:  $5000 repair bill
  • ditto for my husbands 2003 Volkswagen Passat:  $3800
  • my daughter got braces:  $4650
  • the heat pump finally gave out:  $6995

Granted it is unusual to have so many large, chargeable expenses totaling $20,000 in a two month period.  But it it is easy to anticipate similar health, home maintenance, and auto repair expenses over the course of a year.

In our case, the car mechanics, the orthodontist, and the HVAC installer all accepted credit cards for payment, but only MasterCard or Visa, not American Express.  That mirrors my experience with other small business vendors where we have regular large expenditures, such as the dog kennel or the vet.  

None of these household expenses are considered “bonus” categories with any credit card product that I am aware of.  Except the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, that is.

(There is a Fidelity credit card that pays 2 times points, but it is an American Express card, which is not accepted everywhere.  There is a Capital One Venture card that pays 2 times points; the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® effectively pays out 10 percent more than that — 2.2 percent.)

Earn 2.2 Points on All Charges, if Redeemed for Travel Expenses

BarclayCard ArrivalIt’s a bit redundant, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® — pays 2 times points on everything.  There is no limit on the amount of points you can earn.

In my case outlined here, with $20,000 in expenses we could earn 4o,000 points.  40,000 points can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel expenses (the points are worth half that if redeemed for cash).  You earn a ten percent bonus on redeemed points, so 4,000 points are redeposited in your account, worth another $40 toward travel expenses, for a total of $440.  The ten percent bonus provides an incentive to keep using the card in order to redeem all your points.

How Much Travel Can You Buy for $440?

Exactly $440 dollars worth!  Depending on your bargain hunting skill and preferences, you can use this money for budget hotels, rental cars, train tickets and airfare.

You can travel when you want, and where you want, without worrying about limited award availability or blackout dates.

What’s more, you will earn frequent flyer miles and loyalty program points on your purchases!

I was an early adopter of the Barclaycard Arrival — I received a targeted offer and opened the card a year ago.  I have written about it on and off, but I wanted to share my experience with the card one year out.

By comparison, with a miles earning credit card, my recent charges would earn 20,000 miles  — perhaps enough for a one-way ticket on Southwest Airlines or two roundtrip tickets on Amtrak, but hard to redeem for much else.

Get a Sign-Up Bonus Worth $440 Towards Travel

Some credit cards are good for everyday spend, others provide generous sign-up bonuses.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® does both!

Beyond the 2.2 percent payout rate for general expenses, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers an excellent signup bonus.

If you spend $3,000 within three months of opening the card, you get a bonus of 40,000 points, which can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel.  Furthermore, you earn 10 percent back on all redemptions for travel expenses, meaning another 4,000 points are awarded, making the initial bonus worth more than $440.

Other Benefits of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway — Just Post Your Winning Priceline Bids

I have never understood why more people do not post their winning Priceline bids on the various internet message boards — such as those highlighted in the sidebar.

Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway
Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway

Consumers benefit from sharing this information.  If you check the message boards prior to placing a bid, why not return the favor and post the results of your bidding?  Would a free Starbucks Gift Card change your mind?

How to Succeed at Priceline Without Really Trying

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Old World Luxury on Priceline – Part 2: Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City

This mini-series explores stellar properties available through Priceline’s opaque bidding process.  

Part 1:  The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Part 2:  Little America -Salt Lake City, Utah

Part 3:  Destination Resort Overlooking the Hudson River, Tarrytown, NY

There are no guarantees in life, and certainly no guarantees on Priceline, but if you do your research you can often land a very good deal at a top-rated luxury property.

Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City
Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City

The Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City is one such gem that frequently pops up on Priceline for the lowly price of $53 per night.  

This is probably the classiest hotel I have ever stayed in.

The corridor walls are covered in brocade fabric.  There is a large fireplace in the wood-paneled central lobby and there are several elegant shops.

The rooms are enormous and comfortable, with real wood furniture, real wool carpets, and beautiful draperies and upholstery.  There is a dressing table and an enormous tiled bathroom with a large tub and a separate shower.  Rooms with king sized beds have a separate living room area.  It is just a very classy place.

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“Barclaycard Arrival” Targeted Credit Card Offer — $450 in Free Travel, or Not?

Free money
© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Spoiler Alert:  The best rewards credit card offers are not hyped in the blogosphere.

This is the story of how I learned to sit back and wait for the superior targeted credit card offers to roll in.

In a typical week, my husband and I receive a dozen offers in the mail for new credit cards.  The banks even try to induce our kid to apply for credit cards on a regular basis.  My usual habit is to toss out these envelopes without opening them.

That is, until I learned how lucrative sign up bonuses could be.

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Consumer Survey: Priceline Consistently Offers Lowest Rates

A multi-city survey by Washington Consumers’ Checkbook finds that hotel rates on Priceline are 40 percent lower than on other online booking services.

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The nonprofit organization compared prices for a specific 4 or 5 star hotel in seven cities, and the Priceline rate was consistently the lowest.

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Hotwire’s Survey of February Price Drops: Hotels, Cars, and Airfare

If you are trolling for travel savings this month, have a look at this analysis from Hotwire.com. The analysis shows the destinations that have the largest price drops compared to February of last year in three categories:  hotels, car rentals, and airfares.  The so-called “Hotwire Travel Savings Indicator” reports results during the second week of each month.

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