$400-600 off your next vacation: my new preferred travel rewards credit card

Actually, it’s $440 off your next vacation with the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – $89 Annual Fee Card. I know. I must be crazy. What’s with the annual fee?

Well, the annual fee is waived the first year and it only takes 3 months for you to get the nice bonus – as long as you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days as a cardholder.

My plan is to get the card and pay for health insurance (about 3 grand next time it comes due). That qualifies me for the bonus 40,000 miles. You could redeem these miles for something other than travel but then you get a poor value. And it just so happens that I like to travel.

So I have 40,000 bonus miles plus about 6,000 miles from the usual card rewards (2 miles per dollar spent on the card is pretty good). 46,000 miles and counting – then when you redeem for statement credit on travel charges you get a 10% mileage bonus. So there’s another 4,600 miles (this bonus 10% back would have to be redeemed after the other rewards so may not apply to the one vacation I’m talking about – you might have to use the bonus miles for a future statement credit). 1 mile = $1 in statement credit for travel charges (as I said before, redeeming for anything besides travel charges probably isn’t worth it).

My wife and I plan a little trip in the $500-600 range and use the Barclay’s card to pay for it, earning another 1000-1200 miles in the process. We then use all those miles to pay for the vacation by applying them to the statement. The 500 – 600 dollar trip ends up costing almost nothing.

With the annual fee card, you get the better bonus and there’s no fee the first year. But if you plan on keeping the card forever and don’t care about the biggest possible upfront bonus, there is a no annual fee version: Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – No Annual Fee Card. This no fee card still gives you 2 miles per dollar spent. You can still get 20,000 bonus miles, too. But I’m greedy and I have to go for 40,000.

Just keep in mind that this is a limited time offer and I don’t know when it ends. You need to act soon, but not too soon – it would be best if you have a big expense coming up in the next couple months that, when you pay, will qualify you for the bonus.

This information should be accurate for the annual fee card, but make sure you read the fine print before you start using the card.

Money Math Matters

Annual Fee: $89 (waived the first year)
Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
APR: Intro 0% APR for first 12 months, then var 14.99%/18.99%
APR for Balance Transfers: 14.99%/18.99%
Balance Transfer Fee: 4%
APR for Cash Advance: 25.24%
Cash Advance Fee: 5%
Late Fee/Returned Payment Fee: $35
Over Credit Limit Fee: $0
Penalty APR: 27.24%, may apply with late payment

Rewards

Bonus: 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in first 3 months [20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in first 3 months]
2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase [2 miles per $1 spent on travel & dining, 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases]
Miles Worth: 1 mile = 1.10 cents (accounts for 10% back upon redemption), less when redeeming for cash back, merchandise, or gift cards
Rewards Limit: None
Rewards Expiration: None
Redeem Rewards For: Travel expenses such as airline, hotel, cruises, train, car rental, etc. Redeem miles through statement credit towards travel purchase. Do not transfer with frequent flyer programs.
Get 10% miles back when redeeming for travel

Fringe Benefits

Free TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer subscription (normally $49/year)
$0 Fraud Liability Protection
Purchase Protection: Yes, price drop protection
Travel Insurance: Yes. Up to $200,000 travel accident coverage, reimbursement for delayed baggage, and trip cancellation coverage.
Extended Warranty: Yes
Customer Service: 24/7 MasterCard Global Service

Filed Under: Travel credit cards

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