Barclay’s Arrival miles are one of my favorite miles out there. I know, I know, just a few days ago I gave 5 reasons why Chase Ultimate Rewards were my favorite mileage currency, and it’s true, they are. But Barclay Arrival miles are right up there as well.
Just like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Barclay Arrival miles are a flexible currency that isn’t tied to a specific hotel or airline. And while Barclay Arrival miles don’t have the airline transfer partners that Chase Ultimate Rewards has, and there is only one card that you can get that earns Arrival miles (as opposed to several that earn Ultimate Rewards), the big advantage of the Barclay Arrival miles is that you can use them on ANY travel expense. Not only do you earn 2 miles for every dollar spent, when you redeem for travel expenses, you get 10% of your miles back as a rebate.
Redeeming Barclay Arrival miles on small transactions under $25
One downside about redeeming Barclay Arrival miles is that you can only do it for transactions of $25 or more. For example, when I used 170,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points to fly our family of 8 to Lake Tahoe last summer, I ended up with a bunch of $5.60 charges for the TSA fees on the award tickets. I paid for those fees with my Barclay Arrival card, hoping to use my miles to pay for them.
Instead, I logged in to find that transaction was NOT displayed in my list of available transactions to redeem.
Bummer! I think that I have since heard some reports that people have had success calling into Barclays to try and redeem smaller transactions, but I am not 100% sure about that. Nevertheless, I have found a better way to redeem your Barclay Arrival miles for small transactions under $25
The trick to redeem Arrival miles for small transactions
With an upcoming surprise trip to Puerto Rico coming up, I was once again going to have some TSA fees to pay and wanted to use my miles to pay them. In looking through my list of the cheapest airport taxes and fees in the Caribbean, I picked Puerto Rico since the TSA fees were going to only be $11.20 (* 2 tickets). Even if I could pay them together (I can’t, because Carolyn’s ticket has to be added later since I was using my Southwest Companion Pass), that would be under $25.
The solution? Buy a GIFT card for (at least) $25!
Now one thing to point out is that you would need to buy the gift card directly from Southwest (or something else coded as travel). That means that you’re turning down the 5x points you could get by buying the Southwest gift card at an office supply store with a Chase Ink card – so that’s something to consider.
But buying that gift card works like a champ. Soon after, you can see it on your list of purchases available for redemption
And voila! There you go! Now technically I still have $2.60 left on that gift card, but that’s fine – I can use that for my NEXT trip. What about you? Did you know about this trick already?