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Ways to Maximize Your Rewards Card Miles

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Ways to Maximize Your Rewards Card Miles

Rebecca Lake


Your travel rewards card might become your favorite traveling companion if you're earning miles on every trip.


Depending on your card, you may also add miles nearly everywhere you spend — even when you're just headed to the gas station, grocery store or dinner and a movie.


With a rewards card like the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, you can earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – enough to redeem for a $700 travel statement credit toward a qualifying travel purchase – and unlimited 2x miles on every purchase1. Then, you can redeem your miles for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise2. Plus you get 5% of your miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem3.


A few other great features for travelers – enjoy no foreign transaction fees on international purchases4 and a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening – after that, a variable APR will apply. Currently 18.24%, 22.24%, or 25.24% depending upon your creditworthiness4.


Here are five ways to use your rewards cards miles, whether you're traveling to your dream destination or to the big box store down the street:


1. Use miles to redeem for travel statement credits

Paying your credit card balance in full each month is the best way to avoid interest charges. But if you've splurged on a major vacation or a big-ticket item for your home, you may need a little more time to zero out the bill. Taking the miles you've earned and applying them as a travel statement credit is an easy way to make a dent in your total account balance.  Just remember, you still need to pay your minimum amount due each month, as statement credits don’t count toward your minimum payment requirement. 


With Barclaycard Arrival Plus, redemptions for travel statement credits, with the exception of your account annual fee, start at 10,000 miles for $100. Those redemptions can be applied toward qualifying travel purchases of $100 or more made within 120 days of the purchase. For instance, you can redeem miles toward qualifying travel purchases such as airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rentals, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries.  Redeeming miles for travel statement credits offers the best value.  And miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.


2. Redeem toward your card's annual fee

Paying an annual fee for your credit card can be worth it if your card lets you rack up a generous number of miles or it comes with juicy travel perks. Barclaycard Arrival Plus, for example, has an $89 annual fee that's waived the first year4.


If your card allows you to redeem miles toward your annual fee, that's an opportunity to save money. It's an option with Barclaycard Arrival Plus, and it only takes a minimum of 2,500 miles to redeem for a travel statement credit worth $25 toward your annual fee2.


3. Convert miles to cash back statement credits

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus allows you to redeem miles for cash back statement credits, starting at 5,000 miles for $25. You can use statement credit redemptions to lower your total account balance, however you will still need to make your minimum payment for the month. When you redeem your miles for a statement credit, the credit will be posted to your account within 1-2 business days and will appear on your statement within 1 billing cycle.


4. Turn miles into a gift

Gift cards can be a go-to present when you have no clue what to buy a friend or family member for a birthday, holiday or other special occasion. If you're on a tight gift budget, your miles could save the day if you're able to redeem them for gift cards. Barclaycard Arrival Plus allows you to turn miles into gift cards from partner merchants, starting at 5,000 miles for $25.


5. Get the goods

Another way to redeem miles is to use them for merchandise from your favorite retailers. You can do that with Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Just keep in mind that the number of miles you'll need to redeem for merchandise will vary, based on the retailer. But it's a great way to get a head start on next year's holiday shopping or to reward yourself with a gift.


When it comes to using your travel rewards to your full advantage, it pays to consider all the options.


Above content reflects the views of Rebecca Lake. Product features of Arrival Plus are supported by Barclays, for more information on card details please visit




1.  Earning Miles: Cardmembers will earn 2X miles for every one dollar ($1) spent on purchases less credits, returns and adjustments ("Net Purchases").
Bonus Miles: Primary Cardmembers will earn 70,000 bonus miles if you use your new credit card account to make $5,000 in Net Purchases within ninety (90) days of your credit card account being opened. This one-time 70,000 miles offer is valid for first-time cardmembers with new accounts only. Existing cardmembers and existing accounts are not eligible for this offer. This offer may be cancelled at any time without notice.


2.  Redeeming Miles: Cardmembers can redeem miles for travel and cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Travel statement credit redemptions start at 10,000 miles for $100 toward a qualifying travel purchase of $100 or more made within the last 120 days. The minimum for account annual fee redemptions within the travel statement credit category is 2,500 miles for $25. Cash back statement credit and gift card redemptions start at 5,000 miles for $25. Merchandise redemption values vary based on what you are redeeming for. Travel Redemptions are defined as Airlines, Hotels, Motels, Timeshares, Campgrounds, Car Rental Agencies, Cruise Lines, Travel Agencies, Discount Travel Sites, Trains, Buses, Taxis, Limousines, Ferries and your account annual fee (“Travel Purchases”). To qualify for redemption, Travel Purchases must be submitted by merchants using the eligible merchant category codes for purchases in the above categories. Barclays is not responsible for incorrectly coded purchases. Cardmembers can log on to our website, to review redemption options and/or to redeem your miles. Select Rewards & Benefits from the Account Summary page and follow the online instructions.


3.  5% Miles Back: You earn 5% of your miles back as a redemption bonus, to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem. For example, if you redeem 40,000 miles, you will receive 2,000 miles as a bonus to use toward your next redemption. Redemption Bonus miles are added to your account within one (1) business day after your redemption is processed.


4.  Offer subject to credit approval. If at the time of your application you do not meet the credit criteria previously established for this offer, or the income you report is insufficient based on your obligations, we may not be able to open an account for you. This offer is available to new cardmembers only. The annual fee will be waived the first year and then automatically bill to your account every twelve months after account opening. For information about rates, fees, the annual fee, other costs, the rewards program information and benefits associated with the use of the credit card program, please see the Terms and Conditions.

This one-time offer is valid for eligible cardmembers. You may not be eligible for this offer if you currently have or previously had an account with us in this program. In addition, you may not be eligible for this offer if, at any time during our relationship with you, we have cause, as determined by us in our sole discretion, to suspect that the account is being obtained or will be used for abusive or gaming activity (such as, but not limited to, obtaining or using the account to maximize rewards earned in a manner that is not consistent with typical consumer activity and/or multiple credit card account applications/openings).
Annual Fee: $89, waived first year. 0% introductory APR on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening is applicable for the first 12 billing cycles that immediately follow each balance transfer. This introductory APR offer does not apply to purchases and cash advances. For new and outstanding balance transfers after the introductory period and all purchases, the variable APR is 18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% depending upon our review of your application and your credit history at account opening. The variable APR for cash advances is 27.49%. The APRs on your account will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate and are subject to change. For more information see the “About the Variable APRs on Your Account” section of the Terms and Conditions. The minimum monthly interest charge will be $0.50. Balance transfer fee: 3% (min. $5). Cash advance and cash equivalent fees: 5% (min. $10). Foreign transaction fee: 0%. See Terms and Conditions for updated and more information about the terms of this offer.


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