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How to Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Bonus on Cruises

Update: The following offer is no longer available. Current offer is 40,000 points. Please see our Hot Deals page for the latest offers.

As many of you know, the offer on Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is currently 40,000 points. The card is listed in my Hot Deals and I consider it a very lucrative not to mention, simple-to-understand bonus. And that’s important for those who are just starting out in the miles and points hobby. Basically, as long as your travel charge is $100 or more, you can erase it with points. So, $100 =10,000 points and so on.

This little quirk adds  a layer of complexity to the whole redemption process, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. Recently I’ve received  questions on this bonus from several readers who were looking to use the points towards a cruise payment. So, I wanted to suggest a strategy.

First, of course, you have to meet the minimum spending requirements. But you don’t have to necessarily wait till you get the bonus before you make your cruise payment. As long as your points post within 120 days after your purchase, you should be OK. So, let me illustrate how this will work in real life.

Real life example

We have a gal named Amy who wants to take her family on a cruise. She applies for Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard with the idea of using bonus points towards downpayment. The cruise costs $1,500 and the required deposit is $550 for her family of four. Perfect! She can just charge the whole thing to Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and cover it with the bonus in a few months. Not so fast!

Warning: math ahead.

There is one small issue. You see, once she is done with minimum spending, she will have a total of 56,000 points, probably a bit more. That’s because the card earns two points per dollar. It also gives you 5% rebate on each redemption. Let’s say she charges $550. Once her bonus posts, she will have to redeem 55,000 points. She will get 2,750 points back, and will have a total of 3,750 points leftover. That means she will have to charge an  additional $3,125 to the card  in order to reach $100 redemption threshold (an equivalent of 10,000 points).

It probably won’t be an issue if she plans to use the card for everyday spending for the next few months, but it’s a situation she can avoid if she just pays her deposit a bit differently. Let’s go back to my original example. Amy should make two payments instead: one for $480 and one for $70. Most cruise agencies won’t have an issue with splitting payments, so be sure to ask. In my experience, your available  points’ balance  has to equal to or exceed the charge in order to make a redemption. Read my post for more on this topic.

Once she redeems 48,000 points, she will have a total of 10,400 points left (after getting a 5% rebate). You can make the amount more precise, of course, but it’s close enough. Because it’s over 10,000 points, it now qualifies for  redemption on a travel transaction of $100.

There are many ways to utilize the credit. You can spend it on a variety of travel charges or you can simply apply it towards your cruise. Most travel agents will let you do that as well. Before sailing you can also log into your account and buy an on-board credit. I did that before our cruise to Alaska last year.

I know, I know… Trip report is coming soon, I promise!

I had about 10,000 points left in my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard account. So, I bought a $100 certificate to be used towards tips and shore excursions. The charge was made by NCL cruise line, so it coded as travel.

I then logged in to my Barclaycard account in order to redeem the points against the charge. My husband had about 25,000 points leftover in his Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard account, so I bought two $100 certificates with his credit card.  This allowed me to cover on-board charges completely and use up the points efficiently. You can also just add your Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard to the on-board account directly.

Some of you may remember that  I was able to convert his Arrival Plus to Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard, though this option may not be available in a year or so. Anyway, as you can see, it’s not rocket science, but some forethought is prudent.

Renewing the card: not worth it for normal folks

While the bonus on this card is  a no-brainer (who doesn’t want $500 towards travel?), renewing  it simply doesn’t make sense for majority of people. The reason? The annual fee of $89. It’s waived for the first year, so you don’t have to worry about it to begin with.

But I simply can’t see a scenario where a middle-class family will benefit from renewing it. Yes, 5% rebate is nice, but you have to collect a boatload of points in order to come out ahead compared to a card like Citi Double Cash or Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature.

If you put a ton on credit cards each year and want cash back, you will be better off with Alliant Visa I’ve mentioned in my recent news round-up. I’m honestly surprised that Barclays hasn’t yet reduced the annual fee given all the competition. I would imagine the consumers are fleeing in droves, but who knows?

The juice (bonus) is still worth the squeeze 

As long as you maximize the bonus the way I’ve described earlier, that’s all you need to worry about. Canceling the card is easy and can be done via secure message in your account. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about award availability or any of that other mambo jumbo. This is as simple as it gets, next only to cash back.

That’s why Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is my top pick when it comes to Barclaycard bonuses. The verbiage on the application says “limited time offer”, though it has been around for at least 6 months. I have no idea when or if they plan to reduce it. But I’ve never seen the official offer higher than 50,000 points, so I have no problem recommending it. ( It does pay us commission if you want to support the blog, though obviously, you are under no obligation.)

I personally applied for this card in mine and my husband’s name few months ago. In fact, I’m on my third Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard because as of now, Barclays doesn’t seem to restrict the sign-up bonus to only new cardholders. Of course, YMMV

I plan to redeem the points on a car rental and few dining expenses during our upcoming hotel stays. Those are coded as travel purchase as long as they are charged to your room. But there are many possibilities, and I can always buy Southwest gift card if it looks like I’m having a hard time using up the points before the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard comes up for renewal.

Of course, only you can decide whether it’s the best choice for your family right now. There are many good deals on the market and perhaps you’ll be better off going after another offer. I recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred if you are starting out. That said, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is a very good deal for virtually everyone, even those who don’t like to travel. How so?

Like I said, you can always purchase a Southwest (or another travel-related) gift card and resell it via Giftcardgranny. Just make sure it’s sold directly and not via third-party like Points.com, so the transaction codes as travel. There are other ways to get real cash without taking a loss, but I prefer not to discuss them because they border on fraud. Google is your friend!

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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11 thoughts on “How to Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Bonus on Cruises

  1. Great write up Leana — we used hubby’s Barclaycard Arrival Plus bonus for our Hawaii inter island flights which came in super handy. I’m hoping this sticks around for a while longer as I may have a few VRBO/Airbnb purchases coming up later this year — but I’m hoping they code as travel. We’ll see.

    • @Stephanie Thanks! I haven’t heard any rumors on bonus being reduced in a near future. As far as I know, AirBnB codes as travel, while VRBO does not. However, at least one of my readers was able to call Barclays and convince them to apply credit manually towards VRBO transaction. It definitely doesn’t hurt to try. That being said, all things being equal, I would go with AirBnB just to be on a safe side.

  2. I used this card quite a bit in my first 2 years of travel hacking. It’s simple, flexible, and before they made changes to how redemptions worked, easy. I actually am considering applying for the card soon. 560$ in free travel? Yes please.

    They have been very liberal with waiving the annual fee as well.

    • @Cheapblackdad I agree! I’m not going to say No to $560. It is a very good deal, though $100 minimum redemption threshold definitely stinks. Still, with some forethought it’s not that hard to drain your balance. I’ve heard Barclay has been stingy lately with waving annual fees on this card, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask.

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