How to Save Money on Upcoming Travel

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“I’m booking a trip soon, but I don’t have any points or miles yet.  Can I still save money??”

I get this question frequently from friends when they hear about this blogI have been telling them no, and that they need to plan a bit further in advance to get free trips.  Generally this advice is true… it takes time to get a new credit card, meet the minimum spend, and have the bonus points/miles post to your account.  By that time, the award availability for your upcoming trip may have disappeared!  However, there is a way to save big money, even if you currently have no points/miles and plan to book a trip within the next couple days! 

Behold, the Barclay Arrival Plus Mastercard!  Here’s how the process works:

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  1. Apply for the Barclay Arrival Plus – The sign up bonus on this card is 40,000 Arrival+ Miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months.  If your trip is coming up very soon, check the box for expedited shipping ($15 fee), and the card should arrive within two days!
  2. Book the trip with your new card – Use the Arrival+ card to pay for whatever travel you are planning.  It does not matter which airline, hotel, rental car company you choose!  As an added bonus, if you are traveling internationally, Barclays waives foreign transaction fees on this card.
  3. Hit the minimum spend – As I stated above, you must spend $3,000 in 3 months to earn your 40,000 mile bonus.  Use this card for expenses on your trip.  Use it for your daily expenses.  Or you can use manufactured spending techniques to meet the spending requirements.  The Arrival+ earns rewards at a rate of two miles per dollar spent.
  4. Pay yourself back with Arrival+ Miles – By now, you should have a nice balance in your rewards account.  You spent at least $3,000 to earn the 40,000 mile bonus.  Therefore, you should have at least 46,000 available miles to redeem!  You can redeemed them at a rate of one cent per mile toward travel expenses, and you will get an instant 5% rebate on point redemptions.  The minimum amount for redeeming points is $100.  Follow the example below to understand the math on a typical redemption:
Action Travel Balance Points Earned/Redeemed Point Balance
Book Airline Ticket $500 +1,000 1000
Spend Additional $2,500 for Min Spend +5,000 6000
Bonus Posts +40,000 46,000
Redeem 46,000 miles for $460 $40 -46,000 0
Instant 5% Point Rebate +2,300 2,300

There you have it!  Your $500 airline ticket has been reduced to only $40, and you have 2,300 ($23) points to build toward your next redemption.  This simple process will allow you to save serious cash on upcoming travel, even if you do not currently have any miles/points!  Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Upcoming Travel

  1. That’s an interesting way to look at it – you get to “use the points” before you earn them!
    Barclay’s Priceline card works the same way – you use the points to redeem a previous transaction. I wonder if other Barclay cards also do that.
    I acually I have two regualr Barclay Arrival cards – one downgraded from Arrival plus and the other was the non-plus verison as applied. One additional nice benefit (to some people) is that they offer 0% balance transfer even for old Arrival card holders – I recently needed some urgent cash and took my balance out from Arrival with just 3% fee, what a life saver!

    Like

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