After I hit my first official churn on my Barclaycard Arrival+, I decided to put all those points to good use. I had previously charged some Southwest flights and a down payment on a Disney vacation to my Arrival+, and both of these transactions were eligible for redemption. In reality, all transactions are eligible for redemption, but you should really only use your points for travel related statement credits, as these offer the best value. Both the Southwest and the Disney purchase qualified.
Log on to the Barclay site, and click “Manage Rewards.” After that, click “Start using my miles,” and then “Redeem now” under Travel statement credits. You’ll be brought to the following screen. Again, you can redeem them under “Cash back statement credits,” but the value is much lower for the cash back option. Your miles go further for travel statement credits, plus, you get 5% of those miles back after the transaction, providing an added bonus.
The Barclay system is actually quite easy to navigate. Shortly after you place your order, you’ll receive an email confirming your points redemption, and explaining that it will take 1-2 days for the credit to appear on your account. You’ll get your 5% redemption bonus miles credited to your account immediately, in my case: 2,500 miles back on a 50,000 mile redemption.
One important piece of information: you can only redeem toward a transaction once. So in the example above, even though the purchase amount on the Southwest flights was $810, and I redeemed miles for $500 worth of that transaction, I’ll never be able to redeem toward the other $310 of the purchase. Once you’ve redeemed toward the transaction, it disappears from the “Purchases available for redemption” screen, no matter how many days it still had. You’ll need to weigh the value of the Barclay miles against the amount of the transaction, and your future travel purchases on the card. If I had only redeemed 10,000 miles towards the Southwest flights, I’d still have 40,000 miles and nowhere to put them, because I could only redeem a maximum of 20,000 miles to the $200 Disney charge.
Remember, even though these miles get credited to your account, they don’t count towards your minimum payment, so don’t forget to the rest of the balance on the card in full, to avoid interest! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, any interest charged to your card negates the benefit of having all these points and miles.