While the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the better fixed-value travel credit cards out there, it has its downsides. Travel statement credits offer the best value but can only be redeemed for purchases of $100 or more. Furthermore, if you don’t have enough points for your full redemption, you can only do a partial redemption in intervals of $25. So if you need 20,500 points but only have 19,000, you’ll have to redeem 17,500 points. You get back $175 instead of $205 and will have some leftover points. Since I want to get the most value out of my points, if I’m short on a redemption, I’ll make sure to earn enough points over the next month to do a full redemption. Even though you get 2 miles per dollar spent, this could require a lot of spending. Instead, I find the Barclaycard Travel Community to be the easiest way to earn Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles.
What is the Barclaycard Travel Community?
Basically, the Barclaycard Travel Community is a place to post short snippets about your vacations. You can add photos, tag locations, and interact with other users via their posts. You receive “Participation Miles” for completing various activities. Cardholders and non-cardholders are allowed to join and participate.
What are Participation Miles?
Participation Miles are awarded for posting stories and when you receive “kudos” from other users (i.e., someone “liking” your post).
You can earn miles in the following ways:
500 miles for completing a profile. This includes adding the following:
- City and state where you live
- At least one travel interest
- At least one travel companion
- At least one travel style
- At least 5 cities added to the “My travels” map
- 150 miles for each travel story you post containing 100 words and one photograph. You can add up to 100 stories per month, with 5 stories per location.
- 10 miles for each detail added to a travel story using the map feature. You can add up to 25 per story.
- 10 miles each time your story is kudoed by another member
For cardholders, you can link your account to your Barclaycard Arrival Plus so each month your Participation Miles are added to your total miles. Non-cardholders receive an Amazon gift card every 2,500 miles.
To put it in perspective, to earn 500 mile through spending, you’d have to put $250 on your Arrival Plus!
How many miles can I earn each month?
If you were to max out the number of stories and map details, you could earn 40,000 miles which is almost the same as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus sign-up bonus! However, this is probably not a great use of your time. Creating the stories is easy but you’re at the mercy of the Barclaycard Travel Community website which can be kind of slow when adding pictures and details to the map. If your story stands out, you can earn points from other users giving you kudos. I’m not sure if there is a cap on this, but I tend to only get kudoed once every four or five stories…or maybe my stories aren’t very good!
What’s the best approach for earning miles?
When I’m adding travel stories, I try to add 5 details to each to make it an even 200 points per story. I only add stories when I need some points to top off my account for a specific redemption. If you’re trying to churn the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, this method is perfect for using up as many points as possible before closing the card. If you have more free time, you could potentially earn $400 per month toward travel. Having completed quite a few stories at this point, I think it’s reasonable to complete 50 stories per month. This would be less than two per day and it would probably take about 10 minutes of your time to complete two stories. If you add 5 details to each, by the end of the month you’ll have enough for a $100 travel statement credit! In the words of the Barefoot Contessa, how easy is that?
Is the Barclaycard Travel Community worth my time?
You can decide if it’s worth your time by looking at your hourly rate. For example, if you complete two stories in ten minutes, that’s 12 stories per hour. At 200 miles per story, that’s a total of 2,400 miles, worth $24 in travel credit. While I make more than this at my actual job, if I add stories to the Barclaycard Travel Community while I’m at work, then I’m really making the big bucks! Jokes aside, $24 per hour isn’t a bad deal but keep in mind the redemption limitations. This includes the fact that travel statement credits can only be issued for purchases of $100 or more, and if you choose to redeem for a regular statement credit, then the value is cut in half (only $12 per hour).
The Barclaycard Travel Community offers a great opportunity to earn miles relatively quickly and, best of all, without spending any money! If you have a lot of free time, you could earn up to $400 each month to use toward travel. More realistically, this approach works when you need more points to top off a redemption. However you decide to use it, the Barclaycard Travel Community is by far the easiest way to earn miles!