I have to admit that I originally got the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard just for the lucrative 40,000 bonus points.  Now after having the card I’m seeing new reasons to keep it around and maximize all the benefits.  Let me explain further.

Well, for starters I’m always planning another adventure as you could imagine.  My mind is constantly filled with places I want to explore with my little family.  So of course, I’m always strategizing how to make those trips completely “FREE”.  It’s my personal challenge to have a trip completely paid for.  I know I’m hard core but it’s so much more fun to me when a trip is 100% free.  I earn miles for the free flights, and of course hotel points for the free nights, but I also look for ways to make cash or cash equivalents to pay for food, entertainment, transportation and all those fun tours.

So I’ve discovered that the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard can be a tool in paying for not only your flights, and hotels but using it to pay for train transportation, car rentals, city tours and more.  You can redeem your points for cash back statement credit, gift cards, and merchandise but the value to the dollar is very poor.  The only way to really maximize the benefits is to charge purchases that are eligible for reimbursement with your points.  Those charges have to be in the following categories: Airlines, Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Travel Agencies, Tour Operators, Cruises, Passenger Railways, and Car Rentals.

So I’m planning for another adventure to Europe this winter and looking to pay for some expenses with my new Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard.  I’ve decided to fully maximize the benefits with a few “creative strategies”.  

First, I’ll be paying my bills, shopping, gas, dining etc. with the card.  You earn 2 points per dollar on everything with no maximums.  Now, that isn’t the “creative” part.  For creative spending I’ve decided to bring my American Express Bluebird card and My Vanilla Debit Card into the equation.  For those of you familiar with the American Express Bluebird and My Vanilla Debit Card continue reading.  If you are not, read more about the Bluebird here and theMy Vanilla Debit card here first.  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

For additional spending I buy Vanilla Reload cards to load into both my American Express Bluebird accounts and My Vanilla Debit Card account.  With the Bluebird card I am limited to loading $10,000 a month ($5,000 per account – one for me & hubby).  But with My Vanilla Debit Card, I’m allowed to load an unlimited amounts of money per month into this account.  You are only allowed a balance of no more than $10,000 but as long as you keep it constantly under that amount you are fine. There is no maximum per month you can load onto this card.  So you can continually earn using this card.  

I purchase $10,000 worth of Vanilla Reload per month and load to both AMEX Bluebird accounts.  Then use the bill pay feature to pay back my credit card charges.  Simple as that!  There are fees associated with buying Vanilla Reloads ($3.95 per $500 load) but this is still cost effective considering you are earning 2 points per dollar.

With the My Vanilla Debit card it’s a little different.  I continually buy Vanilla Reloads and load them to My Vanilla Debit Card.  Then there are many ways to liquidate this cash from your account.  You can either take out cash via ATM withdrawl, cash back at point-of-sale purchases, or a cash advance at your local bank.  I prefer the last option.  You can take up to $2,500 in cash advance on your My Vanilla Debit Card per day.  The fee is $1.95.  You can see all the fees associated with various transactions here.  I feel that the cash advance method is the easiest, quickest and most cost effective way to remove cash from your My Vanilla account.

Here is a little chart with an example of projected earnings with these two products and cost for this strategy.

 Financial Product Month Limit Fees Cost
per $1,000

Points Earned
(2x per $1)
Point Value
(when redeemed for
eligible travel expenses)
Total Cost Total Profit Earned
AMEX Bluebird – Momma $5,000 $3.95
per $500 load
 $7.90 10,000 points  $100.00 $39.50 $60.50
AMEX Bluebird – Hubby $5,000  $3.95
per $500 load 
 $7.90 10,000 points $100.00  $39.50 $60.50 
My Vanilla Debit Card Unlimited $3.95
per $500 load

(Unlimited points)

 $100.00 $39.50  Varies depending
upon liquidation method 

 So I just recently redeemed almost all my 40,000 bonus points earn on the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard to pay the taxes for four (4) economy tickets to Europe.  I booked United discount award tickets for 48,000 miles roundtrip/per person with only $391.60 in taxes which was reimbursed with my points.  So totally FREE flights!  Gotta love it!  Now, I’m using the above strategy to boost up my earnings to pay for some tours and rail transportation.  I’m of course using my other cash back cards (see good options below post) to earn money for food and incidentals.  When I say “FREE TRAVEL“, I’m not kidding around guys.  It’s really totally possible.  You do need to be a die hard crazy mile and point collector but hey the benefits are living your dreams of seeing the world.

Anyway, just wanted to share this strategy with you.  Thought many of you might like to give it a try and boost your earnings as well.  If you don’t have a Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, I would highly recommend it.  As you can see there are some great benefits to this card even after the 40,000 sign up bonus points. 2 points on everything is every sweet!  No categories to worry about.

NOTE:  I forgot to mention, the 10% bonus points you earn when you redeem your points to reimburse your travel expenses is really sweet!  Example, when you redeem 10,000 points you earn instantly back 1,000 points.  Not bad!


Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Apply Now!





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Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card
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$6000 yearly spent per calendar year in bonus categories -Best Buy
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Chase Freedom®
($200 Bonus)
Up to $1,500/quarter spent in bonus categories 
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Amex SimplyCash® Unlimited Year Round
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Chase Ink Bold®
($500 Bonus- no fee 1st year, $95 afterwards)
Up to $50K in purchases Year Round
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Chase Ink Plus®
($500 Bonus- no fee 1st year, $95 afterwards)
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Up to $6K 6% cashback Year Round 6%

Learn about more credit cards with great category spending bonuses here


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