Barclaycard Arrival Cash Back Trick on Refundable Bookings

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I’ve wrote a couple times that the Barclaycard Arrival is one of the best cards for everyday non-category bonus spending, for things like your utility bills and anything you can’t get 2X, 3X, or 5X on.  A comment I’ve heard brought up is that the Fidelity AMEX 2% cash back credit card is better and more flexible for cash back lovers.  I disagree because the Barclaycard Arrival has a 40,000 point sign up bonus, has flexibility of not being an AMEX, and has this cash back trick on refundable bookings that I will explain.

I wanted to know for sure, “What happens when you redeem your Barclaycard points for a refundable hotel and cancel your booking?”  I accidentally found out the answer a week ago when I had to cancel a refundable hotel booking that I redeemed my Barclaycard points on.  Here is the timeline of events:

  • 8/5/13: Booked a refundable hotel room for 2 nights in Kyoto on  The total cost was $222.34 and had to be prepaid. Booking on My Barclaycard Arrival Booking on My Barclaycard Arrival

  • 11/2/13: Applied 22,300 Barclaycard Arrival points to cancel out the charge on my statement. You are allowed 90 days to apply your points to your travel expense, so I waited almost 90 days.
    Redeemed Barclaycard Points for Credit on Travel

    Redeemed Barclaycard Points for Credit on Travel


    Travel Credit Posted to My Account

  • 12/5/13: I canceled my booking on because I decided on a different hotel.
  • 12/9/13: I received a refund of $222.34 and lost 444 points, which is the 2X points I received originally.  I did not receive any Barclaycard points back.  barclaycard-arrival-refund

As you can see above, I received the full refund of $222.34 on my booking and my travel credit of $222.34 previously.  In essence, I received cash back at a rate of 100 points to $1 ratio for my Barclaycard points.  I was refunded cash instead of the points I originally used.  Normally, Barclaycard allows you to redeem your Barclaycard points at half the price.  Using this Barclaycard Arrival cash back trick on refundable bookings, you can redeem your Barclaycard points for a straight cash back.

I personally would not do this cash back trick because I have a lot more travel expenses than I have points available.  However, for the cash back lover who does not travel often, this trick could be a profitable option like buying AMEX gift cards with this credit card and liquidating it via Amazon Payments.

Using this cash back trick, I can confidently say that the Barclaycard Arrival is the best cash back credit card giving a 2.22% cash back on ALL purchases.  

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15 comments for “Barclaycard Arrival Cash Back Trick on Refundable Bookings

  1. Devon
    December 18, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Would you have received 2,200 points back had you kept the booking? So you can get cash but you’re losing some spend ability if you don’t use all your points for travel

    • December 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Not sure I understand your question, sorry. I only earned 444 points from the booking at 2X per $ spent.

      • Devon
        December 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        The card touts this “Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)”. So had you not canceled the hotel they would have eventually credited you back 2200 pts. You get more value from using the pts for travel than you would using this method to get cash back

        • December 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm

          Oh sorry, I got confused earlier. I did get 2,300 points from the 10% rebate. They still haven’t taken that away yet, but I assume they will. Maybe they won’t? Regardless I won’t be intentionally doing this cash back trick. I have plenty of travel expenses. Trying to get enough points for an Air Tahiti interisland flight!

  2. Brian
    December 18, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Nice work killing this you moron

    • December 18, 2013 at 11:00 am

      hahahahahahahahaah #amused

      Nice post Rom!!

      • December 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Thanks, just sharing with my readers and trying to provide useful content!

  3. December 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Nice post dude. Doing this intentionally crosses the line for me. It is good to know what’s possible though.

  4. Jason
    December 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Fidelity Amex offers a 2% back card with no annual fee. You’d have to spend a whole lot on the card to break even and justify the $89 annual fee. What are your thoughts, Rom? Do you intend to spend over $40050 a year on the Arrival Card?

    • December 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Good observation. I’ll definitely call for retention bonus. Depending on what they give me I may keep or cancel

  5. Mtek
    June 9, 2014 at 11:17 am

    This scenario also happened when I was billed for the free “Tripit” App. Was able to use rewards to pay it and then credited back cash from Barclays

  6. Brian
    January 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Does this trick still work?

  7. Que
    October 13, 2017 at 2:42 am

    Hi Rom, how did you get cash back? Did it directly transfer to your bank account?

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