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 Agoda.com. The total cost was $222.34 and had to be prepaid.
- 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.
- 12/5/13: I canceled my booking on Agoda.com 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.
As you can see above, I received the full refund of $222.34 on my Agoda.com 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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