It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. I’ve been steadily earning $300 in travel rewards every two weeks by purchasing American Express gift cards via the Barclay Rewardsboost portal. Over the course of a year, this will result in $7,200 in travel credits that I can use to off-set hotel expenses when they make sense, on-site dining/spa charges, airline taxes/fees, to name a few.
Update: In early June, Barclay Rewardsboost stopped listing American Express gift cards as a participating merchant.
Some of these points were put to great use last week, when my parents and a few relatives went off to Southern California for a few days. At some point, it was decided they’d stop at a Residence Inn for two nights, where a standard redemption was 25,000 points per night. Two rooms would require 50,000 points. However, for $240 per night they could book a 2-bedroom suite instead. I had them charge the stay to my brother’s Arrival card, since he is just swimming in those points thanks to a little manufactured spending on my part. All it took was 43,200 Arrival miles (after getting 10% of the miles back). The stay earned me 2,000 points since I referred my dad to Marriott a while back and he earned 4,190 points (2,190 base points + 2,000 bonus as part of the referral promotion).
Next, they headed to a Courtyard Marriott where award redemptions were 15,000 points per night, while paid rates with breakfast included were just $144 per night (including taxes). Considering I earned another 2,000 points from this stay and they pocketed 4,880 points, it turned out pretty well. Plus, now that they’ve completed two stays, they’re eligible for double points on upcoming stays thanks to Marriott’s Getaway Bonus promotion.
To recap, here are the savings:
- $768 in hotel stays wiped out with 69,120 Arrival miles (factoring in 10% of the miles that were redeposited). This saved us from having to spend 80,000 Marriott Rewards points (which we would have transferred from Ultimate Rewards),
- 4,000 Marriott points for me, after I referred my dad to the program and he completed two stays.
- 9,070 Marriott points earned by my dad at a rate of 5 points per $1 for the Residence Inn stay, 10 points per $1 at the Courtyard Marriott, and 2,000 points per stay for participating in the referral promotion.
- Total points earned: 13,070 Marriott points
- Total spent: 69,120 Arrival miles
- Total saved: $768 cash or 80,000 Marriott Rewards (aka Ultimate Rewards) points.
As you can see, the Arrival miles really came in handy here and not only saved us points and cash, but earned a decent amount of points and made my dad eligible for bonus point earnings on future stays. They could have saved another 3% by booking the stays through a cash back portal, but they were booked on a whim and we still managed to do pretty well.
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