Disclosure: Some posts contain referral links (much love if you use them!). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any entities.
We have been taking a little bit of a break from our “Summer of Renovations” the past week and a half with Sarah’s parents in town. However, any chill time that we got in over the evenings was well-earned because they helped paint all of our doors and trim to go along with some deep cleaning! It was again just a joy to put time and energy (…and to watch them put their time and energy 😉 ) into some of the little things around the house.
For example, the doors in our house all seemed to be a different shade of beige with mismatched yellow doorknobs and yellow-rusty hinges (not rustIC, rustY). And with painting the doors, it seemed like the perfect time to bring all of this random hardware onto the same page with a nice simple black. So next time you stop by, check out our matte black doorknobs (that all match) and our sweet $.99 matte black hinges (thanks eBay).
Barclay Arrival Card
Anyway, today I’m going to give a quick run-down on one of my favorite travel cards: Barclay’s Arrival credit card. There are a couple different variations of Barclay’s Arrival product and all have some different perks. They can essentially be boiled down to different amounts of bonus points for different levels of minimum spend.
This card has hung out in my wallet on and off for probably about 4 years. There are a bunch of benefits that come pretty standard with any premier travel card and with a sometimes-waived annual fee, this is a solid card.
I just want to highlight one perk about this card that has made it a constant for me. All the points that are accrued (like the 50k bonus points worth up to $500 in travel) are redeemable against purchases made that have been classified as “travel”. You might read that and think “Yeah, what’s the big deal”, but the gist of it is this – my go-to use for all of these points is redeeming them against Airbnb stays.
This = free Airbnb, which is one of the slightly more difficult travel hacking mediums because it doesn’t have its own credit card or belong to any group of hotels. You also can’t book Airbnb’s using credit card’s rewards portals. I use the Arrival card and the Capital One Venture card to cruise to some free Airbnb, which can help offset accommodations, one of the most expensive pieces of travel. Airbnb’s tend to be lower price, so combining them with points from “flex cards” can make your trip just a liiiitle bit longer or cheaper!
It’s worth noting that this doesn’t work with just Airbnb – any purchase that qualifies as travel will make the cut. For example, Chase defines travel as:
Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.
This is a pretty broad definition, and even within it, there is some potential wiggle room! I have a friend who is utilizing a discount travel site to buy Disney tickets. Buying them through a travel site classifies them as a travel purchase, allowing them to redeem points against those tickets to get them for free. So as you can see, there is plenty of room to make that travel designation happen for you.
The Simple Summary
Flex cards + Airbnb (or Disney tickets) = free travel.