In planning our trip, I was really set on finding a travel rewards credit card. We knew budget-wise we could save enough cash to last us for our 4.5 months in SE Asia, but that paying for flights/incidentals as well might be a crunch. Brandon was able to, I was not. We decided to look for a travel rewards card that could help cover the up front expense and earn us rewards as well.
After doing a lot of research, I applied for the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. I was approved for a credit limit that allowed me to purchase both mine and Brandon's flights.
The benefits of the card that drew me in:
40,000 bonus miles when you spent $3,000 in the first 90 days: We knew we were buying our flights with this card, so this was perfect. Our flights were approx. $1,100 each, so along with a few incidental purchases over two months, I was able to go over the mark fairly easily.
10% Miles back when you redeem for travel statement credits: Basically what this meant for us is that we were able to get a huge statement credit because we used the card for travel purchases. When we met that $3,000 mark, we had over 45,000 miles to redeem, which equaled $450 off of our balance. AND we also got 10% of those miles back! Amazing! (There are other options for redemption, but statement credits definitely give you the most bang for your buck!)
Earn 2X Miles for every dollar spent: Fantastic.
$89 Annual Fee waived for the first year: Awesome.
No foreign transaction fees: Even better.
Other cool benefits: Travel accident & trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and zero liability on unauthorized charges.
Our plan is to continue using the card for our travel expenses (hostels/hotels) and paying it off as we go. I'm going to try and keep a running tab of the rewards from this card. So far it's done pretty well!
I think it's important to also note that credit cards are sneaky little buggers than can make you believe you have more money than you do! Be wise with what you use the card for and set up a reasonable plan to pay it off. Be smart!
SIDENOTE: While I was researching for this post, I came across the fact that the card I have is no longer be available. But a very similar card: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard has the same sign up bonus!