These days, there are lots of great communities to be found online where like-minded people can gather to exchange ideas, share experiences, ask questions and get great advice from others, especially in the travel sphere. But not many communities that I can think of actually offer tangible rewards for being a member. This makes the Barclays travel community both a useful and exciting new platform for users. By joining in, you can earn Participation Miles, which can be redeemed for cool stuff. We checked in with Jen Hitchens, Assistant Vice President, Social Media and Community and Kati Driscoll, Travel Community Manager from Barclays to learn more.
Do you have to be a Barclays card holder to be a member of the travel community?
KD: You don’t have to be Barclay’s cardmember to be a member of our travel community. Anyone can create a profile and use the site to help them research travel destinations.
Is it a better experience if you’re a Barclays card holder? Are there card holder benefits or is the community open to everyone?
KD: Barclays Arrival cardmembers receive the greatest benefit from joining the community. If you’re a Barclays Arrival cardmember, once you register and link your account, you can earn Participation Miles by creating your Travel Profile and posting Travel Stories in the community. The miles will be shown as “Participation Miles” on the monthly billing statement.
Registered community members who are not Barclays Arrival cardmembers will automatically be sent a $5 Amazon e-certificate every time they earn 2,500 Participation Miles. The e-certificates can only be used within the United States.
What are the benefits to being a member of the travel community?
KD: In addition to the opportunity to earn Amazon e-certificates or Participation Miles, members can browse travel stories, ask questions and share their experiences in our Discussion Forum. Members can also be inspired by our latest travel blogs, or view some of our favorite Travel Stories in the “Best of Barclays Travel” feature section. We also offer “Best of” challenges for members with some of the best Travel Stories for a particular theme. For example, past contest prizes have included a $2,500 Carnival Cruise voucher and 10,000 Participation Miles.
JH: Being part of the Travel Community provides a great forum for members to ask questions like where are the best places to visit locally or what time of the year is best to visit a particular place. We also have a lot of questions about where’s the best place to honeymoon.
Any tips for first-time posters?
KD: Include a lot of details and use only your best photos! These are the posts that typically get the most kudos from our community and are what the Community Managers look for when selecting content for our “Best of” categories.
JH: Posting a Travel Story is a lot like walking down memory lane and documenting the highlights of your trip. Stories that have colorful, interesting photos with a nice narrative and lots of details included in the Google maps are terrific resources for other community members.
How many members does the community currently have?
KD: At this moment we have nearly 120,000 community members!
How does this community differ from other online travel communities?
KD: The first thing that comes to mind is the opportunity to earn rewards, which is something not many travel communities offer and is definitely unique to the credit card space. Most valuable to some of our bigger contributors is that we’re a small, but growing, online community, which allows community members with a wealth of travel knowledge the ability to shine.
How do you earn Participation Miles?
KD: There are a number of different ways to earn Participation Miles – from completing your profile (500 Participation Miles) to writing a Travel Story (150 Participation Miles). Members can also earn Participation Miles when someone likes their story and gives them a “kudo” (10 Participation Miles).
How do you redeem Participation Miles?
KD: If you are a Barclays Arrival cardmember, Participation Miles are just like the miles cardmembers earn through using their card and will be added to your Barclays Arrival account once per month. These miles can be redeemed for travel and cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise.
For community members who do not have a Barclays Arrival account linked to the community, Amazon e-certificates will be sent out monthly in the amount of $5 every time they earn 2,500 miles. The e-certificates can only be used within the United States.
What would you say is the coolest thing you can redeem your Participation Miles for?
KD: I don’t think that anyone would be in disagreement when I say that travel statement credit redemptions for the Barclays Arrival card offers the best value! Travel statement credit redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward any travel purchase within the last 120 days.
The community is a joke. Once you start earning a large amount of points they ban. It has happened to several people I know. They use it as a perk of the card to sucker you in but once you start using it they remove it.