The Barclaycard Dilemma: What Smart People Need to Know About Barclaycard Applications

I don’t think anyone would list Barclaycards as the number one issuer of travel rewards credit cards.  Personally, I think first place would go to Chase and second place to American Express.

For that reason, Barclaycards don’t get a lot of attention.

However, the window of opportunity is closing on a few Barclaycards, so I wanted to help you think about how to time your applications.

Three Best Currently Barclaycard Options

The Premier Miles and More MasterCard

  • Earn 20,000 miles after your first purchase.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on Miles and More integrated airline partner ticket purchases.
  • Earn 1 award mile per $1 in all other purchases.

The card comes with a $79 annual fee that is not waived for the first year.

Application Link: Premier Miles and More MasterCard

What can you do with Miles and More points?

  • economy class trips within the United States are 25,000 miles each
  • One economy class trip to Hawaii  costs 40,000 miles each
  • One economy class trip to Europe is 50,000 miles round trip.  If you fly an airline like United or US Airways, you’ll avoid the fuel surcharge.
  • One way economy class flight from the US to Europe is only 25,000 miles each way (flights from Europe to the US are 30,000 miles each way).  If you use these points to fly there and other points to fly back, it’s hard to beat 25,000 miles each way to Europe.

You can learn more about the card here.

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard

  • 30,000 Bonus miles after your first purchase
  • Annual companion certificate for up to two companion tickets for $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Book Award flights for 5,000 miles less (on US Airways metal)
This card comes with an $89 annual fee that is not waived for the first year.

With the upcoming merger between American Airlines and US Airways, it is likely that this card will simply disappear.  Barclaycards hasn’t announced when/if they will stop issuing US Airways MasterCards, but it will be before March 1st, 2013 when US Airways leaves the Star Alliance.

There is some speculation that the US Airways Arrival card will be replaced by the Arrival card.

Depending on how much you value American Airlines miles as compared to Miles and More, it might be wise to apply for the Premier Miles and More MasterCard prior to the 15th of December and then wait a couple of months and apply for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard before the card is discontinued.

The clock is ticking on this card, but we just don’t know when it will stop being offered.

Arrival World MasterCard

  • 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 2x on all purchases
  • Get a 10% miles back bonus when you redeem points for travel.
The annual fee for this card is $89, but it is waived for the first year.
Application Link: Arrival World MasterCard
Remember, these are not ‘miles’ in the traditional sense.  This is a fixed value credit card where 40,000 miles equals $400 worth of travel credit (or $440 if you use the miles for travel).  Earning 2.2% back (if used for travel) is hard to beat.
My personal plan for this card is to use it to get 100% free travel.  As an example, when you book flights using miles, you typically pay the taxes and fees.  However, if you pay the taxes and fees with this card, you’ll end up paying $0 out of pocket.  That’s hard to beat!
This is my personal favorite of all the current Barclaycard offers. I just got this card last week.  In fact, I’m running the numbers, but I think this will turn into my everyday spending credit card.
The bonus is for a ‘limited time’, but Barclaycards has not indicated when this offer will expire.  As such, it’s hard to time your application with this card.  My guess is that the 40,000 mile bonus hangs around for some time.

 

 

Comments

  1. John H. says

    I just received my Arrival card and can’t see any disadvantages to using it for any & all spending, since I want it for travel.
    Seems to have the best return of all travel cards, or do you see anything I’m missing?

    • says

      John,
      It really depends on your spending/redemption preferences. If you’re looking for the most value/budget vacations this card is hard to beat. However, if you’re looking for aspirational trips then a mileage based credit card would be better suited for your needs.

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