Does Barclaycard Carnival credit card have the best sign-up bonus?

An update:  for the most current deals, look in my “Best credit card deals for family” page.

The answer is NO, no it does not. And if you just read a blog promoting it as such, don’t go back there again. EVER.  Anyway, I did a post on top card picks for family, mainly for the bonus, back in July. But a lot has changed since than. Some bonuses are no longer available. Also it looks like the merger between US Airways and American Airlines is far from being a sure thing at this point. So it seems like a good time to do an update:

First I have decided to take US Airways credit card off the list for now. It looks like this whole merger debacle should buy you some time. You can apply if you want, look at my post on July 30th. But I don’t think it’s an urgent matter at this point, like I thought it was. Barclay’s has been stingy with approvals lately so this card could potentially cost you my second choice  on the list. But I do suggest you look at that post,  just to make sure.

The assumption with this particular selection is, that you will get other cards at some point in the future. So here are my top 3 picks for family right now, in the order of priority. I always focus on limited time offers first, so that influenced this particular recommendation. I  would argue, that this is a good list for single travelers to consider as well :

1) CITI American Airlines credit card with 50000 miles bonus after 3000 dollars in spending in 3 months, 1st year annual fee waived. I wrote about this card a couple of times last week. I honestly think this is the best offer on the market right now. I really love AAdvantage miles for many reasons. For one thing, the award chart does allow 1 way ticket redemptions, so a family of 4 could potentially fly all the way to Alaska from just one bonus. This offer gives me no commission and could go away at any point : LINK

2) Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases with  bonus of 40000 points after 3000 dollars in purchases in 3 months, first year annual fee waived. 40000 points are good for 400 dollars in cash back for travel related purchases like airfare, hotels and car rentals.  It also gives 10 percent rebate on the points, you redeem. This is a limited time offer and also could go away at any time. The points are great, because you can redeem for any travel expense  including cruise, and not have to worry about award availability.

I think this is an attractive offer and a good card for earning cash back as well. That’s because it gives 2 points per dollar in rebate toward travel purchases, an equivalent of  2 cents , and even more with the rebate. But I would cancel before the renewal to avoid paying an annual fee, because it’s not worth it for an average family, like mine. More on that later.

3)  This is actually a toss up. The first choice is  Amex SPG credit card with 30000  sign-up bonus in points. The second is Amex Delta credit card, that gives 45000 miles. Both require 5000 dollars in spending in the first 6 months, in order to get the full bonus. I wrote a post on Delta card on August 15th, if you want the full analysis . Basically I said that the miles are worth around 360 dollars toward low and mid-range  hotels, but can potentially be worth 450 dollars toward Delta tickets. Since I value SPG point at 1.3 cents each (see my post on August 16th), that particular bonus is worth 390 dollars to me.

So it really depends on your situation. If you live near Delta hub (I don’t) and can utilize their miles for a family vacation, it’s probably best to go with Amex Delta card. I personally will  be applying for Amex SPG, because I would like more AAdvantage miles. I can only do one of these cards, based on our spending level.  And I already got the other offers listed. But this is a tough one. Hopefully Delta offer will come back in the future, so I can take advantage of it as well.

So, which offer to pick? In my opinion and it’s only that, an opinion, you should get CITI AAdvantage card, if only going with one. You can read my August 14th post for more on that matter.This is the best deal currently IMHO. If you think you can do 2 cards, I would include B Arrival card.  You would have to spend 4000 dollars in 3 months  in order to get both bonuses. It would be doable for a family like mine, but not for some.  Also I recommend you apply for Arrival card first, since Barclay’s bank does not like to see many recent applications.  Be aware, that Arrival does pay me commission, while CITI AA card does not, if you are approved.

If you think, it would be too much stress on you, than just get AA card and don’t worry about it. You can always get another card later and chances are Arrival’s bonus will stay at the current level for some time. These views are very subjective. I don’t claim to be a financial expert or guru of any kind. If anyone wants to chime in with more details, please do. I would love to hear from you!

Feel free to email me with additional questions. Also, if this is your first rodeo, click on this link to find out about dangers of applying for credit cards.  LINK

2 thoughts on “Does Barclaycard Carnival credit card have the best sign-up bonus?

  1. This is a great honest review. Before geeting a card, we should double check if it’s beneficial for us specially in the long run.


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