As I’ve mentioned few weeks ago, Barclaycard is on a roll lately when it comes to great offers. It has basically become a poor man’s Chase. Or Chase has become a rich man’s Barclaycard, meaning you can’t get their product even if you have good credit and decent income. I don’t know, I’m all confused now.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Anyway, there are at least five decent Barclaycard offers floating around. Which one should you start out with if you just found The Hobby? As of now, Barclaycard bonuses are churnable, meaning you can get them again repeatedly. That said, this particular bank is very smart when it comes to hobbyists and their evil plot to take over the world.
So you do need to be selective and try to pick the very best offers which happen to suit your current needs. After all, we don’t know if at any given moment Barclaycard will implement Amex “once per lifetime” rule or Chase draconian measures of tracking all of your credit card applications.
With that, here are Barclaycard offers where IMO the juice is worth the squeeze:
1) Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Why? The sign-up bonus is 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in 90 days, first year annual fee is waived. Those 40,000 points are good for $400 off travel-related purchases like airfare, cruise, hotels and car rentals. The card also gives a 5 percent rebate on the points you redeem. Even if you disregard the rebate, this is a terrific offer, not to mention, as simple as it gets.
As long as your travel purchase is coded as “travel” and it’s at least $100, you can use points to offset it. It doesn’t get much easier than that! There is even a way to get a rebate on Disney tickets, as long as you purchase them through this page on Orbitz. This card pays me commission, and you can read about it here
2) The Jet Blue Plus card
This is a new product, and can be compelling for some families. You get 30,000 points, good for approximately $450 in airfare on Jet Blue, depending on the route. You only have to spend $1,000 in 3 months in order to get the bonus, a very low threshold. The annual fee of $99 is not waived. So, the bonus is worth between $300 and $400.
You can see the map of Jet Blue coverage on this page I love the fact that you don’t have to worry about seat availability, something that very often stumbles families who have very little flexibility. It rhymes!
There are some other perks that come with this offer, like free checked bags on flights purchased with the card and 10% rebate on points. These might be worth a lot or hardly anything, it just depends on your situation. Overall, this is a very strong product for those who can utilize Jet Blue network. I’ve listed the offer in my secondary list of bonuses, but maybe I should move it to the main page. Especially now that it pays me commission. Kidding! But not about commission, because it really does pay me.
3) The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard
Here are some details on the card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases in the first 90 days. It comes with $69 annual fee, not waived. That’s enough for four one-way tickets within lower 48 States.
Availability can be spotty on some routes, but with some flexibility, you should be able to redeem the miles. Here is the map of Frontier coverage If you live near Denver (main hub) or fly there often, you should definitely consider this offer.
Frontier is a low-cost airline, similar to Spirit, so expect to be nickeled and dimed on everything. Do your research ahead of time, and you’ll be fine. You can potentially fly from Seattle all the way to Miami for just 10,000 miles, which is a great deal. This card pays me no commission. Link to apply
Update: see comment from Erik on additional flavors of this sign-up bonus.
4) Barclaycard Lufthansa Miles and More
This was a bit of a tough pick, but potential value is definitely there. First, be aware of very high minimum spending requirements. You earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee, then an additional 30,000 award miles after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. Obviously, you want to make sure to get the full bonus, so only sign up if you can comfortably spend $5,000 in 3 months.
Lufthansa miles can be redeemed for flights on United Airlines without fuel surcharges. It costs 12,000 miles one-way to fly within Continental USA, including Alaska. Since United Airlines has terrific coverage, almost any family should be able to utilize this bonus. Well, if you can find “saver” availability on United.com, that is. Those are the only seats bookable via Lufthansa Miles and More program.
I recommend you don’t sign up for this bonus if you plan on flying around holidays. You also don’t want this card for flights to Europe on Lufthansa because fuel surcharges will kill the deal. Here is a non-affiliate application link
5) Wyndham Visa Signature card
You get 45,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. Annual fee of $69 is not waived. I’ve written about some beachfront hotels in Florida where you can get a room for only 15,000 points.
There are many other properties that will give you a big bang for your buck. It’s very hard to quantify the value of this sign-up bonus, but if you would otherwise pay a $123 per night (tax included) for a beachfront hotel during Spring Break, it’s worth at least $300 once you deduct the annual fee. Here is a non-affiliate link
Update: See comment from Seth on Choice credit card offer. Here is a non-affiliate link if you choose to apply.
Which offer is “the one”?
It really depends on your unique situation as well as goals. If you simply want cash-back bonus so you can offset your out-of-pocket travel costs, obviously, go with Arrival Plus. For someone who lives near Jet Blue hub and plans to redeem points for flights to Caribbean, Jet Blue offer may be the winner.
If you are new to this hobby, you should know that flexibility will be your best friend when it comes to traditional miles in programs like Frontier and Lufthansa. If you don’t have it, then this type of bonuses probably won’t help you a whole lot.
So it might be best to focus on cash back and airline currency with assigned value. For what it’s worth, I got Arrival Plus and Wyndham offers, and at some point plan to sign up for Jet Blue credit card.
What if you are not sure? All cards look good. Personally, I would start with Wyndham offer. The zombie link I’ve mentioned may be gone tomorrow. The official offer on this card is only 30,000 points, so I’d hate for you to miss out on 15,000 points. Additionally, I have a strong feeling that this program will undergo negative changes within the next few years.
I suspect there will be more blackout dates, and I already see it happening on some properties. Definitely have a Plan B in place if you decide to get this card. Wyndham is the next Club Carlson, mark my words. So you might as well get Wyndham points while they are still worth a good bit.
Of course, not everyone wants or needs hotel points. It’s a very fickle currency which can devalue significantly within a year. Additionally, for a family vacation, rentals are usually the way to go. Still, if you just want a short beach getaway or need a couple of nights in expensive city like New York, these points can come in really handy. Like I said, the offer doesn’t pay me anything, so I have zero incentive in promoting it.
Readers, which Barclaycard will be your next victim?
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