Barclays bank has several great credit card offers. Best of all they typically pull from your Transunion credit report. Most banks pull from Experian though this does vary by state. If you are NJ or NY based you shouldn’t have almost any credit pulls on your Transunion report if you don’t have Barclays bank cards.
I have done successful 4BMs with Barclays in the past. If you are denied you can call reconsideration at 866-408-4064.
The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard offers 20K miles for spending $1 and another 30K miles for spending $5,000 within 3 months. This means you’ll have 55,000 miles after meeting the spend threshold.
Lufthansa miles have a few sweet uses. You can fly on Star Alliance partner United in domestic first class (on 2 class planes) or domestic business class (on 3 class planes) for just 17,000 miles each way with no fuel surcharges. United flies several planes a day between JFK or Newark and Los Angeles or S. Francisco that have lie-flat seats in business class. Plus you can still order hot kosher meals on these routes. United charges 25,000 of their own miles each way for these seats, so you’ll save 8,000 miles each way via Lufthansa.
Remember to book one-way flights as a round-trip business class is 35,000 but they charge half the price and round down for one-way so it’s only 17,000 each way.
You can also always transfer 20,000 Starwood points into 25,000 Lufthansa miles if you need more miles.
Domestic first class on a 3 class plane is 50,000 miles round-trip though United’s 3 class first class on the JFK to Los Angeles or S. Francisco routes are being phased out. United charges 70,000 of their own miles round-trip for these seats, so you’ll save 20,000 miles via Lufthansa.
A one-way coach ticket in the US will run 12,000 miles.
Business class to Europe is 52,000 miles each way and there are no fuel surcharges on USAirways (which has a very nice Envoy Suite in business) and Lot Polish (which flies 787s with an excellent business class to Warsaw.)
Coach to Israel is 40K each way and business class is 67K each way, again with no fuel surcharges nonstop on USAirways from Philadelphia.
The only current way to book Swiss First Class is with Miles & More. I flew it a few years ago when it was still bookable with partner miles and it was fantastic. However it’s quite pricey now at 85,000 miles plus fuel surcharges each way.
Barclays cards can be churned though, so you can always start saving up.
The Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard Linky offers 40,000 points for spending $1,000 within 90 days.
It’s one of the best cashback cards out there and it offers a nice signup bonus unlike the other cashback cards.
The card gives 2 “miles” for every dollar you spend plus a 10% refund when you redeem miles so that you effectively earn 2.2 “miles” per dollar spent. The 10% refund means that the 40,000 points signup bonus is really 44,000 points as you’ll get 4,000 of those points back after you redeem the points for a cash refund. Of course when you redeem those 4,000 points you’ll also get a 400 point refund, etc. The 10% refund posts within 1-2 weeks of making a redemption.
Miles is a misnomer, really they just mean cents with each mile being worth 1 cent. The way it works is you book travel via any booking site and then you can just go online to your Barclays account and request that the purchase be refunded using your points. You can refund any purchase that is categorized as “Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies.”
So if you spend $420 on a plane ticket and have 42,000 points from opening the card and spending $1,000 you’ll be able to get a $420 cash refund.
2.2% cash back on all of your spending is excellent, but still I personally prefer real airline miles over bank miles. However this card is probably the best you’ll get for bank miles and can make sense for some depending on what kind of travel you book.
The no annual fee version of the card also has no foreign transaction fees. It only has a 20,000 point signup bonus though that also will receive a 10% point refund with every redemption.
People have been able to book a refundable travel itinerary to get their points converted to cash without actually traveling.
My affiliate link for the USAirways card offer 30,000 miles for spending $1 though this link (which I have not tested but others have) should give 35,000 miles.
With USAirways merging with American these will soon be converted over to American miles. In the meantime there are several sweet spots on the USAirways award chart like off-peak awards and on the Star Alliance award chart like 90,000 miles in business for a round-trip to Asia or 110,000 miles in business for a round-trip to Australia.
-The Virgin America card only offers 10,000 points for spending $1.
Now 10K signup miles typically isn’t even a good offer, but their award chart is interesting. You can fly coach on Singapore from JFK to Frankfurt for just 20,000 miles round-trip or to Asia for just 35,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. Other airlines charge double or triple that.
I flew Singapore in coach (as well as in their awesome business and suites class products) and it’s fantastic, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Coach passengers get amenity kits, free drinks, fantastic kosher meals (the best I ever had on a plane), and kids even get free toys! Service was awesome and much better than what I’ve had in business class on domestic carriers. Of course it helped that I grabbed an empty row of 4 seats all to myself!
You can also fly from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, S. Diego, S. Francisco, S. Jose, Sacramento, Seattle, Phoenix, or Portland to Kailua-Kona on partner airline Hawaiian for just 15,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. Once on the awesome Big Island of Hawaii you can see an active volcano erupting or drive up Mauna Kea to see one of the most stunning sunsets and clear starry night skies that you’ll ever experience. Spend $5K on the card and the round-trip will be free.