May 14th, 2014
Update: The Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard is being rebranded as Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Mastercard. It will now come with Chip & Pin technology to allow you to use your card more easily when abroad and you’ll now have 120 days to claim a refund with your points for any travel related purchase. There are also more 2.2% redemption categories that have been added and I’ve updated the redemption section below with that info. Current cardholders can request the new card version online or over the phone.
It’s probably the best card out there for people who redeem for round-trip coach tickets in advance.
Originally posted on 04/30:
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.
Additionally Barclays is very good about waiving the annual fee on cards like Lufthansa and Arrival. Just ask for an account specialist.
If you are denied you can call reconsideration at 866-408-4064.
The 3 best Barclays Bank cards today are the:
-Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
-Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®
-The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
-The US Airways Premier World MasterCard offers 40,000 signup miles for spending $1.
There is an $89 annual fee. This card will soon be discontinued as part of the American merger.
USAirways has a very generous award chart:
-Domestic awards on USAirways flights are just 20,000 miles round-trip for cardholders thanks to the 5,000 mile discount.
-Off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean for cardholders are just 20,000 miles and to Europe or South America are just 30,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways. Off peak First Class/Envoy awards to the Carribean are just 45,000 miles and to South America are just 55,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways.
-Lie-flat first class seat at American’s new A321T aircraft flying between JFK and Los Angeles or S. Francisco is just 50,000 miles round-trip with USAirways miles! These are personal seats in a 1-1 configuration with nobody sitting next to you at all! You would need 65K American miles or 75K BA miles for the same seat.
-120,000 miles to Asia in First Class on a world-class airline like Cathay Pacific or 110,000 miles in business class or 140,000 miles in first class to Australia. Plus you can get a free stopover along the way!
-Round-trip coach to Israel is 80K, business to Israel is 120K, and first class to Israel is 180K. With the card USAirways flights to Israel are 75K in coach and 115K in business.
The merged AA/USAirways will only have Citibank issuing cards, so the Barclays version of the card will only be available for a limited time. However even after the programs are combined the Barclays version will still earn AA miles, it just won’t be available for new applications.
Like with all Barclays cards, you can earn the bonus again even if you’ve had it in the past.
Currently USAirways doesn’t even collect a fuel surcharge for travel on British Airways, though it’s unknown how long that will stick around for.
By having the card you get:
-5,000 miles off USAirways flights.
-1 free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions.
-An annual lounge pass.
-An annual companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
-Priority boarding on US Airways operated flights so you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-Checkin at the first class counter with shorter lines.
-10,000 elite miles for spending $25,000 per year.
The card has no foreign exchange fees.
Lufthansa miles have a few sweet uses:
3 one-way domestic first class flights on United:
You can fly on Star Alliance partner United in domestic first class for just 17,000 miles each way with no fuel surcharges. All United flights between JFK and Los Angeles or S. Francisco and several flights from Newark have lie-flat seats in business class. Plus you can still order hot kosher meals between JFK and Los Angeles or S. Francisco in business class. 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.
4 one-way coach tickets:
A one-way coach ticket within the US on United will run 12,000 miles.
Business class to Europe:
Business class to Europe is 52,000 miles each way and there are no fuel surcharges on Lot Polish which flies 787s with an excellent lie-flat business class to Warsaw. (Note that United.com can’t search for LOT Polish flights if you use that to search for Star Alliance awards).
Availability is excellent.
Business class to Hawaii (including lie-flat seats on flights from Houston and Newark) is just 35,000 miles each way when booked with Lufthansa miles flying on United with no fuel surcharges. That’s a 10,000 mile savings on a round-trip flight compared to using United miles.
Coach is 20K miles each way, a 5,000 mile savings on a round-trip flight compared to using United miles.
Israel based account:
If your Lufthansa account is registered with an Israeli address then you can book tickets from Israel using the much cheaper Europe award rates. A flight from Israel to the US will be prices like a flight from Europe to the US.
Lufthansa First Class has significantly better availability when booked with Miles & More as opposed to programs like United.
There is also much better availability on other airlines like Singapore’s top-notch business class when booked via Miles & More as opposed to programs like United.
Barclays cards can be churned, so you can always start saving up for a dream trip.
-The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Mastercard offers 40,000 points for spending $3,000 within 90 days.
At 2.2 percent it’s one of the best cashback cards out there and it offers a nice signup bonus unlike the other cashback cards.
The $89 annual fee is waived for the first year and people have had success getting it waived in successive years as well just for the asking.
For advance purchase round-trip coach tickets to Israel for example, you’ll probably be far better off with this card than with real miles.
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, Buses, Campgrounds, Cruises, Ferries, Hotels, Motels, Passenger Railways, Rental Cars, Resorts, Steamships, Subways, Taxis, Timeshares, Tourist Attractions and Exhibits, Trailer Parks, and Travel 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. You have 120 days after purchasing travel to claim a refund for it with your points.
2.2% cash back on all of your spending is excellent, but still I personally prefer real airline miles over bank miles due to their versatility. However this card is probably the best you’ll get for bank miles and it can definitely make sense for people who don’t travel or who redeem for coach tickets that are purchased in advance.
Don’t travel? You are able to book a refundable travel itinerary to get your points converted to 2.2% cashback without actually needing to travel. After redeeming to cash out the points you can refund the itinerary and liquidate all of your points into cash.
You’ll also get a free TripIt Pro subscription just for being a cardholder, a $49 annual value.
-The no annual fee version of the BarclayCard Arrival World Mastercard also has no foreign transaction fees which is great for a fee-free card. It has a 20,000 point signup bonus that will also receive a 10% point refund with every redemption. But it only earns double points on travel and dining purchases.