Barclays may be a London-based bank, but they’re hungry for the US market, too.
Since acquiring Juniper credit cards in 2004, they’ve had a presence in the US. But over the past year or two, they have really been ramping things up.
In addition to bolstering advertising of their co-branded US Airways MasterCard, they’ve launched several of their own cards.
Here’s a review of the best Barclays credit cards for 2014…
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
This is by far the best of the bunch. It has a lucrative travel rewards program that was made to compete against the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Here is what the Arrival can offer you…
- Bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
- You get 2x miles on all purchases. The Sapphire Preferred only gives 2x points on travel on dining, while everything else earns only 1x. Meanwhile with this Barclays MasterCard you’re going to get 2x on everything. Since each mile = 1 cent towards travel, you’re essentially earning 2% rebate on your spending.
- You get 10% of your miles back during redemption. For example, if you were to cash out 40,000 miles, you would get back 4,000 of them. The net result? That’s like earning a total of 2.2% on your spending!
- You can use the miles to pay for any travel expense charged to the card, whether that’s airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. You simply request a statement credit for those expenses using your miles.
- Free FICO score every month. As a cardmember, your online account displays your real FICO (the real thing, not a FAKO).
- The annual fee is $89 (waived for the first year). That’s slightly lower than what the Sapphire Preferred charges.
US Airways Premier World MasterCard
This is the second most popular MasterCard from Barclays. Since US Airways is the smallest of the major airlines, you don’t see it advertised as much as others like the Delta SkyMiles.
- You earn 2 miles per dollar on US Airways purchases. All other purchases are 1 mile per dollar.
- One of the most popular benefits is the companion airfare certificate you get for having the card. You get this not just for one, but two companions. Their airfare is only $99 each (plus taxes/fees) with the purchase of normal priced tickets. For example if you’re a family of 4, you could buy 2 regularly priced tickets and then use certificates to get 2 seats for your kids at $99 a piece.
- When flying on US Airways, cardholders get to check in at the first-class counter and board the plane early during Zone 2 boarding.
There is one drawback to be aware of with all of these cards – they have relatively high interest rates. Really you should only apply for them if you’re the type of person who pays their bill in full. If not, a Barclays credit card won’t be the best choice for you.
This post was written or last updated May 15, 2014