Barclays may be a London-based bank, but they’re hungry for the US market, too.
Since acquiring Juniper credit cards in 2004, Barclays has had a presence in the US. But over the past year or two, they have really been accelerating their marketing efforts
In addition to bolstering advertising of their co-branded US Airways MasterCard, Barclaycard has launched several of their own bank-branded credit 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 very rich and highly regarded 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 Barclaycard MasterCard you will earn 2x miles on purchases. 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 the equivalent to earning a full 2.2% on your spending! It doesn’t get much better than that.
- Earned “miles” can be redeemed for travel statement credits – redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days. You can apply miles towards any travel expense charged to the card, regardless of whether it’s airfare, hotel stays, 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 membership fee is $89 (but is waived for the first year). That’s slightly lower than what the Sapphire Preferred annual fee, which is $95.
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 October 8, 2014