With all the recent hoopla surrounding the merger between American Airlines and US Airways, many people are jumping on the Barclays US Airways MasterCard to get as many US Airways miles (and thus future American Airlines miles) as possible before the merger is complete.
However, don’t forget that you can apply for multiple Barclays cards in one day and end up with only one credit inquiry. I recently helped a relative apply for multiple Barclays cards in one day, and they ended up getting 3 approved before the 4th was held as pending. A few days later, only one Barclays credit pull appeared according to Transunion. In fact, Rapid Travel Chai had already posted his findings on the subject, getting approved for 4 before his 5th came back as “pending.” If you end up applying for multiple Barclays cards in one session, consider sending one link click his way.
I haven’t had the US Airways Mastercard in a while, so I am due for an application. I have been approved immediately for all Barclay cards I have been approved for, so when I apply, I figure I will apply for a number of cards until Barclays says “no more.” My scheduled set of applications is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’m hoping for good results. I don’t recommend this for everyone, since you still have to feel comfortable taking on so much credit. However, for those of us who have been in the game for a while, getting a few cards in one shot is worth the small effort.
Since Barclays cards are not frequently discussed in the travel credit card world, I thought I’d list a few that catch my eye. Keep in mind that any card that earns us a commission will have an “affiliate link” label next to it. Some links down below go to past posts that discuss that card more in-depth. If you apply for a card through our affiliate link, you should know we earn a referral credit. As always, your support is appreciated.
Barclays US Airways MasterCard
I actually do not recommend our affiliate link for this, as it still requires an $89 annual fee to be paid. However, kdoughboy on FlyerTalk posts some links that earn 35,000 miles on first purchase without an annual fee, as well as the 10,000 miles anniversary bonus. I don’t know how long those links will stay alive. If those links no longer work, I would apply through your second favorite blog’s link, as our link offers fewer miles.
This is a dark horse card that I’m surprised doesn’t get more airtime. I’ve talked about the reasons to have a backup cash-back card for most people, when you just want to get 2+% cash back rather than 1 mile per dollar spent.
What I didn’t realize is that the Barclaycard Arrival Mastercard is EVEN BETTER than a simple 2% cash back card. The signup bonus is 20,000 points for $1000 spend in the first 90 days. This bonus is good enough for a $200 statement credit toward any travel-related expense. (UPDATE April 3, 2013: the signup bonus is currently 40,000 points, good toward a $400 credit!).
Every purchase gives you 2x points, which is the equivalent of 2% cash back, and the card has no foreign transaction fee. What’s even better is that when you make a travel redemption, you get a 10% return, dubbed “Carry-On Miles.” This means that a $200 redemption will have a net cost of 18,000 points, or a net 2.22% effective cash back rate.
The annual fee of $89 is waived for the first year, so this is a great cash-back backup for at least the first year. The card also comes with a complimentary subscription of TripIt Pro, which usually costs $49/year.
Barclays Priceline Visa
You can read more about this card in this previous post (which contains a link to apply for this card). While the earning schedule isn’t as lucrative as the Barclaycard Arrivals Card, it still has a minimum 2% cash back earnings on all purchases and has no annual fee for the life of the card. It’s a great card to consider holding for a long time.
Barclays Virgin America Visa
You can read about this card in this post (which contains a link to apply for this card). The current bonus was recently lowered to 10,000 points on first purchase, which comes out to about $220 on a Virgin America flight from the bookings I’ve tested. It now includes a free flight on top of the 10,000 points, but you have to use it pretty quickly. Personally, I’m pretty keen on trying out Virgin America’s unique product, but don’t want to actually spend money on a cash ticket because that would mean forgoing elite miles that I normally earn on paid domestic tickets. Since Virgin has great service out of my home airport, I might try them out on a shorter flight.
Barclays has a wide variety of other cards, such as Lufthansa Miles & More, Frontier, and other airlines. You can browse the entire list on their website.