Barclaycard Crap Card Graveyard

Two years ago I made a list of Barclaycard travel cards to research in the attempt to find some hidden gems. At the time the US Airways card was about the only card with wide appeal, the Arrival having not yet been introduced.

About all I found was that the Priceline card then had a 2x cash back on everything offer (now 1x for new applicants but still 5x for most Priceline purchases including airfare). Also the Icelandair card had an award chart opportunity that I thought to good to be true and foolishly did not investigate. Fortunately Jared at Online Travel Review independently found and shared this deal in the context of buy miles.

Most of the cards were comically bad. I started to write reviews on them, eventually giving up at the futility (see reviews of Priceline, Virgin America, Wyndham, Aer Lingus, Carnival, and Icelandair).

There were a number of foreign airline cards that had little appeal and were seldom promoted, which have quietly disappeared. Amazingly, or perhaps not, the dreadful cruise line cards have all survived.

Here’s the list with the deletions:

Personal Credit Cards:

  • Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard® (gone)
  • Barclaycard® Rewards Mastercard®
  • Best Western Rewards® World MasterCard
  • The Carnival™ MasterCard®
  • China Airlines MasterCard® (gone)
  • Choice Privileges® Visa Signature Card
  • Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
  • Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card
  • Icelandair World MasterCard® (gone)
  • Lufthansa Premier Miles & More MasterCard®
  • Priceline Rewards Visa® Card
  • Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card
  • Travelocity Rewards American Express® Card
  • US Airways Premier World MasterCard® – will close to new applicants at some date unspecified, likely in 2015, when all new AA cards will be issued by Citi
  • Virgin America Visa Signature® Card (lost to Comenity Bank)
  • Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card

Business Credit Cards:

  • Frontier Airlines BusinessCard
  • US Airways® Dividend Miles® BusinessCard

There are also a number of retail cards, such as the often generous NFL card. Some people dabble with UPromise, often with complaints.

With plenty of also-ran cards still around Barclaycard has put most of its focus on the Arrival and the new personal and business versions of the Hawaiian Air cards, which it got from Bank of America.

A rough ranking of my current Barclaycard favorites is:

  1. US Airways personal, depending on the offer.
  2. Arrival for travel rebates.
  3. Lufthansa for some good Star Alliance rewards including US domestic on United.
  4. Hawaiian Airlines personal and business, if you have uses for them like intra-island flights or on their partners like Korean Air.
  5. Priceline if you book a lot of travel and prefer cashback and no annual fee (5% cashback for most Priceline purchases versus 2x or 3x points for cards with hefty annual fees).

There are some specialist uses for Choice, Frontier, and Travelocity however at this point quality drops very fast.

I currently have US Airways (x2), Priceline and Choice. I previously had Virgin America but canceled to avoid conversion to Arrival.

Barclaycard has gotten very tough for approvals for many people, myself included, though there are always exceptions. Their offers can also be very confusing with different versions of cards under the same or similar name, possibility of being approved for lesser versions of cards, and even some that exclude applicants from Iowa.

For more on Barclaycard, some of my prior posts:

If you are in the market for Barclaycards, the following cards I have affiliate offers for which, to my knowledge, are the best public offers available (US Airways always being a complicated wild card). Applying through these links supports this blog:

Disclaimer – if you apply for credit cards listed in this post using the links provided, I will receive compensation. Thank y0u.

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  • MARTIN HENNER

    I think you should take a closer look at the Travelocity Card. With 2 points for grocery stores, and the chance to get a $400 credit for 20,000 points, it looks like a 4¢ value, plus the $400 earns another 2,000 points back.

    Am I missing something?

  • Good update. I’m one of the unlucky few who have never been approved for a Barclays card. They are the bane of my existence. I have no problem with the other banks including US Bank.

  • DaninSTL

    @ Grant don’t feel bad I have the same experience with AMEX even with Excellent FICO scores, it’s weird. Once you break through with Barclay they get easier it seems.

    I have a real problem with cruise line cards. They should be a an OK’ish deal but they are all bad it seems.
    The Chase Disney Card. It gives you 1% back with purchases and a $49 annual fee.
    NCL or RCL cards by BofA are just as bad but do at least give a small sign up bonus worth about $100, maybe.

  • HikerT

    The Travelocity card is underrated for its portal benefits. With no annual fee, rewards worth up to 2% in Travelociy credit (cough, boost worth almost twice as much as any other Barclay portal) I’d say this card is a no brainer.

  • Jim

    I have the NFL card and the Choice card but I have now hit a wall due to inquiries. What they don’t look at is 3 of the inquiries are to do a new car purchase and 1 a new checking and saving acct. The good part is they will all drop off in 7/14. Hoping for better luck after they drop off. In my attempt for the US card they only did a soft pull.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @MARTIN HENNER, @HikerT – I generally prefer the Priceline card over Travelocity, though I imagine I would have both if I could consistently get Barclays approvals. What I don’t like about the Travelocity is that you need to reach 20,000 points to unlock the extra 2x value of the points. Even for heavy MS-ers, there is a tradeoff with other cards. For non-travel 2% cash I would take the Fidelity Amex. For travel the Priceline is a clean 5% that only excludes “cruise bookings, non-Name Your Own Price® car reservations, and hotel reservations designated as Pay When You StaySM.” I mainly use OTAs for airfare and other sources for car rentals and hotels (direct through hotel, hotels.com or booking.com), except where I am using Priceline Name Your Own Price, so it works well for me. Priceline rewards can be immediately redeemed for statement credits on any charges.

    In terms of adding on portal cash back, I find generally similar rates with Priceline and Travelocity. Finally, for airfare, I most need OTAs for pricing complex ITA/Hipmunk results or booking obscure international airlines, and I have much more success with Priceline than Travelocity. This is a good debate, anything that I am missing?

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  • HikerT

    RTC, the question isn’t whether to pick the Fidelity AMEX over one of the Barclay offerings. Everyone should have the Fidelity AMEX, period. The question is what Barclay offering to choose, to the extent you need to be judicious with Barclay approvals. The reason to choose the Travelocity AMEX is the portal. You are correct that the “x” earned via the Traveloicy portal is the same for the other Barclay portals. What you are missing is the Travelocity “x” is worth 2% toward airfare. Arrival “x” is only worth 1.11% toward travel. Priceline “x” is only worth 1% toward travel. Why would you choose Arrival “x” or Priceline “x” over Traveloicy “x”? When Barclay was offering 4x boost for AMEX GCs (RIP) which one do you think I picked? As far as needing to redeem for airfare >$400, well, Traveloicy points are an excellent complement to Fidelity points (which are optimal for domestic airfare < $400).

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @HikerT – I am losing track, how many X do you end up with the Travelocity card plus portal plus $400 airfare redemption, is that 8x? Priceline with a typical 1x cashback portal would be 6x.

  • HikerT

    Never mind. I don’t think you get it. 😀

  • john

    so HikerT seems to be saying that you get 10% cashback at travelocity with the card. Too bad that travelocity never has the cheapest prices and I dont use them. Its one of those they upcharge 10% so they can give it back to you in six weeks. WOW isnt that original!

    So the card gives you 3 points per buck at travelocity. Through the boost barclay whatever portal you get an extra 2 points per buck. you value points at 2 cents if 20000 = $400. so fuckin yay you got yourself 10% off a price that was ehmmm ‘boosted’ on you.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @john – thanks for setting me straight, for some reason I was thinking the base earning for air on the Travelocity card for air is 2x, not 3x, so that led to my 8x error.

    I agree that for my admittedly often complicated and/or obscure airline trips, I can’t recall a time when I could get things to price or price as well as other sites. Sometimes I end up using Expedia, but it has been years since Travelocity worked for me.

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  • andreas

    RTC,
    I have arrival, travelocity, us air, lufthansa. All good cards. I frequently get fees waived. I don’t know if barclays has any more worthwhile cards so it may not be worth cancelling any of these.

    My best card is the travelocity card as I’m grandfathered into 5x travelocity rate. For simple trips, the prices are the same as any other site and it’s awesome to receive a 10% rebate.

    The choice card is not very useful since you can buy choice points in the daily deals promo for ~0.4 cpp and using cash points trick for 0.7 cpp.

    neither is the wyndham card.

    I don’t understand why they don’t go after and get more foreign airlines like air france or jal or emirates or etihad. We need cards from these airlines