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Evaluating When to Get the Top Barclaycard Offers: Arrival vs. Lufthansa vs. US Airways

June 11, 2013
10 min read
Evaluating When to Get the Top Barclaycard Offers: Arrival vs. Lufthansa vs. US Airways
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Miles & More Premier World MasterCard, US Airways Premier World MasterCard, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Barclaycard has been making a (welcome) forceful push into the travel credit cards marketplace recently with all-time high offers on several of its credit cards.

However, with news that the current 50,000-mile sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Lufthansa credit card is ending June 30, as well as the fact that American Airlines has designated Citibank as its post-merger credit card issuer - meaning that Barclaycard’s popular US Airways World Mastercard might be going away sometime within the next year or so - plus taking the Arrival card’s current high sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles, now might just be the time to consider applying for one or several Barclaycard travel credit cards, especially if you’ve applied for the best offers on American Express, Chase and Citi cards for the moment and have been wanting to look at other issuers.

I wanted to round up the current Barclaycard credit card offers as well as some helpful information on applying. Just note, Barclaycard has tightened up on accepting new credit applications and has been known to deny applications for people with a lot of recent credit inquiries. No one knows what the threshold number is, but that can make it difficult to get a new line of credit with them. This makes it more difficult to capitalize on their card offering, because you may not get multiple cards, so you better apply for the ones you want the most first.

How Much Is Too Much?
Anecdotal evidence on Flyertalk suggests that applying for Barclaycard cards within about 3-6 months of a round of other credit card applications often triggers application rejections. Not only that, but Barclaycard has been known to unilaterally cancel accounts that don’t have regular usage – the threshold seems to be anywhere from about 6 months to a year. However, other FlyerTalkers note that they applied for two Barclaycard cards on the same day and were accepted for one and had their second application put into pending status – probably because the system automatically thinks two simultaneous applications are an error. That said, some folks have gotten 4-5 Barclaycard cards in the same day, so it is possible, just be careful not to bite off more than you can chew in terms of minimum spending requirements, annual fees and card usage. For the record, I would not recommend applying for 4-5 cards from the same issuer because that activity could clearly be identified as gaming, even if you are initially approved.

If you do apply for a card from Barclaycard and find your applications pending or denied, you can try calling the bank’s reconsideration line at (888) 232-0780 for General Card Services and Application Line (dial option 3 for application status), or by using their Online Application Status Check.

Which and When?
Here are the top 3 BarclayCard offers (in my opinion) and my thoughts on if/when to get them.

Bottom line:
The Lufthansa 50,000 mile offer is likely going away June 30, so if you know how to use those points for good redemptions (domestic/intra-North/South America/ Caribbean) that have low fees or premium cabins tickets, then hop on it now. The last time the bonus was 50,000 miles was 2011, so it may not be back for awhile.

The 40,000 mile Arrival Card is a solid offer worth over $440 towards travel, even for the most novice user. The annual fee is waived the first year and there are no foreign transaction fees. This won't get you first class travel around the globe, but it is great for covering expenses not covered by other miles/points (like boutique hotels/B&B's, trains, etc).

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The US Airways Mastercard with 35,000 miles will go away sometime after US Airways merges with American and ceases to exist as a standalone carrier. At some point within the next year or so US Airways Dividend Miles will merge with American AAdvantage miles, so this could be an easy way to boost your combined balance. I expect this will happen in 12-18 months, so you have time, but not an eternity. I love Dividend Miles for business class to Africa and Australia (110,000 miles roundtrip with low fees) or to North Asia for 90,000 miles. The current best offer is 35,000 miles- it has been higher in the past and may increase (or go away all together before we have any advance notice) so this could be the best current offer.

Full Details on the Offers

Lufthansa Miles & More World Mastercard
The Barclaycard Lufthansa Miles & More Premier World Mastercardusually comes with a bonus of 20,000 miles upon first purchase and up to 15,000 additional award miles when you complete an initial balance transfer. However, last month, Barclaycard launched a bonus offer on the card where you can earn a combined total of 50,000 award miles – 20,000 miles with first purchase and an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 on a purchase within the first 90 days.

Here are the details on the card:

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket annually.
  • Enjoy 2 award miles per $1 on Miles & More integrated airline ticket purchases
  • Earn 1 award mile per $1 spent everywhere else
  • No mileage expiration with monthly qualifying purchases
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24% or 20.24% depending on your creditworthiness.
  • $79 annual fee

While 50,000 miles isn’t earth-shattering, from what I can find, the bonus on this card hasn’t been this high since April 2011, so if you’ve been thinking about getting in on this card, now is the time to do it.

Reasons to consider this card in particular include:

-Miles & More is the mileage program of Lufthansa as well as Austrian and SWISS, and members get more access to premium award tickets
-All three airlines are part of Star Alliance, so you can use these miles on any of the 27 partner airlines including US Airways and United (and Miles & More awards can be booked one-way, which US Airways awards cannot)
-You can book a roundtrip domestic business class award on United and US Airways for 35,000 miles, or a first class ticket for 50,000 miles. You can see the full Miles & More award chart here. Taxes and fees are not exorbitant on domestic awards like they are on international flights.
- Lufthansa Miles & More is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, so you could always use some of these points to top up your account for a specific award, and remember, when you transfer in increments of 20,000 points, you get a 5,000-mile bonus - 25% more miles.

Arrival World Mastercard

Back in December, Barclaycard launched two versions of its Arrival World MasterCard, which accrue “miles” in a fixed-value miles program. Cardholders can use the miles they earn to purchase travel yourself and then get statement credits at the rate of 1 cent per mile when you redeem for travel. In April, they raised the sign-up bonus to 40,000 (presumably to compete head to head with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which also has a 40,000 point bonus).

The version with an $89 annual fee waived the first year comes with a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus and earns 2X miles per $1 on all purchases, plus a 10% mileage redemption refund, bringing its payback potential to around 2.2% when you redeem miles for travel. Here are the rest of the details:

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – With $89 Annual Fee waived for the first year

There is also a non-fee version, though its bonus is just 20,000 bonus miles for the same initial spending requirement, it only earns 2X miles on travel and dining purchases (1X on everything else), and since the annual fee is waived for the first year on the premium card, you might as well get that one instead.

Reasons to consider this card include:

-You are essentially getting 2.2% cash back in value when redeeming miles for travel - among the best returns for fixed-value cards
-The annual fee is waived the first year
-You can use Arrival miles for travel expenses other airline miles or hotel points won't cover, like baggage and award fees, car rentals and more
-40,000 miles is an all-time high bonus on this card and it's unclear how long it will be around for.

For more information on Arrival miles and how to make the most of them, check out my Travel Tuesday Top 10 Ways to Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Miles.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Per the Wall Street journal last week, AMR (American Airlines’ parent company) agreed to continue its contract with Citi, which means that when the airline finally merges with US Airways, the Barclaycard US Airways credit card will go away, so this could be a good time to apply and score some Dividend Miles while you still can.

The landing page for this application doesn't explicitly state the mileage.
The current best offer on the US Airways World Mastercard is 35,000 miles after first purchase

The current best offer on the US Airways Mastercard is 35,000 miles after first purchase, 10,000 miles at account anniversary. Here are the rest of the details:

  • Earn up to 55,000 bonus miles – 35,000 after first purchase, 10,000 after first year and 10,000 each subsequent account anniversary, and 10,000 miles when making a balance transfer within 90 days of account opening (you earn 1 mile per $1 transferred).
  • Earn up to 10,000 miles toward Preferred status when spending $25,000 within a calendar year
  • Exclusive: Redeem flights for 5,000 fewer miles.
  • Enjoy 2 miles per $1 on US Airways purchases, earn 1 mile per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Two $99 roundtrip domestic economy companion tickets each year
  • Preferred check in, Zone 2 priority boarding on every flight.
  • One complimentary US Airways Club day pass every year.
  • Discount on US Airways Club membership
  • $89 annual fee.

Reasons to get this card include:

-It might not be around for much longer, especially now that Citi is well on its way to being confirmed as the post-merger American Airlines credit card issuer. I don't foresee them discontinuing the card within the next 6-9 months, but once the merger is officially approved it could be a matter of time.
-Reduced award mileage requirements can save you thousands of miles
-Domestic companion tickets can save you hundreds or thousands on expensive fares.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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