December 28, 2012
Barclays is offering a new, very good card with a very good sign-up bonus!
A few days ago, my wife received a credit card sign-up offer from Barclays. While the offer wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, it turned out to be pretty darn good…
There are two versions of this card. Confusingly, they are both named the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. There is the free version of the card with a public 10,000 point signup bonus, and then there is the $89 annual fee card with a targeted 40,000 point signup bonus.
Besides the annual fee and the sign-up bonus, the main difference between these cards is that the $89 card earns 2 miles per dollar for all purchases, whereas the no-fee version earns 2 miles per dollar for travel and dining, but just 1 mile per dollar for everything else.
Both cards offer a feature called “carry-on miles”. Miles can be redeemed for statement credit at any time for a value of 1 cent per mile. However, if you redeem miles for travel you get back 10% of the miles. In other words, if you plan to always redeem for travel, you can think of the $89 version of the card as being like a 2.2% cash back card. Valid travel expenses include: Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies.
The value of the bonus
Redeeming points with this card for travel reminds me of the hypothetical turtle that always goes half way to its destination. It gets closer and closer, but never arrives. When you redeem your points for travel, you get back 10%. You can then redeem those points for travel and get back 10%. And so on.
With the 40,000 mile sign-up bonus, you could redeem those miles for $400 worth of travel. Then, you would get back 4000 miles. You could then redeem those miles for $40 worth of travel. Then you would get back 400 miles….
OK, its not worth going further than that. The signup bonus is worth about $440. That’s not the best sign-up offer available (see “Best credit card offers“), but it is pretty darn good!
I think it’s time for my wife to do a little credit card churn… If you’re interested in this offer, watch your mailbox!