Best Barclays credit cards: Which one should you choose?

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Barclaycard hasn’t been around in the United States as long as some other major issuers like Chase or Capital One but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great institution to bank with.

Often referred to as Barclays US In the U.S. market, they are a completely digital banking institution with no brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. They collaborate with more than 25 top companies to offer a wide array of consumer and small-business credit cards. Already this year Barclay has been in the news because they rebranded from Barclaycard to Barclays and launched a brand new rewards card that has many credit card users excited.

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Barclays cards: Which one is the best fit for you?

When it comes to choosing the best Barclays credit card for you, there is no one-size-fits-all card out there. Everyone has different needs and purchasing habits and their credit score will greatly impact the credit card they can be approved for. However, there are some important features to look for in a credit card, such as:

  • 0% or low introductory interest rate
  • Low ongoing interest rate
  • Rewards rate
  • Minimal fees (such as the annual fees

If you’re in the market for some new plastic and considering a Barclays credit card, here are some of our favorite cards based on the above features for consideration. For the purpose of this article, we are only focusing on consumer credit cards and not business credit cards.

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Best Barclays credit cards

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

This is an excellent credit card for frequent international travelers with excellent credit. What makes this card so unique is it’s brand new to the market (as of April 2018) and that has a lot of consumers excited to get their hands on one. The new travel rewards card doesn’t come with an introductory APR, but it does offer double the miles on all purchases and offers some really easy redemption and transfer options.

Barclays Arrival Premier is geared towards the global traveler who values simplicity. Like many of the top travel rewards cards on the market, miles earned can be redeemed as statement credit against travel purchases or they can be used for cash back for gift cards or merchandise. The easiest form of redemption — and the highest redemption value — is the ability to redeem for travel statement credits at a value of 1 cent each.

For those willing to put in a little more time and effort to get the most value from their Barclays credit card, they can transfer points to nine different airline partners: Aeromexico, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, China Eastern, Etihad, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Jet Privilege, Malaysia Airlines, and Qantas. According to a representative for Barclays, additional frequent flyer programs will be added in the near future. Transferred miles can be used with any of the above airlines or their partners.

Cardholders can earn up to 25,000 loyalty bonus miles after spending $25,000 in net purchases in the first 12 months of account opening and can earn unlimited 2x miles on every qualifying purchase. The card comes with chip and PIN capability for traveling abroad, no foreign transaction fees, $150 annual fee (waived the first year), and 17.49%, 21.49% or 24.49% variable interest rate on purchases and balance transfers.

It’s important to note that we are focused on the many travel benefits and the rewards program of Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® because it doesn’t offer an introductory APR. This card would not be a good option for those who intend to carry a balance, as the interest and late fees would far surpass the value from earned rewards.

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Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®

Barclays also has a popular card called the Arrival Plus, which offers double miles on all purchases, but without the annual point bonuses, a Global Entry application fee credit, or the option transfers your rewards to airline miles.  The Arrival Plus card has an annual fee of $89 and is considered to be very competitive. In comparison, if you’re a frequent traveler, the Arrival Premier offers you far more value than the additional $61 in annual fees, due to the chance to earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles each year and the $100 Global Entry fee credit.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

This is another great credit card for frequent travelers that are loyal to American Airlines. The card doesn’t come with an intro APR for purchases, but it does for balance transfers. The ongoing APR is 17.49%, 21.49% or 26.49% variable interest on both purchases and balance transfers; however, cardholders get 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to the account within 45 days of opening the account. The annual fee is $95.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is a rewards card that offers a nice welcome bonus to entice new cardholders. The welcome bonus can earn you 50,000 bonus miles when you make your first purchase in the first 90 days of account opening and once you pay the annual fee. Cardholders can earn 2X AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X AAdvantage miles on all other purchases. To top it off, you can get 10% of your redeemed miles back up to a maximum of 10,000 miles per calendar year.

Additional travel benefits include preferred boarding for the primary cardholder and first checked bag is free for up to four companions on their reservation for all American Airlines operated flights. Cardholders will pay no foreign transaction fees and receive a 25% discount on inflight food and beverages.

If you don’t fly with American Airlines at least once a month, this may not be a good fit for you.

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

This card is somewhat revolutionary as, to my knowledge, no other credit card on the market exists like this one. The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® was truly created with the cardholder in mind — it can be best described as a crowd-sourced credit card.

The card combines social media, community and financial education, where cardmembers can actively get involved in relevant discussions and even vote on benefits offered with the credit card! Ring cardholders have direct access to Barclay’s product and community manager so they can provide feedback on interest, fees, payments, and benefits. Barclays also releases financial data on the credit card’s user base.

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® cardholders will enjoy an low ongoing APR of 10.49% for purchases and balance transfers (used to be 13.99% variable), which is very low compared to just about all other cards on the market. What really makes this card stand out is the lack of fees. There are no annual fees, balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees.

This is not a rewards credit card, but offers one of the most competitive rates on the market.

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Bottom Line

Opening a new line of credit with a Barclays credit card or any other card issuer can be a great way to earn rewards on purchases you already make and to protect the financial information of your personal bank account in the event of fraud or theft. If you know you will spend money you can’t afford to pay back, forget everything about why you should have one of the best Barclays credit cards. For you, it would be best to focus on paying down debt and learning to become responsible with your finances.

*Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone (not those of any companies, products or services mentioned) and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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