Baclays Gets Aggressive with Credit Card Bonuses

I got another email offer for bonus miles from the US Airways Mastercard yesterday.

On Thursday I wrote about the signup bonuses for this card.

  • 40,000 miles after first purchase, $89 annual fee.
  • 40,000 miles after first purchase, $89 fee waived the first year, promises 10,000 miles at cardmember anniversary (though there are reports this benefit is going away). Offer says it is for US Airways’ 100,000 mile flyers, and application says it is for employees only and asks for an employee number, but neither requirment has been enforced.

I got my current iteration of the card (I’ve had it more than once and gotten the signup bonus each time) back in December 2011.

Then this past spring I was offered a targeted 15,000 bonus if I spent $1500 or more in each of three consecutive months. Normally I don’t put spending on the card, I use it for the bonuses, since most spending isn’t tat rewarding compared to alternative points I could earn with credit card spend. So I put just enough spend each month on the card to earn the bonus.

Reports were pretty wide of others being targeted for the same bonus, same details, at the same time.

Then in September I received a mailer that I could register for a bonus — 5 points per dollar on dining and another spend category, up to 2500 miles (so first $500 in spend would be bonused). That was pretty easy to hit and I did, now waiting for those points to post.

And now a new bonus offer. What’s interesting is that Barclay is (1) getting very aggressive, offering various bonuses over the course of the year even though this isn’t a published benefit of the program and (2) experimenting with different bonuses for different cardmembers.

The offer that I got was 5 bonus miles per dollar up to 2500 bonus miles on grocery stores, movie theatres, and utility bills (phone/cable, satellite/standard tv) between January 1 and March 31.

Others are getting offers of 2 miles per dollar or even 10 miles per dollar. Some offers are capped at 5000 miles.

This offer came by email and requires registration, the last one I got a postcard for.

All of these bonuses give me a reason to like hanging onto my US Airways Mastercard. And it’s something I like to see for a broader reason — that Barclays, the card issuer, appears o be getting much more aggressive in credit card marketing and promotion which means better consumer offers.

And they’ve built up their portfolio nicely. Having more aggressive issuers — Chase is clearly tops but in addition to American Express and Citi — means more opportunities for maximizing mileage.

Which is all a great sign since they’ve built their portfolio of travel cards — the Virgin America card, Priceline card, Frontier and Lufthansa as well.

(The non-targeted offer for the US Airways Mastercard offers referral credit to me, while the other fee-waived offer does not.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Barclays is not that aggressive with card approvals so keep that in mind. They dont like alot of inquiries and often will not let you get more than 1 or their cards no matter which one, although I have seen others who have more than one card. The customer service from them tends to be pretty poor if something should come up. I have their travelocity card. For a while it was a PIA to redeem the points online. You had to book and call it in to get a credit weeks later. Took them months to fix that so I wonder about them. They must send me several balance transfer offers every month for the card I have with them.

  2. @robertw – several folks have gotten approved for more than one of the same card at a time, not just more than one card total. although i have never tried. they are indeed, though, tougher on approvals than many other issuers though not as tough i think as us bank

  3. Then I guess I got lucky with my Frontier cc app last month, which was instantly approved. Despite my already having their US Air card, and having applied for 4 or 5 new cards every 4 months for over a year now. Including a second “business use” US card, which they denied last August.

    Not sure what’s going on with the email offers. Soon after getting my US card last Feb I got the $1500 spend offer Gary posted about, which I fulfilled. Since then, not a word from them. Mommypoints has gotten more offers, Gary has gotten them, but not me. Are they targeting bloggers for free advertising?

    On a happier note, I just called to cancel my Citi Honors {non-reserve} Visa 3 months before my free year was up. Mainly in preparation to apply for more Citi cards on my next churn. The “cancellation” CSR I was transferred to offered me 5K bonus points for spending $1k over the next 3 months. She even pointed out I could get the points and still cancel before my fee became due, which surprised me. I was intrigued when she prefaced the offer by saying “I see you like bonus points” !

    So I took the card out of my “sock drawer” and will be using it for the first time since I finished my minimum spend last April.

    I highly recommend calling in to cancel “because of the fee” and see what they offer you. Even on cards you plan to keep, since the worst case scenario is they don’t offer you anything, at which point you decide to keep it anyway. All you can lose is the time spent on the phone, and it’s a toll free number. 😀

  4. Re: “application says it is for employees only”

    I think it’s somewhat disingenuous to phrase it that way. Yes, there is an employee number field on the application that indicates “Only employees of US Airways and US Airways wholly-owned subsidiaries are eligible.” However, it does NOT say the application is for employees only. Logic would infer the field is for employees only. When you see a field on an application that says “for internal use only” does that mean the entire application is for internal use only? No.

  5. Gary, can you publish a link on this article for the best business card offer for this card? I already have the personal.

  6. Tough card to get in 2012. I’ve had one for years. Applied for 2nd card early this year. Turned down. Waited a few months , closed the original account. Then waited 6 months, applied again. Turned down again. I called both times. I’ll try again after a year. Luckily there are lots of other good sign up bonuses out there.
    My wife has similar credit history to mine. She has had a card for years. Applied for 2nd card, got instant approval. Now she has 2. Go figure.

  7. @HikerT #1 I think I am pretty clear in my repeated coverage on the pre-existing offer that it’s the one i’ve been using and that folks continue to get that card
    @HikerT #2 that’s VERY much YMMV

  8. I have not received ANY of these bonus card promotions which I would love. After reading the above posts I called Barclays this morning, got Bombay and was told absolutely no offers were available. Was about to pay a big insurance bill and give them the charge, but that US Air Mastercard instead went right into the drawer.

  9. I got the 15,000 bonus offer for November, December, January with $750 spend each month. On a postcard.

  10. @Corky Putt Putt

    I got the same offer, on a postcard and email as well. It’s a great offer, definitely doing it.

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