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New Barclays AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard: Will you still get the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if you upgrade?

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

I wanna dig into this a little, in part because it’s a topic I don’t know the answer to (spoiler alert!), and in part because I would like to upgrade.

As part of Barclays’ discontinuation of the US Airways credit card products, they’ve sent out materials for which version of the Aviator existing cardholders should expect to receive.

I was selected to get the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard.

Barclays' mailed communication about the product change

Barclays’ mailed communication about the product change

Note that they mention the 50% bonus miles promo at the bottom of the page.

They also included a page of FAQs:

Aviator Red FAQ page

Aviator Red FAQ page

But what about the anniversary bonus?

I’ve done a little digging, and Barclays has confirmed that cardholders will continue to receive the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if they keep the product they are selected to receive. Which is great news. (I barely eked my way in at the last minute into the card with the 10,000 bonus miles.)

But what about if you want to upgrade from Red to Silver? That’s where the murkiness is coming in, and I’ve read reports that if you upgrade (or downgrade) from what’s been pre-selected for you, you will forfeit your 10,000 mile anniversary bonus. Which is not-so-great news.

The other side of the coin is that since this product is so new, and in fact hasn’t even been sent out yet, we still don’t know exactly what will happen.

So here’s my dilemma.

I want the Aviator Silver

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Barclays Rewards Fan Zone: Earn 500+ FREE Arrival+ Miles

Barclays Arrival+

Barclays Arrival+

Note: this may be a targeted offer, but definitely worth it to see if it’s on your account. 

Barclays is now offering the “Rewards Fan Zone” where you can earn extra Arrival+ miles by completing various (easy) “activities”.

Rewards Fan Zone

To see if you’ve been targeted, simply check your Arrival+ card on the Barclays website. Here’s what showed up for me:

Barclays Arrival+ Rewards Fan Zone

Barclays Arrival+ Rewards Fan Zone

After you log in to the Barclays website, navigate over to the “Barclaycard extras” tab to see what shows up for you.

I was on the cusp of 5,000 Arrival+ miles, and the activities chosen for me to complete were enough to put me over the edge for my next $50 award redemption, with absolutely no spend required.

Rewards Fan Zone interface

Rewards Fan Zone interface

A couple of my tasks

A couple of my activities

As you can see, the activities are super easy to complete, and really only take a second or two per task:

My activities

My activities

It’s stuff like connecting your Barclaycard to social media, following them on Twitter, watching a short video, etc. The miles posted instantly, right after I completed each activity.

My Rewards Fan Zone activity

My Rewards Fan Zone activity

Bottom line

Nothing major, but you can get an extra few bucks worth of travel redemptions for clicking a few buttons.

If you’re on the cusp of your next award redemption, it’s totally worth it to check to see if you’re targeted for this.

More than anything, I’m glad Barclays is continuing to offer enhancements on the Arrival+ cards like:

I’m curious to see what else they continue to roll out for this card and for the new Rewards Fan Zone to make it competitive within the rewards card industry. That curiosity has been my biggest driver for keeping this card as long as I have (along with a great retention offer).

Kudos to Barclays for continuing to innovate in a crowded market, even if it is only for a few extra hundred miles. I’m looking forward to seeing what they roll out next.

Was anyone else targeted for this? Are your offers better than mine? Would love to hear if offers differ from what I’ve posted!

Barclays US Airways MasterCard holders: did you get a 50% bonus?

Very cool. Barclays is offering a 50% bonus on all spend for March through June for up to $20,000 in spend. This equates to 1.5 miles per dollar, which is a pretty nice rate of return for an airline cobranded card.

I value all my miles at 2 cents per dollar, so this is effectively 3% back if you value your miles the same way. At 1.5 miles per dollar, this matches what you’d earn by meeting the minimum transactions on an Amex EveryDay card for non-bonused spending, and obviously exceeds cards where you only earn one mile or point per dollar

With the merger between American and US Airways happening quickly, these miles will be incredibly useful on American pretty soon.

I’ll still give preference to my cards with category bonuses (groceries on the Chase Freedom this quarter, phone bill on the Chase Ink Plus, etc.), but will probably filter some spend onto this card after I max out the bonus I recently got on my US Bank Club Carlson Visa, which also begins in March – and it’s great to see credit card companies rewarding ongoing spending!

To check if you were targeted look under “Barclaycard extras” after you log in to the Barclays website:

The offer will show up here, if you're targeted

The offer will show up here, if you’re targeted

Then just check the box and click “Submit” – easy peezy.

Screenshot 2015-02-25 00.52.19

I’m just happy I made a screenshot before I clicked

Boom - enlarge to read T&Cs

Boom – click to enlarge to read T&Cs

Bottom line

It seems like a lot of US Airways MasterCard holders are being targeted for this offer without regard to account age, so if you’re new to the card or have had it for a while, it might be worth checking.

Were you targeted for this bonus? Will it encourage you to shift spend over to this card for a while? 

HT to Frequent Miler.

Confirmed: CVS accepts credit cards for PayPal My Cash reloads in NYC

I couldn’t wait until February to kick off Manufactured Spend Month: I just got back from CVS, where I successfully purchased two $500 PayPal My Cash reloads with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

New York can be kind of a barren wasteland for manufactured spending, but today it was a gold mine. It was like the Vanilla Reload days all over again.

I walked into a CVS in East Midtown in Manhattan. The gift cards were on an endcap, prominently displayed, near the registers. I immediately saw the bounty.

cvs paypal my cash credit cards

PayPal My Cash cards at CVS

I grabbed two of them and walked to the register – there was no line (the joy of shopping mid-day on a week day). I pulled out my license and credit card. The cashier looked at them and asked to see both. She didn’t say anything like, “Cash only,” or “We don’t accept credit cards,” which I was kinda bracing for. Whew.

She scanned the reload cards, then my license (because with activation fees, the transaction was over $1,000). I was a little worried that Barclays would flag the transaction like they did when I got my temporary REDbird card last month, but the little signature screen popped up, I signed, and all was good to go.

It was SO EASY and took all of a minute. I walked in, checked out, and was done. It was JUST LIKE Vanilla Reloads in every regard, including the loading up (which I will get to in a sec).

Then, in Brooklyn…

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Barclays no longer approving 10K Anniversary Bonus for non-preferred members

That… was a long title.

My partner applied for the Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard on December 14th – the version that offers a 10,000 mile anniversary bonus for each year of card membership. He found out today, January 15th, that he was denied.

Reason? No Preferred Status with US Airways.

Here is the letter they sent him today:

Rejection letter from Barclays (click to enlarge)

Rejection letter from Barclays (click to enlarge)

The kicker is that I applied for the offer in early December when it was 40,000 miles after first purchase and with the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus and got an instant approval. Shortly after, Barclays even bumped my bonus to 50,000 miles and deposited an extra 10K Dividend Miles into my account. I have no status whatsoever with US Airways.

Here’s the new offer with 50K miles after first purchase and 10K anniversary miles…

...but don't touch it if you don't have status!

…but don’t touch it if you don’t have status!

Bottom line

More of a cautionary tale than anything, and I didn’t want anyone to miss out on the current referral bonus (that runs until January 18th) over the allure of the 10K bonus… because if you don’t have any type of status with US Airways, you’ll most likely be denied.

Interesting to note that the letter explicitly mentions that the credit wasn’t even ran. They must’ve detected the status level via the Dividend Miles number and instantly rejected it. Also interesting that it took them over a solid month to get the decision letter out. Transitions indeed.

Anyway, if anyone would like to be referred to the current 50K offer, I have some invites left. Just shoot me an email at zynner@gmail.com and I’ll get it to you.

If and when the card is upgraded to the Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll get Global Entry fees reimbursed.

But no transaction fees, effective immediately, even with this one. And any spend you put on it will carry over if/when you upgrade to Aviator Silver.

Consider this a data point as well as a further glimpse into everything that’s going into this merger.

(I also love when my “bottom lines” are longer than the actual text of the article. Just love that.)

What’s in my wallet? (Evaluating credit cards and travel goals)

As I begin to figure out my points and miles strategy for 2015, I thought it would be helpful assess what I currently have in my wallet.

Pre-warning: this is a very text heavy post. No pretty pictures to look at, just a whole lotta straight talk (1,200 words worth).

By bank:

American Express

  • Platinum Card
  • EveryDay Preferred

I just got a new Platinum Card in hopes that I’ll actually get a bonus for opening it – but I’m not holding my breath. In any regard, I already cashed in the $200 in airline incidentals on AA gift cards in 2014 and will do so again this year, so I will make back most of the annual fee right away.

I occasionally use Priority Pass Select on lounge visits that would otherwise be $50 a pop, and love dipping into the Centurion Lounges where I easily drink over $50 in cocktails alone (not to mention the spa treatments).

I also have utilized the Fine Hotels & Resorts program a time or two, and really love the near-constant Amex sync offers. So, I’m keeping it.

As for the EveryDay Preferred… it really has become by “EveryDay” card – I use it constantly and get 1.5-4.5x Membership Rewards points on everything I buy, which is pretty sweet. The earning is decent for non-bonus spend and is great for groceries, gas, and even more sync offers. (Email me if you’d like a referral to this card!)

If only Amex would up the points-earning power of the Platinum Card, I might actually put a buck or two of spend on it.

Barclaycard

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Barclays bumped my US Airways card bonus to 50K miles!

Last week, I finally bit the bullet and got the US Airways MasterCard with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the annual fee.

I made my first purchase, and then the annual fee hit. I paid it. And while waiting for my 40K miles, I saw that a new, better offer had come swimming along: 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the annual fee.

Grrr. Hate when that happens.

Now, in the past, Chase has always been so kind about things like this. I wanted to see if Barclays would match me to the new 50K offer.

I spent maybe 2 minutes logging into my account and writing them an email.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 23.34.26

They replied with a few hours and said they would match me! Here is what I wrote them and their reply:

Screenshot 2014-12-08 10.15.38

How cool is that? I wrote on the night of 12/4, got a reply back on 12/5, and guess what happened on 12/6?

Screenshot 2014-12-08 11.31.51

Bottom line

I value all my points and miles at 2 cents each, so this extra 10,000 miles is worth $200 to me. It’s almost enough for a free domestic one-way or 1/3 of a round-trip off-season award ticket to Europe or South America (when they eventually become AAdvantage miles). Not bad for typing a few sentences and asking.

Sometimes the best way to get points and miles is simply to ask for them. If you’ve gotten this card recently (past ~90 days), it’s worth a shot to get an extra 10K miles. Anyone else been able to bump their bonus?

My Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Retention Offer

Also see: Rom’s Deals take on a retention offer

Oh man, I have so much to tell you guys about. The trip to Paris, BA lie-flat biz class, and thoughts about Amex, interest charges, and assorted travel fun. But first things first.

The sitch

I think I mentioned that I bought a couple of Amex gift cards via the Barclaycard RewardsBoost portal before. Anyway, I did. I bought two for $1,000 each. The first time, I paid $8.95 in shipping and activation fees, while the second time, I didn’t (I signed up for a 90-day trial of the premium shipping plan). Before buying, I made sure to click through the RewardsBoost portal given by my Arrivalcard. Then I waited for 8 weeks.

Nothing.

I bought other things through the portal too, from J. Crew and drugstore.com. Those all posted fine.

I am now well-dressed

I am now well-dressed

But I was still waiting on eight thousand points to post worth over $88 in travel redemptions (4x points x $2,000 of spend).

Then, somewhere along the line, I got hit with the $89 annual fee and was sent a new Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

The “in”

After 8 weeks passed, I gave ol’ Barclays a WTF call. 8,000 points isn’t a ton of points, but it also ain’t nothin’. I gave them my Amex order numbers and the exact amounts of the purchases. They’ve promised to post the missing points in the next 7-10 days.

Then, right after, I mentioned how the annual fee had just hit and asked if there was any way I could continue evaluating the card fee-free due to the recent error and subsequent over-two-month wait in getting points posted.

At that point, I was transferred to a manager.

I explained that I’d been waiting for over 8 weeks on some points, had just received a new World Elite MasterCard, and was still a little on the fence about where to direct the bulk of my spend. I mentioned using the card recently on a trip to Paris, and how I would’ve normally given that spend to Chase instead.

The agent reviewed my account, reviewed my recent spend, and then really impressed me. She waived the $89 annual fee, said she’d personally follow up on the missing 8K points, and gave me an additional 5,000 points for the trouble. I had a moment where I was so impressed with the customer service that all I could say was “Wow.”

Why I think I was offered this

The “in” was the trouble with the portal points posting. BUT, I have been using the Arrivalcard for regular spend. Barclays is a bank that really values engagement with their products. I’ve had a card with them for over 7 years now (the ill-fated Icelandair MasterCard), and made sure to ramp up the spending on the Arrivalcard to demonstrate my willingness to have a banking relationship with them. Their motto is very literally “show me the money.”

Knowing this, I also think they would’ve said they couldn’t waive the fee had I not spent anything on the card in the previous six months. The points trouble was my “in” but the relationship was the kicker.

I really value that. I like knowing that they want my relationship and that they’ll take care of me for giving them my loyalty.

Bottom line

Barclays offered to fix their error, bounced me 5,000 points for the trouble, and waived the $89 annual fee on the new Arrivalcard World Elite MasterCard  – just for making a phone call. They are a bank that looks for relationships with the customers, and in the end, I have to say I really respect them for the way they treated my (very minor) issue.

I’m super impressed by this level of customer service and will definitely be funneling some of my non-bonused spend through this card, especially in conjunction with their super lucrative RewardsBoost portal (and definitely when they offer 4x points on Amex gift cards).

Has anyone else gotten an offer like this? Or had any experiences with Barclays lately?

Taking another look at MasterCard World Elite Benefits

Also see:

A new World Elite

I’d already decided last month to keep the Barclaycard Arrival for another year. This weekend, I logged in to see if some points had posted for the gifts cards I purchased on a recent spree of manufactured spend.

I was asked to verify my address and contact info – no biggie, didn’t think too much of it. And then, I noticed the logo of the Arrival card looked a little different. It was now a Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

Surely enough, the entire blogosphere exploded with this news. I’m not one to parrot news, so I’d recommend reading this post by Million Mile Secrets that outlines all the new changes. I already have a World Elite Mastercard (the Ink Plus from Chase), but having two of a nice product never hurts. Read More

Just booked: A ~$20,000 Dollar Trip to Paris for FREE? You betcha!

See you soon, Paris!

See you soon, Paris!

I am over the moon right now because I just booked an epic trip to Paris in June. I have booked complex, multi-stop and RTW itineraries before, but even still, was amazed at how easily and quickly this trip came together.

The trip

Leaving from EWR.

  • EWR-ORY in business class on British Airways
  • 4 nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
  • 1 night at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile on Club floor
  • ORY-LHR-JFK in business class on British Airways
  • 2 incredibly stoked adventurers

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Seeking kindreds on the Barclaycard Travel Community

Update 2/1/15: I have been BANNED from the Barclaycard Travel Community. 

I don’t know why, but this is what I see when I log in now:

banned-barclaycard-travel

 

So if anyone has given me kudos, but I haven’t reciprocated, this is why. Thank you guys for the support, but it looks like I’m out of this one, unfortunately. :/

 

This post is part personal ad and part information.

Stepping up the game

Barclays Bank has been doing some really cool things lately, especially with their new Barclaycard Arrival (the naming of this card is so weird). They’ve created a revolutionary card with instant posting of points, instant redemptions, a great portal, free FICO score, and a slew of other great benefits. Anything a bank can do to keep a consumer engaged with their product is a really good thing. Now, they’ve made a community. Read More

The BEST cashback card now has a signup bonus

Fidelity_investment_card

A+

I’ve written at length about the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express card.

Two choice quotes (yes, I am quoting myself):

“The unsung hero of cashback cards.” 

“The best cashback card on the market.” 

This card is good for:

  • Unbonused spending categories since it offers a flat 2% back on every single purchase
  • Keeping forever to boost credit history since it has no annual fee
  • Everyday spenders that don’t need/want to meet exorbitant spend requirements
  • Those who want to invest in the long-term instead of short term travel ventures

I have this card and find myself using it quite a lot. I keep it in my wallet and use it when I’m somewhere that is not in a bonus spend category (hardware stores, big box stores, random services) which happens more than I thought it would. It’s a nice way to “give myself” a bonus since I like to earn 2 points on every dollar I spend.

I also LOVE their shopping portal. It regularly offers larger payouts than other portals, including the already generous Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Except these points go right into your brokerage/IRA/college savings account for you to invest however you want, which is pretty cool. I always check this portal and am sometimes blown away by how large their payouts are. They also have more online stores than the other portals.

This card is quite the anomaly in the points and miles world: it’s an American Express card issued by a Bank of America subsidy that plugs directly into your account at Fidelity… what? How did those partnerships produce this card? 

But what about the Barclaycard Arrival?

Read More