Million Mile Madness, Credit card planning: Barclays

Background: Early in January, I introduced the idea of challenging myself (and anyone foolish enough to join me) to earn a million points in one month. So, starting March 1, I’ll do everything I can to earn as many points as I can while keeping within my ethical boundaries. As a reminder, I don’t expect that a million points will have been credited to my account by March 31st: points often take quite a while to get credited. Instead, I’ll track all of the points that I expect, and I’ll declare victory if the expected total is over a million. Oh, and to keep things challenging, I will try to keep my net costs below $1,000.

Previous Million Mile Madness posts include:

 

Credit Card churn planning

In order to earn a million miles in a month, I plan to sign up for quite a few credit cards with the best signup offers. These won’t get me all the way to a million points, but they’ll go a long way. First, though, I need to plan carefully.

Here are the plans I’ve reported so far and my latest thoughts:

Chase cards: I plan to go for two Ink Plus cards (with separate businesses) and the United MileagePlus card if I can get a 50K or 55K offer, or the Sapphire Preferred MasterCard with its 40K offer.

Amex cards: I plan to go for both the Platinum Mercedes 50K offer, and the Premier Rewards Gold 50K offer unless I hear from readers that the combination would not be allowed.

Citi cards: I plan to go for the AA business 50K offer and the ThankYou Preferred 6K offer (which gives 5X at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for a year).

In this post, I’ll discuss my thoughts and plans concerning Barclays cards, and I’ll follow up in future posts with similar discussions about US Bank and others.

Current cards

I currently have the following Barclays cards:

  • US Airways MasterCard (applied July 2012)

 

My Plan

Barclays has recently stepped up its game with some pretty good cards and offers.  In fact, I recently broke out Barclays into its own table in my “Best credit card offers” page.  Previously, it was lumped in with US Bank, BOA, etc. in the “Other Bank Cards” section.   

There are a couple of things worth noting about Barclays.  First, many people have reported success getting more than one US Airways MasterCard.  For example, see this post by Will Run for Miles.  Second, people have reported success getting quite a few Barclays cards at once, and all get combined into a single hard credit pull.  For example, see this post by Rapid Travel Chai in which he describes how he got 4 cards at once, and a friend of his got 5.  So, I might as well go for as many good offers as I can find!

Here are the cards I plan to signup for:

  • US Airways MasterCard: 35K miles after first use.
  • US Airways BusinessCard: 25K miles after first use. $79 annual fee not waived first year.
  • NFL card: 40K points worth $400. Requires $2500 spend in 90 days.
  • Arrival World MasterCard: 20K/40K.  Requires $1K spend in 90 days.

Here are my thoughts about each card:

US Airways MasterCard: US Airways miles are quite valuable right now thanks to some great redemption options such as 90K miles for round trip business class to Northern Asia.  If/when US Airways merges with AA, the miles will still be valuable as AA miles for one-way redemptions, great award availability to South America, etc.

US Airways BusinessCard: For all of the reasons that I want the personal card, I’d like to get this business card too for 25K more miles.  The first year $79 annual fee isn’t great, but its worth it to get 25K miles.  I wonder if I can get two of these?  One for each business?

NFL card: If I can get $400 back without an additional hard credit pull (since all of the pulls from Barclay’s will merge into one), then I’ll take it!  I’ll treat the $400 as contributing to my March spend budget rather than counting the points towards the million mile target.

Arrival World MasterCard: This might be the best card available for day to day non-bonus spend.  It essentially earns 2.22% back towards travel for all purchases (or 2% cash back).  See my post “Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard” for details.  My wife received a targeted 40K offer for this card (which has expired), but there is a public offer for 20K (worth $220 towards travel).  I’ll probably call to see if they’ll extend me the 40K offer.  If not, I’ll go for the 20K offer.  I’m not sure yet how I would count the signup bonus.  20K towards a million miles?  $200 towards my budget?  $220 towards my budget?  Probably the latter.

My hopeful tally

If I successfully apply for the cards listed above, I’ll earn 60K miles, and between $620 and $840 worth of cash back / travel.  I know that I could go for more cards such as the 35K Frontier offer, but I’d rather get points and miles that I’m more likely to use.

Reader Feedback

Please let me know what you think about the above plan. Do you have other ideas or suggestions?

Related Posts & Pages


Follow me on Twitter / Like me on Facebook / Find me on Google+


If you are new to collecting miles, click here for the free newsletter
If you are new to Frequent Miler, start here

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Hi FrequentMiler, thanks for all your helpful information! Quick question regarding Barclays…I seem to remember reading in the past that Barclays continues to monitor your credit report after you get their card, and they sometimes close the account if they see additional subsequent inquires (which most of us would have if we continue to apply for new cards). Have you heard of anything like this happening? I currently don’t have any Barclays cards, but I was hoping to pick up the US Airways card. Thanks again, much appreciated!

  2. ThankYou Preferred (which gives 5X at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for a year). is this for new card only or does it also apply to the existing card holders? Thanks

  3. I applied for NFL and US air, I got two hard pull from trans union and one equifax, what sucks is only approved me for nfl not US air, the agent told me I had too many open Credit card, and I will need to close few before I can get new approval.

  4. “I’ll treat the $400 as contributing to my March spend budget rather than counting the points towards the million mile target.”

    Miler: Stick to travel hacking; you’d never make it as a politician in Washington……

  5. hey FM, I was reading your Citi post and I have the Citi Preferred now. I was to cancel it ASAP if I can on that 5x Citi Preferred. How long do you think I have to wait once I cancel it?….thanks man!

    • Ryan from MA: I’m not sure its even necessary to cancel it. They might let you get a second one. If you want to cancel anyway, I don’t think it will matter much how long you wait. That’s just my guess, though.

  6. Regarding Barclay, yes they later closed my wife’s account after monitoring it after she was approved. They said they closed it after seeing other cards were approved for on the same day. Fortunately they closed it after we had made our purchases and paid in full/ got the 40K miles. But it was still annoying as my wife wanted to keep it to improve her credit. We called them several times but at the end of the day, they refused to do anything. We goggled and found other reports that this had happened on creditboard and other sites…

    • David, AJ: Thanks for those data points. Wow, that’s crazy that Barclays would cancel cards after they’ve already been approved and used. Are they reacting to all cards open across multiple banks or just Barclay cards?

  7. Miler, Really enjoy the blog. Data point for consideration — Feb AOR (5 cards) and was rejected for Barclays Biz. 750+ CS; ~15 years credit file; $1,500/ month US Air Personal card always paid in full — opened mid-2012; reconsider line cited too many inquires (X 2 CSRs). Last year maybe 5-6 new cards. I think Barclays is creating new world order.

  8. Good post. Getting all the good offer at one time is a absolutely great. But getting 6+ hard pulls and multiple new credit lines established in the credit profile during a short period is definitely another story. I got my 2 credit cards canceled by BOA last year because of several new inquiries in my credit profiles.

  9. LOL this is hilarious. I have never seen an AOR more dramatized than this one here. Next we will have movies/reality TV made on miles and points game and Awards given out end of the year.

  10. FM she applied for 2 Citi AA cards and 1 Chase (Freedom) we applied for Barclay US Air first (instant approval) and then Chase freedom(easier one….instant approval) Because of the instant approvals we decided lets go ahead and do the 2 Citi cards(approval) We found out the Barclay card was closed less than 50 days after applying for it. I just did a search on FT and I see some others who seemed to have issues to. They wouldn’t even budge to lower the CL or anything…ugg

  11. I got approved for World Premiere 8 months back, applied for CSP and 2 Citi AA at the same time. Instant approval on all. Barclay closed my account after 60 days (bonus pts posted though)…too many new accounts. Reapplied again last week, got approved again. Need to check if bonus will post again…

  12. barclays and us banks tend to turn down applications by those who have busy card application activities AWAY even though you are well on the high end of excellent credit.

  13. Someone commented on a milevalue post that Barclays told him no business card because his business was less than three years old. The application was rejected right away after he indicated he was in business for 1 year, so he didn’t get a pull for it.

  14. after you apply for 8+ cc in one day you can subtitle your articles how to commit financial suicide, and ruin your credit report for the next year.
    You really think the banks wont notice you trying to max out personal cards and get new cards for 2 business…might as well scream I’m gonna charge 100k and go to Mexico. You wanted to do this on a lark but maybe you should read some credit boards and see how this will likely end, instead of reading FT and how easy it is to get card bonuses. as a wise blogger once said your good credit is one of your most valuable assests don’t risk it for a few points…mega apps are for short-sighted greedy pigs, slow and steady is a better strategy.

    • Wise2u: I agree that going slow and steady is a much better strategy. What I’m doing here is a risky stunt which I do not recommend to others. If I haven’t made that clear enough, I apologize.
      Treane: I don’t think so

  15. @wise2u- Sure you are right for some people depending on credit/income status, but I have not found that to be the case at all. I’ve done 8 card AOR in 1 day. Now, 3 AORs later, still getting new cards each time and credit as strong as ever. And I have read of others who have done even more than 8 at one time and lived to tell about it :)

  16. About a month ago, I applied for Arrival World mastercard. I meant to apply for the $89/yr version but mistakenly applied for the no-fee card. Realized my mistake 10 minutes later and applied for the fee card (mistake #2). Was approved for the no-fee card and denied for the $89 card. We have Amex BC, CSP and United Explorer Mileage Plus (will drop soon).We pay our cc bills in full every month. I would like to upgrade to the $89 card. How long should I want before I reapply?

    Thx

  17. Cris: I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that 6 months is a good amount of time. My advice to you is to use the card regularly over the next 5 months so that when you apply for a new card Barclays will see you as a good customer.

  18. Question. I have the USAirways card and just had my first $89 annual fee post along with the 10K miles to my FF account. 2 nights ago I applied for another 35K mile card and got approved. How ‘inappropriate’ would it be for me to cancel my old card, have them rescind the annual fee, and just work with the new card? I assume they can’t claw the miles back. I’m fine with paying the annual fee since I received the miles, but I’m also fine with not doing that…

  19. Alex: That should be fine. It makes sense to do that. Personally, I will keep paying my annual fee (on two cards) as long as they give me 10K miles for them, but for you it might make more sense to drop down to one card.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>