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Although Barclays is one of the 15 largest credit card issuers in the U.S., it doesn't offer any cards under its own name in this country. As of 2023, the Barclays credit card portfolio was made up entirely of "co-brands." Co-brands are cards issued in partnership with an airline, hotel chain, retailer or other company or organization. Frontier Airlines' credit card, for example, is issued by Barclays, as are the cards for The Gap (and its associated brands), AARP and a number of cruise lines.
Barclays is a multinational bank based in London, and Barclays-branded credit cards are well-known to consumers in the U.K. Back in the 2010s, the issuer offered a variety of good cards in the U.S. under the Barclaycard label — most notably the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. However, it has stopped accepting applications for those "proprietary" cards.
On this page, we've listed the best of Barclays' current lineup of co-branded credit cards, then we've taken a look at the proprietary Barclays cards that are no longer available and offered some alternatives for those looking for a similar card.
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BEST CO-BRANDED CREDIT CARDS ISSUED BY BARCLAYS
AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
Barclays is one of two banks that issue American Airlines credit cards, an unusual arrangement that dates to the merger of American Airlines with US Airways. Before the merger finalized in 2015, Citi was the issuer of American's credit cards, while Barclays issued US Airways cards. Both now offer cards for the combined airline.
Notable features of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® include a rich sign-up bonus that's one of the easiest to earn on any card; free checked bags (terms apply); preferred boarding; 2X miles on American Airlines purchases and 1X miles on other spending; a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases; credits for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases; and the opportunity to get a discounted companion fare each year if you spend enough. The annual fee is $99.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is one of a suite of American Airlines credit cards issued by Barclays under the Aviator name. The others include:
AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®: Available as an upgrade from the Red card, this card is more expensive ($199 annual fee) but comes with enhanced benefits, including a fee credit for Global Entry; 3X miles on American Airlines purchases and 2X miles on hotel and rental cars; credit for in-flight food and beverage purchases (as opposed to just discounts); and the opportunity to earn two discounted companion fares each year, rather than just one.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®: For a lower annual fee ($49), you earn miles at the same rate as with the Red card, but you don't get the bigger perks like free checked bags, priority boarding or the potential to earn a companion certificate.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®: This barest-of-bones card has no annual fee and earns miles at half the rate of the Red card — 1 mile per dollar on American purchases, 0.5 miles per dollar elsewhere.
JetBlue Plus Card
JetBlue Airways offers two consumer credit cards through Barclays — one with an annual fee and one without. As is usually the case with airline credit cards, the annual-fee version is a much better deal, because the elevated rewards you earn and the perks you get should more than make up for the cost. The JetBlue Plus Card has an annual fee of $99 and earns 6X points on JetBlue purchases, 2X at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1X on other spending. It offers free checked bags (terms apply), an anniversary bonus each year that goes a long way toward paying the fee, and 50% savings on in-flight purchases. You get 10% of your points back when you redeem them for flights, and purchases on the card also earn you credit toward elite status in the airline's loyalty program. There's a good sign-up bonus, too.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the JetBlue Plus Card
The $0-annual-fee version, called just the JetBlue Card, pays a lower rewards rate on JetBlue purchases, comes with a significantly smaller sign-up bonus and offers fewer perks (of note: no free checked bags). Read our review of the JetBlue Card.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® isn't a bad card for those who are already flying Frontier regularly. It has a sizable — and easy-to-earn — bonus offer. It earns 5X miles on eligible Frontier purchases, 3X at restaurants and 1X on other purchases. You get preferred boarding in Zone 2, you can have your waived, and you can earn a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary with a relatively modest amount of spending. The most noteworthy benefit, however, is one you don't get: free checked bags. Frontier charges even for carry-on bags, so the absence of a luggage benefit really sticks out here, especially considering that the card charges a not-insignificant annual fee of $89.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
Other airline cards issued by Barclays
HOTEL CREDIT CARDS
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card
Travelers partial to the hotel brands in the Wyndham portfolio have two Barclays-issued credit card options — one with an annual fee and one without. The stepped-up rewards and benefits of the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card make it worth the fee, which was $75 as of August 2023. The card comes with a terrific bonus offer for new cardholders, a 7,500-point anniversary bonus each year that you renew (which pretty much covers the cost of the fee) and automatic Platinum status in the Wyndham loyalty program. You earn 6X points on eligible Wyndham hotel purchases, 6X on gas, 4X on eligible dining and grocery purchases, and 1X elsewhere. Unlike some other hotel cards, it doesn't give you a certificate for a free night's stay every year — but the anniversary bonus gives you a good head start on a free night.
The Wyndham hotel group includes more than 20 brands, from budget hotels like Days Inn and Travelodge to midscale properties like LaQuinta, Ramada and Baymont to upscale options like the Wyndham brand itself.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card
The no-annual-fee version, the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card, offers a smaller sign-up bonus, lower rewards rates (5X at Wyndham and on gas, 2X on dining and groceries), and Gold elite status rather than Platinum. Plus, the 7,500-point anniversary bonus isn't automatic. You have to spend $15,000 in a year to earn it. Read our review of theWyndham Rewards Earner® Card.
STORE CREDIT CARDS
Gap Inc. credit cards
Barclays issues credit cards for each of the four major brands operated by Gap Inc. — The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta. The cards are mostly identical. They all earn 5 points per dollar spent at any of the stores, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. All give you free shipping on orders over $50, and all have no annual fee. The only distinction lies in their introductory offers, which take the form of a discount on your first purchase. Those offers:
Gap Good Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: 20% off your first purchase with your card at The Gap (read review).
Navyist Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: 30% off your first purchase with your card at Old Navy (read review).
Banana Republic Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: 20% off your first purchase with your card at Banana Republic (read review).
Athleta Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: 20% off your first purchase with your card at a Gap Inc. brand (read review).
Barnes & Noble Mastercard
This no-annual-fee card gives you 5% back on purchases at Barnes & Noble and its affiliated brands, including B. Dalton, Bookstop, Bookstar, Doubleday, Ink Newstand and Charlesbank, as well as at BN.com; the 5% is delivered as a credit on your next statement. You earn 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants and 1 point per dollar elsewhere; those points are redeemed as Barnes & Noble gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. You get a $25 gift card after making your first purchase, and if you spend $7,500 in a year, you get 12 months of Barnes & Noble Premium Membership for free. Read our review of the Barnes & Noble Mastercard.
Priceline VIP Rewards™ Visa® Card
If Priceline is your go-to discount travel agency, take a look at this no-annual-fee card. It earns 5X points at Priceline, 2X on gas and restaurant purchases, and 1X on other spending. You get automatic VIP Gold status with Priceline. And if you spend $10,000 on the card in a year, you'll unlock a credit for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Read our review of the Priceline VIP Rewards™ Visa® Card.
This $0-annual-fee card features solid rewards for gamers who don't mind being locked into the Microsoft brand. It offers 5X points on qualifying games and purchases within the Microsoft Store; 3X points on eligible delivery and streaming services (including DoorDash, Grubhub, Netflix, Spotify and more); and 1X back on other eligible purchases. You can redeem those points for games and add-ons in the digital Microsoft Store. Read our review of the Xbox Mastercard.
OTHER CREDIT CARDS
AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays
The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays stands out as one of the rare cards that offers bonus rewards for medical expenses. With most credit cards, such expenses fall into the "everything else" bucket that earns the lowest rewards rate, but this card earns 2% cash back on eligible medical spending. Gas and eligible drugstore purchases earn 3% cash back; everything else earns 1%. There's a modest bonus offer for new cardholders, and you don't have to be an AARP member to apply. The annual fee is $0.
There's a travel version of this card, too: the AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays. It earns 3% cash back on airfare, hotel stays and car rentals; 2% cash back at restaurants; and 1% back on all other spending.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the AARP credit cards
Cruise line credit cards
Barlcays has carved out a niche in the travel credit card market by partnering with a number of cruise lines. Co-branded cards in this category include:
Designed to appeal to families looking ahead to college costs, this card's most noteworthy feature is that its rewards are deposited directly into a Upromise college savings account. The card earns 1.529% cash back on all purchases if the Upromise account is linked to an "eligible College Savings Plan" — in most cases, a 529 plan (hence the odd rewards rate). If the account isn't linked to an eligible plan, the card earns only 1.25%. There's no annual fee. Read our review of the Upromise® Mastercard®.
ALTERNATIVES TO BARCLAYS' PROPRIETARY CARDS
No longer available: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
» What it offered: Regularly a top NerdWallet pick among credit cards for travelers, this card gave you 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles could be redeemed for any travel purchase — flights on any airline, stays at any hotel, and so on. The card offered a great sign-up bonus and gave you 5% of your miles back when you redeemed. The annual fee was $0 for the first year, then $89.
» Alternative: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card provides the same basic benefits: 2 miles per dollar spent on most purchases, with miles redeemable for any travel purchase. It also provides some perks that the Barclays card didn't, like reimbursement for the application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. The annual fee is $95.
» For other options: See NerdWallet's best travel credit cards.
No longer available: Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
» What it offered: This was an upgraded version of the Arrival Plus card that Barclays tried out for about six months in 2018 before discontinuing it (and bringing back the Arrival Plus). It, too, offered 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. But instead of rewarding new cardholders with a big sign-up bonus, the card focused its affection on loyal cardholders by offering up to 75,000 bonus miles a year, depending on how much you spent. The card also offered some other perks, for a higher annual fee of $150 (waived first year).
» Alternative: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a suitable alternative to this card, just as it was for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.
No longer available: Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®
» What it offered: This card gave you an unlimited 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Points were worth about a penny apiece. The annual fee was $0. What really made the card stand out, especially at the time, was that it was available to consumers with fair (or "average") credit. Most credit cards with rewards that robust require at least good credit, especially with no annual fee.
» Alternative: If you're looking to earn solid cash back rewards with fair credit, consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It pays unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases — the same rate as the regular Quicksilver card for people with good to excellent credit. The annual fee is $39.
» For other options: See NerdWallet's best credit cards for fair credit.
No longer available: Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
» What it offered: Introduced in 2015, this was one of a slew of cards offering a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It distinguished itself by giving you a 5% bonus each time you redeemed your rewards, so if you redeemed $100, the issuer would kick $5 back into your rewards balance for your next redemption. As with most cash-back cards, the annual fee was $0.
» Alternative: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® came on the market around the same time, and it, too, offers a base rewards rate of 1.5% cash back. However, the rewards have since been beefed up to also include 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase and 3% at restaurants and drugstores. The annual fee is $0.
» For other options: See NerdWallet's best cash-back credit cards.
No longer available: Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
» What it offered: A lower ongoing interest rate was the signature feature of this no-annual-fee card, although Barclays experimented with a $0 balance transfer fee and 0% APR periods. The issuer built a community among users by offering a modest rewards program based on the card's financial performance and giving cardholders the opportunity to suggest and vote on new features.
» Alternative: For a good interest-free period on purchases and balance transfers, check out the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card. If gives you a 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.74%-29.74% Variable APR.
» For other options: See NerdWallet's best 0% credit cards.