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The best Barclays cards: Top 6 credit cards compared

Co-branded credit cards to keep you moving.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on

A historic institution since 1690, Barclays holds its roots in London and operates today in Wilmington, Delaware. It offers several financial products, such as online savings accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Still, it also offers a line of co-branded credit cards after partnering with a series of travel and other brands, such as American Airlines, JetBlue, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Carnival Cruise Line.

To find the best Barclays credit cards, we performed a thorough analysis of Barclays available cards today. Based on our research and real consumer reviews, these are our expert picks for the best Barclays credit cards in 2022.  

Upromise credit card

Best for college savings

If you are saving for college, the Upromise credit card could be an enormous help. You can spend the way you usually do but earn rewards back for your purchases that help you pay for school. If you have an eligible College Savings Plan, you could receive greater cashback with a 1.529% rewards rate. You can still earn cashback if you do not have an eligible plan, but your rewards rate drops to a 1.25% variable APR. Plus, there is a $100 bonus cash back reward when you spend just $500 in the first 90 days. There is no introductory purchase APR, but Barclays does offer a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on any balance transfers made within 45 days of opening your account. 

These are not the highest rewards out there, but they do enable you to save toward college with linked accounts easily. After that, it reverts to the typical purchase and balance transfer APR of 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%. There is no annual fee nor any foreign transaction fees to help save you money. 

Pros 

  • Intro APR for balance transfers
  • Bonus cashback
  • Extra cashback for College Savings Plans

Cons

  • No intro APR
  • Minimal cash back
  • Balance transfer fee
card highlights
intro bonusEarn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to 6 free nights at participating properties after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
APR20.49%, 24.49% or 29.49% Variable
recommended creditExcellent/Good Credit
reward rates
  • Earn 8 points per $1 spent on Hotels by Wyndham and gas
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on marketing, advertising and utilities
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases (excluding Wyndham Timeshare resorts down payments).
annual fee$95
intro purchase APR0% APR on all "Wyndham Timeshare Purchases" for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date.

The Wyndham Rewards Earner credit card is all about hotel stays, rewarding you with up to four free nights or 30,000 points when you spend 1,000 points within the first 90 days. Regular rewards include 2x the points on dining and 2x the points on purchases you make at U.S. grocery stores. Both Target and Walmart are excluded. There are also 5x the points for every dollar spent on gas purchases and those made at Hotels by Wyndham. Finally, you will receive 1x the points on all other purchases. Points are unlimited, so you do not have to worry about any caps. You can also get a 10% redemption discount when you use Wyndham go free rewards to redeem your points.

There is a variable APR of 15.74%,  19.99% or 24.99%, but you will receive a 0% APR when you purchase a Wyndham timeshare.  

Pros 

  • 0% APR on Wyndham Timeshare Purchases
  • Generous rewards for everyday spending
  • Anniversary credit

Cons

  • Restricted redemption options
  • Reduced awards for Target and Walmart
  • Resort fees separate
Wyndham Rewards Earner credit card

Wyndham Rewards Earner credit card

card highlights
intro bonusEarn 40,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and payment of annual fee
APR20.49%, 24.49% or 29.49% variable based on your creditworthiness.
recommended creditExcellent
reward rates
  • 6X points on eligible JetBlue purchases
  • 2X points at restaurants and eligible grocery stores
  • 1X points on all other purchases
annual fee$99
intro purchase APRN/A

The JetBlue Plus card has an introductory offer beginning with 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases and pay the $99 annual fee in full within the first 90 days. Rewards are generous for your travels: you will receive 6x the points on eligible JetBlue purchases with no blackout dates for any JetBlue-operated flights. There are also 2x the points on restaurant and eligible grocery purchases and 1x the points on all other purchases. You will even get your first checked bag for free. JetBlue will also give you 5,000-anniversary points and 50% savings on eligible food and drink purchases made in-flight. You will receive a $100 statement credit when you use your card to purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more. 

Your points never expire, so you can take your time redeeming them. When you are ready, you can redeem your points after you have accumulated 500 TrueBlue points. To really maximize your earnings, you have the option to pool your points with friends and family for greater cashback when you need it.

Pros 

  • Points never expire
  • Extra flight perks
  • Can pool points

Cons

  • Must pay annual fee for intro offer
  • Limited redemption options
  • Balance transfer fee
JetBlue Plus card

JetBlue Plus card

card highlights
intro bonusEarn a $100 Cash Back Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
APR21.99%, 25.99%, 29.99% Variable
recommended creditExcellent Credit
reward rates
  • Earn Unlimited 2% Cash Back on eligible Medical expenses.
  • Earn Unlimited 3% Cash Back On Gas and Drug Store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).
  • Earn Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
annual fee$0
intro purchase APRN/A

The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays can bring huge savings when you have medical expenses to cover. Rewards include unlimited 3% cashback on gas and drug store purchases, Walmart and Target excluded. There is also 2% cashback on medical expenses. The Essential Rewards Mastercard has an introductory APR of 0% for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days. Additionally, Barclays will give you a $100 cashback bonus after you make $500 in purchases within the first 90 days.

There is no annual fee, and points never expire. There are no caps, either, so you earn as many rewards as you can spend. You can redeem your rewards for your choice of cashback, an AARP membership, or more options available at BarclaysUs.com. It is a feel-good card, too. To give back, Barclays donates $10 for each new account it receives and 1% of all purchases to the AARP Foundation.

Pros 

  • Intro APR for balance transfers
  • Cashback bonus
  • Cashback for medical expenses

Cons

  • No intro purchase APR
  • High APR
  • Foreign transaction fees
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays

card highlights
intro bonusEarn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days
APR20.74%, 24.74%, or 29.74%, variable
recommended creditExcellent/Good
reward rates
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
annual fee$99
intro purchase APRN/A

With the AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard, the travel benefits are plentiful: you receive preferred boarding and your first eligible checked bag free of charge for you and up to four companions on your reservation. During your flight, you will receive 25% off in-flight food and beverage when you use your card to pay on American Airlines flights. Each year on your account anniversary, you can earn a free Companion Certificate worth $99 when you spend $30,000 and keep your account open for at least 45 days after your anniversary date. You could also receive a 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus after your account anniversary based on the miles you have earned. 

For regular rewards, there are 2x miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases, as well as telecom, office supply, and even car rental companies. All other purchases earn you one AAdvantage mile per dollar. You can earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) when you spend at least $25,000 in purchases through the end of February.

Pros 

  • Travel upgrades
  • Intro offer
  • Annual bonus option

Cons

  • No premium lounge access
  • Few benefits
  • Annual fee
AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard

AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard

card highlights
intro bonusEarn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee.
APR18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% based on your creditworthiness.
recommended creditNo Credit
reward rates
  • Earn 5x miles on purchases at flyfrontier.com
  • Earn 3x miles on restaurant purchases
  • Earn 1x miles on all other purchases
annual fee89
intro purchase APRN/A

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard does not have an introductory APR for purchases, but it does have one for balance transfers. For the first 15 months, you can receive a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers made within the first 45 days. You will also receive 50,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases and paying the $89 annual fee in full within the first 90 days. For every dollar you spend, you get one mile toward Elite Status, plus a $100 flight voucher when you spend $2,500 or more in purchases during your first year of having the card. When you fly Frontier, you receive 5x the miles per dollar spent. Rewards also include 3x the miles on restaurant purchases and 1x the miles on all other purchases. 

You can team up with family and friends to pool points that you can redeem for greater rewards. There are no blackout dates, and your points will not expire as long as you make a purchase every six months.

Pros 

  • 5x miles on Frontier flights
  • Earn miles for dining
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Annual fee 
  • Rewards may expire
  • Best rewards with Frontier
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

How did we choose these credit cards?

To find the best Barclays credit cards, we perform an exhaustive analysis of the best credit cards available today. We use a specific set of factors to analyze each credit card, including these: 

  • APR: Your credit card's APR shows how much interest you will pay on your purchases or balances transfers. This is typically dependent on your income and credit score, with APRs assigned based on creditworthiness.
  • Fee: The terms and conditions of your credit card will itemize the fees and charges associated with the card. This can include fees for things like annual fees, foreign transaction fees, cash advances, and balance transfers. 
  • Rewards: The best Barclays credit cards include regular rewards that you can redeem for cash or airline miles. Consider which rewards would make the most sense for your lifestyle and find a card to meet your specific needs.
  • Introductory offer: Many credit cards offer an introductory offer, such as a 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers or waived fees for a certain period of time. Rewards can vary significantly between cards, so we suggest comparing different Barclays credit cards to find the one that makes the most sense for your needs.    

Which is the right credit card for you?

To help you find the best Barclays credit card for you, these are expert recommendations from our ZDNet editorial team. 

Choose this product...

When you...

Upromise credit card

Are saving for college

Wyndham Rewards Earner 

Frequent Wyndham hotels

JetBlue Plus card

Spend a lot of time in the air

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays

Are a senior with medical expenses

AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard

Want corporate travel benefits

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Want to save on travel

What is a Barclays credit card?

Barclays credit cards are co-branded credit cards with respected partners, such as Wyndham hotels or American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). 

Which Barclays credit card is the best?

The best Barclays credit card depends on your specific needs. While some rewards focus on airfare and hotel, others may be limited to other perks like AARP membership. Consider which rewards will make the most sense for your lifestyle and spending habits.

What credit score do you need for a Barclays credit card?

While each application is assessed on an individual basis, Barclays generally requires good to excellent credit for its credit cards. This means a credit score between 670 and 850, although individuals with fair or poor credit may be considered.

Are there alternative cards worth considering?

In our search for the best Barclays credit cards, there were a few options that almost made our list, including these credit cards:

  • Holland America Line credit card: Great cruise rewards
  • JetBlue Business credit card: For corporate travel
  • AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: The Choice Privileges Visa card: Best for Choice Privileges rewards
  • AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: Earn airline miles

While comparing credit cards, consider our recommendations for the best airline credit card, the best travel rewards business credit card, and the best credit card for good credit

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