I call myself the Priceline Queen, so I thought it would be fun to do a little analysis of which credit card is best for Priceline purchases.
On the face of it you might guess that The Priceline Rewards Visa® Card is the best bet,but that is not always the case.
For purposes of this analysis, I focused on three cash back, no annual fee credit cards issued by Barclays.
The three contenders are:
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
The Priceline Rewards Visa® Card
Upromise World MasterCard®
Ultimately, I decided not to publish the quantitative analysis, because the results were completely dependent on the hypothetical assumptions. It makes more sense for you to consider your individual spending patterns.
Instead, I prepared a comprehensive table comparing the three options, considering the pros and cons of each of these cash-back, no annual fee credit cards from Barclay’s Bank.
The Priceline Rewards Visa® Card pays 5 percent cash back on all Priceline purchases, and it offers a $100 bonus for new applicants, after spending $1,000.
The Upromise World MasterCard® pays 3x points on gas purchases at Exxon/Mobil and 5 percent cash back on online purchases via the Upromise shopping portal, plus an additional 5 percent or so depending on the vendor, and it offers a $50 bonus after the first purchase. A ten percent payout on many travel purchases sounds pretty good, if you have faith that the Upromise shopping portal will pay out benefits. That’s a big if!
The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®offers a $200 bonus after you make $1,000 of purchases within the first three months. It pays 2x points on all travel and restaurant purchases, and you earn back 10 percent of the points your redeem for travel expenses.
You can shop through the Upromise shopping portal using any credit card, but only the Upromise World MasterCard® pays the extra five percent.
Upromise is for Everyone
You don’t have to be a college student or the parent of a college student to take advantage of the Upromise savings program. Rebates from the credit card and the Upromise shopping portal are available to anyone registered with the program. You can request a check when your rewards balance is $10 or more. The catch is that you have to remember to go through the Upromise shopping portal, and that shopping portals are not always reliable in issuing the promised rebate.
Table Comparing Three No Annual Fee Cash Back Cards
This table is large, so please click through to see the complete analysis.
PRICELINE CREDIT CARD
UPROMISE CREDIT CARD
BASICS & FEES
APR - Interest rate
0% APR for 1st 12 billing cycles; then, APR of 14.99% or 18.99% based on credit worthiness.
0% APR for 1st 12 billing cycles; then, APR of 14.99% or 20.99% based on credit worthiness.
0% APR for 1st 12 billing cycles; then, APR of 12.99% or 20.99% based on credit worthiness.
2x points on restaurants and all travel expenses; 1x points on everything else.
5x points on "eligible" Priceline.com purchases; 1x points on everything else.
5% off on online purchases at Upromise.com; 3% off gas at Exxon/Mobile; 2% off movie theaters; 1% off everything else.
10% bonus points on travel redemptions
None, but could shop through Upromise or other online portal for extra savings.
Earn extra points from merchants in shopping portal. Many online travel agencies, hotels, cruises, and car rental agencies can be found in Upromise portal.
Priceline payouts: 6% on Name Your own Price hotel; 5% on Hotels; 3.5% on Activities; 3.5% on Cruises; 5% Name Your Own Price Car; 3.5% on Rental cars; 3.5% Vacation Packages; 3.5% Name Your Own Price on Airfare; 1% on Airfare
Redeem for statement credit
Yes, in increments of 2,500 ($25) or more
Yes, for any purchase of $25 or more
Request a check;
Deposit in 529 college savings account.
Restrictions on redemptions
Must have 2,500 points minimum to redeem.
To redeem for a $100 statement credit, for example, you must redeem your points towards a purchase of $100 or more.
Quarterly checks if balance exceeds $10.
Other redemption options
Can redeem points for statement credits or gift cards at half the value of travel redemptions (not recommended).
Use to pay off Sallie Mae student loans.
Free FICO Credit Score
yes, 4 times a year
yes, 4 times a year
yes, 4 times a year
Purchase and Travel Protections
1 year free TripIt Pro subscription
Can only redeem points at full value for travel expenses.
Earn only 1x point for Priceline.com purchases on cruise bookings, non-Name Your Own Price® car reservations, and hotel reservations designated as Pay When You Stay.
Payouts from online shopping portals are often unreliable.
Hard to remember to go through shopping portal.
Initial bonus worth $222;
Subsequent earn rate of 2.2% on all travel and restaurant purchases can pad your travel funds;
Relatively easy to cash out points for statement credits for travel purchases, but may require calls to customer service;
Initial bonus worth $100 toward Priceline reservations. 5% off prepaid hotel reservations on Priceline.com.
$50 initial bonus. 3% savings on some gas purchases. 5% savings on purchases through Upromise shopping portal, plus extra payout from many travel vendors and 900 other merchants.
Good for budget travelers that prefer flexible paid travel over reward redemptions.
Good for heavy users of Priceline.
Best earning rate (app. 10%) on online travel purchases, except direct purchases from airlines and some hotel brands.
Good option if you do a lot of online shopping.
You need to consider your own spending circumstances to see which credit card makes most sense for you. Where do you come out?
Click here to compare current rewards credit card offers.
At first blush, you might think that your credit score would go down from opening a lot of rewards credit cards. It does. Your score temporarily drops a few points for each credit inquiry on your credit report.
However, if you pay your bills on time and in full every month (and you should only be in this game if you do) your score could actually increase over time.
That is because an important component of your credit score is credit utilization, or how much of the total credit line is being used.
If your total credit line increases as you open more cards, and the percent of credit utilized decreases, that can have a positive impact on your credit score.
Free FICO Score from Barclaycard Arrival: My Credit Score Increased Over Time
Six months ago, when I first gained access to my official FICO score via Barclaycard, my score was roughly 779. That is in the excellent range. (Sorry, I don’t have a screen shot.)
I wanted to give my credit score a rest, so I stopped applying for new credit cards for a while. As credit inquiries gradually dropped off my report, my score rose to 810 in January 2014.
Three months later, in April 2014, my credit score rose again to 825 out of a maximum score of 850. This is amazing considering the large number of credit cards I have applied for over the last several years.
Stay Alert for Offers for 50K Frequent Flyer Miles
My “strategy” when I first got into this game was to look for rewards cards that offered 50K bonus miles for new applicants. First, I applied for the Southwest credit card for 50K, and then the Southwest business card for 50K. Next I applied for the Delta card for 50K, and then the Delta business card for another 50K. After that I applied for the United card for 50K, and the United business card for 50K.
Actually though, I think a consolidation strategy makes more sense for a lot of people, especially leisure, budget travelers.
Nevertheless, I didn’t follow my own advice, and last summer I applied for the American Airlines AAdvantage credit card for 50K bonus miles.
With my credit score now well above 800, I was now ready to consider applying for additional travel rewards credit cards. So this weekend, I applied for the American Airlines AAdvantage business credit card for 50K bonus points. This card has a $3,000 spend requirement in the first three months to get the bonus, and it has a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. There are other offers out there for “Executive” versions of the AA card, but they had higher spend requirements than I was comfortable with.
If you have your eye on an Amex Blue Cash Preferred credit card for the 6 percent cash back on supermarket purchases – American Express just sweetened the deal. Amex has upped the sign up bonus from $150 to $250 cash back dollars after spending $1000 in the first three months, for selected applicants. This increased reward effectively offsets the $75 annual fee for three years.