Which Cash Back Credit Card is Best for Priceline Purchases?

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Would you buy a used car(d)
from this woman?

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.

In Brief

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.

ATTRIBUTES
BARCLAYCARD ARRIVAL
PRICELINE CREDIT CARD
UPROMISE CREDIT CARD
BASICS & FEES
Credit neededExcellentExcellentExcellent
APR - Interest rate0% 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.
Annual fee$0$0$0
Foreign transaction fee0%3%3%
Card brandWorld MasterCardWorld MasterCardVisa Signature
INITIAL BONUS
Initial bonus points05,000$50 after first use
Minimum spend for bonus points$1,000$1000 in 1st 90 daysUse card within first 90 days
Bonus points awarded for meeting minimum spend20,000 5,000
Total bonus points after meeting minimum spend20,000 = $200 statement credit toward travel expenses10,000 = $100 statement credit$50 rebate
REWARDS EARNING STRUCTURE
Earn rate2x 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.
Bonus earnings10% bonus points on travel redemptionsNone, 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
REDEMPTIONS
Redeem for statement creditYes, in increments of 2,500 ($25) or more Yes, for any purchase of $25 or moreRequest a check;

Deposit in 529 college savings account.
Restrictions on redemptionsMust 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 optionsCan 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.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS
Free FICO Credit Scoreyes, 4 times a yearyes, 4 times a yearyes, 4 times a year
Purchase and Travel Protectionsyesyesyes
1 year free TripIt Pro subscriptionyesnono
LIMITATIONS
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.
OTHER FACTORS
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.
MY TAKE
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.

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