Andrew W. Sieber

New Uber Barclaycard Might Have Airline Partner Transfers

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. 

Barclaycard just announced details for its spectacular new Uber credit card, which is going to be one of the top cash back credit cards on the market. But this card might be even sweeter than we originally thought. The New York Times reported “Barclays and Uber said point transfers to airlines will be coming in 2018” and via VFTW Barclaycard confirmed that “we are exploring other travel redemption options for 2018, like point transfers, that could be used for Uber and some of our other card products.”

As a reminder, here are the current highlights of the Uber card:

The offer

  • Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • 4% back on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3% back on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2% back on online purchases including Uber, online shopping, and video and music streaming services
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • Up to $50 credit for online subscription services after spending $5,000 on the card per year
  • Receive invites to exclusive events and offers in select U.S. cities.
  • Up to $600 mobile phone insurance for damage and theft when the card is used to pay the monthly mobile phone bill
  • Redeem points for Uber credits, gift cards, or cash back with a simple tap
  • $0 fraud liability protection
  • Free FICO Score
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Airline partners

Barclaycard already has co-branded partnerships with the following airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Lufthansa

It’s logical to think that these would be the airline partners if this card were to actually offer transfer opportunities, although new airline partners could be involved and perhaps even hotels like Wyndham or others.

Based on the reports, it’s still not clear to me exactly what’s going to happen or even that it’s guaranteed that we’ll see point transfers. (We might even just see redemption possibilities for select airline partners.) I’m also not sure if this is going to be an option for other Barclaycard credit cards like the Arrival+, since Barclaycard mentioned this potentially coming to some of their “other card products.”

Transfer partners for the Uber card would be huge. Being able to transfer points to an airline 1:1 from a no annual fee card that earns 4% on dining will be one of the biggest game changers for travel credit card rewards, in my opinion. But it really does seem too good to be true, so I’m not sure it will happen.

It’s very possible that the transfer ratios to these partners will not be 1:1 and could be something like 3:1 or worse. Or Barclaycard could offer transfer opportunities for its other cards like the Arrival+ with different ratios. Who Knows?

While we don’t know how these things will develop, it’s very encouraging to see another issuer proposing point transfers. Although American SAAver awards might be even more difficult to obtain, it would be nice to finally have a major rewards program outside of SPG allowing transfers to them. It would also potentially open up opportunities with JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Lufthansa, and other airlines that join in on the mix. We’ll see what 2018 brings.

Cover photo by Andrew W. Sieber via Flickr.

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