Pleasant Surprises from Barclays (e.g. 16k BW on $750+/mo on 3 mos)

Ok, ok it’s been a while. Life got busy with travel, a hurricane, a major product release at my real job, and well… Let me just say that I don’t know how the every-day bloggers manage it. I could write a whole post on that (and tried to on a flight home but it got pretty rambling after the 3rd gin and tonic). Since the last post, I’ve made it to Milwaukee to buy a car and drive it south, DC, Minneapolis, and Phoenix.

Anyway, the mail came in a few minutes ago with an offer on my Barclays Best Western Mastercard that I picked up in my last churn. The offer is 16,000 Best Western points after spending $750/month in October, November, and December. This offer is targeted and not that terribly exciting itself but here’s the thing… Over the last few years of doing this, I’ve probably received 3-4 offers like this on Airtran, US Airways, and now Best Western cards (sometimes by mail, sometimes by post). I’ve also heard of others (update: like MommyPoints today) getting these offers when I haven’t. Are they ground-shaking offers? Of course not, but worth keeping an eye out for.

I speculate that they’re in response to low activity on a new’ish account. Back when “bumping the bonus” was all the rage at Amex, I tried the same technique when I wasn’t targeted for one of these promos. It went nowhere with Barclays. To be honest, I think that the reps really had no idea what I was even talking about so don’t expect that you can call up and get enrolled if you weren’t targeted but if you’ve done so successfully, I’d sure like to know!

As to this offer itself, if I spend exactly $750/month for the 3 months, I’ll earn 2,250 points on spend plus 16,000 on the threshold for a total of 18,250 BW.  That’s means it’s up to 8.1 BW per dollar. BW’s not a primary program for us but it’s nice to have some points in the bank since their network is so large (it was my fall back for my wife’s evacuation plan from NOLA when no other points currencies were working in the region). Further, they aren’t that easy to accumulate without staying at BW’s because a 1:1 transfer from Amex MR isn’t typically a good value and the base credit card spending of 1 point / $ is pretty underwhelming.

I won’t get into a full valuation exercise but a quick analysis shows a hard bottom of $.0042 each and I think a reasonable upper bound is $.01 each based on use for BW rooms. That gives a net rate of return on this promo of 3.4% to 8.1%.  That’s a pretty good return. Not as good as sign-up bonuses or some prepaid/gift card techniques but respectable for normal uses.

Since I’m lucky enough to have some excess spend, I’ll be impressing my friends, servers, and coworkers with my prestigious Barclay’s Best Western MC this fall.

PS: If I wanted to really leverage, I’d take a look at the BW promos (see Loyalty Traveler blog for those) and find some good best price guarantee opportunities (I can often get effectively free rooms) where I can use my BW MC at 15 base BW points per dollar while at the same time driving toward my monthly spending goals in this promo… Then take the stack of BW gift cards from price matches and sell them or use them in the future. A while back, for S&G’s, I challenged myself to see how quickly and often I could pick up BW free stays via their price guarantee. Turns out the nearest BW routinely had price mismatches and if I was willing to drive back and forth, I could have hit 15 nights in less than a month at no net out of pocket cost while generating quite a few BW points and achieved BW Platinum Elite. That just felt wrong to do though and, practically, I wondered how quickly I’d be flagged and banned from BW or some such response. That said, let me just say that I really like their price guarantee policy.

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2 comments

  1. […] for an inexpensive, basic hotel recently and started with one of my favorite approaches, one that I referenced just a week ago. I always meant to detail that approach (though as usual Loyalty Traveler did a good job) but in a […]

  2. […] for a Best Western Mastercard offering 48k points on first purchase and no annual fee, followed by a targeted offer of 16k BW on 3 months of spending $750, I found myself wondering how I would value these but assumed $.01/pt […]

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