Is the RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard worth it? | July 2018

Review: RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard® – July 2018

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A no-frills card for RCI regulars.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you stay at RCI timeshare properties often.
  • Pick something else if you want a general travel rewards card.
  • Apply with good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.
Product NameRCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®
Card TypeMastercard
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases16.74%, 21.74%, or 26.74% variable
Introductory Balance Transfer APR 0% for the first first fifteen billing cycles (then 16.74%, 21.74%, or 26.74% variable)
Balance Transfer Fee3% or $5 (whichever is greater)
Cash Advance Rate26.99% variable
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction amount
Interest Free PeriodUp to 23 days
Minimum Interest$0.5
Late Payment Fee$37
Returned Payment Fee$37
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 2,500 points after your first purchase
Reward Value per Dollar1 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

The RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard® is a straightforward, no-frills credit card, aimed at those who often stay at RCI timeshare properties.

One of its perks is an easy-to-obtain signup bonus — after making just one purchase with your card — worth between $20 and $31 depending on what you redeem your rewards for. Plus, you get to earn double the rewards for RCI purchases, worth between 0.7 and 0.8 cents each (the industry average is 1 cent).

What is RCI?

RCI is a timeshare exchange network that allows timeshare owners to exchange or rent their timeshare vacations. RCI has more than 4,300 affiliated resorts across 110 countries.

The perks

  • Signup bonus.

    After you make your first purchase, you’ll earn 2,500 bonus rewards. That’s up to $31 in value. It may not seem like much, but it’s easy to get.

  • Earn rewards.

    Earn 1 rewards per dollar spent for eligible RCI purchases. Earn 2x rewards on all other purchases. Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchendise, event tickets and more.

  • No annual fee.

    You get the card’s benefits without paying an annual fee.

    What can I get with my RCI rewards?

    You can redeem RCI rewards for:

    • Travel. Flights, car rentals, hotels and more.
    • RCI Resort Dollars cards. Use these for expenses at RCI properties.
    • RCI Member Rewards credits. Use credits for exchange fees and your RCI membership renewal.

    What is the value of RCI rewards?

    Here are a few items you can get with your rewards, along with the corresponding value.

    • Amazon Echo Dot worth $49 for 12,825 rewards — value 0.3 cents.
    • Sears $25 gift card for 3,500 rewards — value 0.7 cents.
    • $250 RCI Rewards dollars for 31,000 — value 0.8 cents.
    • $100 RCI Member Rewards for 10,000 rewards — value 1 cents.

    RCI occasionally runs reward discounts, letting you buy Member Rewards at a lower cost. For example, you may be able to buy $400 Member Rewards for 20,000 rewards, giving your rewards a value of 2 cents apiece. If you’re not in a hurry to redeem your rewards, it may be best to wait for a discount.

    You’ll also like …

    • Intro APR period on balance transfers.

      Get 0% APR for the first fifteen billing cycles on balance transfers that post within the first 45 days you opened your account. After that, a variable APR of 16.74%, 21.74%, or 26.74% will apply.

    • Concierge service.

      Call Mastercard for assistance with dining, travel and entertainment reservations.

    • Fraud liability protection.

      You’re not responsible for unauthorized charges you report to Mastercard.

    What to watch out for

    • Balance transfer limitations.

      The intro APR period for balance transfers is only available if you post your transfers within 45 days of card membership. Also, you can’t make a balance transfer that exceeds your credit limit. And for each transfer you make, you’ll pay either 3% or $5 (whichever is greater).

    • Potentially high APR.

      Depending on your credit, you can get a purchase and balance transfer APR of 16.74%, 21.74%, or 26.74% Variable. This is one of the highest APRs when compared to other cards.

    • Penalty fees.

      Late and returned payments have a fee of up to $37. However, the card has no penalty APR.

    • Foreign transaction fees.

      If you’re often traveling abroad, try to refrain from using this card to avoid a 3% foreign transaction fee.

    Consider other cards if…

    • You want a general travel rewards card.

      Consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card where you get to earn points you can redeem for travel through the Bank of America Travel center. Alternatively, the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card could be a good choice. The miles you earned during a calendar year are doubled at the end of the year and you can redeem your miles for travel booking.

    • You want cash back.

      Consider the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card where you earn a flat unlimited 2% on all purchases once you become PenFed Honors Advantage member.

      If you mostly spend on specific categories like groceries or gas, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may be more useful.

    How does a balance transfer work with this card?

    Enjoy the 0% intro APR period for first fifteen billing cycles if you post your balance transfers within 45 days of card membership. After that, the rate reverts to a variable 16.74%, 21.74%, or 26.74%.

    For each balance transfer you make, you’ll pay a fee of either 3% or $5 (whichever is greater). That’s $30 fee for a $1,000 balance transfer.

    If it happens that your requested transfer amount exceeds your credit limit, Barclays may either decline or accept only a partial amount. However, no matter the size of your balance transfer, Barclays won’t accept it if it comes from another Barclays account.

    You can cancel all balance transfers you requested when you applied for the card within 10 days from the day your credit card was approved. Just call the number on the back of your card and Barclays will cancel it.

    What should I know before I apply?

    To apply, you must be at least 18 years old and a US resident. Residents of Puerto Rico and US territories are not eligible.

    You’ll need to provide the following information:

    • Full name and contact information
    • Residential status
    • Annual income and employment information
    • Social Security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name

    What credit score do I need?

    To increase your chances of approval and get a higher credit line and a low APR, apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

    Know that Barclays usually pulls your credit report from TransUnion.

    What do customers say about the RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®

    The Better Business Bureau rates Barclays with an A+, while the customers there gave the bank a composite score of 3.77 out of 5 stars. Most complaints go for poor customer service for the bank in general.

    How to apply for the RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®

    1. Go to the Barclays website and select the RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard® from the list of cards. Click Apply Now.
    2. Complete the application form with the required data.
    3. Review your application and submit it.

    How long will it take to get my RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®?

    Barclays can make an immediate decision on your application. But sometimes it may take a few days or a few weeks.

    Once approved, you’ll have your card within 7 to 10 business days. If you want to get your card sooner, Barclays has an expedited shipping option that costs $15.

    I got the card. Now what?

    • Download the Barclays and RCI® mobile apps. And set up automatic payments and alerts, or search and manage your vacations.
    • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 23 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
    • Customer service. Call Barclays customer service at 866-928-8598 for any questions you may have.

    Bottom line

    If you often stay at RCI vacation properties, the RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard® is worth a serious look. You’ll regularly earn rewards on your spending, and you can scoop up cheap Member Rewards.

    However, if you stay at RCI timeshares only occasionally, you may be better off with a card that offers larger and more consistent rewards.

    Check out other travel rewards cards or apply for this one.

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