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

Review: RCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®- February 2018

A no-frills card for RCI regulars.

  • Get this card if… you stay at RCI timeshare properties often.
  • Pick something else if…you rarely stay at RCI timeshares or you want general travel rewards.
  • Recommended good to excellent credit score of 680 to 850.
Product NameRCI Elite Rewards® Mastercard®
Intro APR for Balance Transfer0% Intro APR for first fifteen billing cycles (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)16.24%, 20.24% or 23.24% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )16.24%, 20.24% or 23.24% variable
Annual fee$0
Cash Advance Rate26.49% variable
Card TypeMastercard
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 23 days
Returned Payment Fee$37
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
3% of transaction value
Minimum Interest$0.50
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0
Returned Payment Fee$37
Late Payment Fee$37
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Rewards ProgramBarclaycard Rewards
Bonus Points on Sign-up2,500
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC)2
Points ExpiryNever

The basics

The RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard is a straightforward, no-frills credit card. It doesn’t offer many benefits, but it comes with no annual fee.

The signup bonus is easy to obtain, after making just one purchase with your card. It’s good for 2,500 rewards points worth between $20 and $31 depending on what you redeem them for.

Rewards

You’ll earn 1x rewards on all purchases and 2x rewards on eligible RCI purchases. Unfortunately, rewards are typically worth between 0.7 and 0.8 cents each (the industry average is 1 cent).

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

ItemCostValue of 1 reward
$25 Applebee’s gift card3,500 rewards0.7 cents
$50 Avis rental certificate7,000 rewards0.7 cents
$250 RCI Resort Dollars31,000 rewards0.8 cents

The lone bright spot is that you can trade your rewards for Member Rewards for spending on RCI membership renewal and exchange fees. You can also use Member Rewards to buy RCI Guest Certificates, which allow friends and family members to book vacations through your RCI account.

For higher-value RCI Member Rewards, your rewards are normally worth up to 1.25 cents each.

ItemCostValue of 1 reward
$100 RCI Member Rewards10,000 rewards1 cent
$200 RCI Member Rewards16,000 rewards1.25 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.

Is the card worth getting?

If you often stay at RCI vacation properties, the RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard is worth a serious look. You’ll regularly earn 2x rewards on your spending, and you can scoop up cheap Member Rewards.

If you stay at RCI timeshares only occasionally, you may be better off with a card that offers larger and more consistent rewards. Consider the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card, a no-annual-fee card that offers 1.5x points for all spending.

The perks

  • Signup bonus: 2,500 bonus rewards.
    After you make your first purchase, you’ll earn 2,500 bonus rewards.
  • Rewards: Earn rewards on all purchases, and more on eligible RCI purchases.
    On all purchases, you’ll earn 1x rewards per dollar you spend. When you make eligible RCI purchases, you’ll earn 2x rewards per dollar you spend.
  • No annual fee.

What can I use RCI rewards for?

Redeem your 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.

You’ll also like …

  • Intro balance transfer APR. Get 0% APR for the first fifteen billing cycles on balance transfers that post within the first 45 days.
  • Concierge service. Call Mastercard for assistance with dining, travel and entertainment reservations.
  • $0 Fraud Liability protection. You’re not responsible for unauthorized charges you report to Mastercard.

What to watch out for

  • Potentially high APR. Depending on your credit, you could have a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 16.24%, 20.24% or 23.24% variable.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. Cash advances come with a 26.49% variable APR.
  • Other fees. The card has balance transfer, cash advance and foreign transaction fees.
  • Penalty fees. Late and returned payments can hurt: You’ll pay up to $37.00.

What should I know before I apply?

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

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

Information you’ll need

  • 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?

You’ll have a better chance of approval for the RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

How to apply for the RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard

1. Go to the Barclaycard RCI Elite Rewards site and click Apply Now.

RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard step 1

2. Complete the application with details like your name, contact information, employment information and Social Security number. Then click Apply to submit your application.

RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard step 2

How long will it take to be approved?

Typically, you’ll receive an immediate decision on your application. In rare cases, you may need to wait a few days to a few weeks until Barclaycard manually approves your application.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Pay your bill online at the Barclaycard website, where you can also enroll in autopay.
  • 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.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $37. Balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, contact Barclaycard customer service at 866-928-8598.

Bottom line

If you’re an RCI regular, this card is a fine choice. It offers accelerated earnings for eligible RCI purchases and good redemption power for Member Rewards. Furthermore, you can’t beat a $0 p.a. annual fee.

If you don’t stay at RCI timeshares often, you’re probably better off with a different card. Look into general travel cards like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

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