Well, that's really how you should treat any card with an AF that you don't plan to use regularly. If you're getting a card solely for the sign-on bonus, then earn it, cash it in and move on. Otherwise, you're just going to be paying an AF for no reason.
Currently, Barclay's doesn't offer any cards that fit my spending needs, but they do have several that are worth getting for the sign-on bonus.
I am still in the camp of, "If I don't like a bank (or their products), I won't do business with them." This "I showed them!" mentality (especially if you are doing this with multiple institutions) can feel good for a while, but it often has a way of coming back and biting us in the rear end. We have no idea, but Barclays might introduce a superior product in Q4 of this year, and they may decide they don't want to give it to you because you took their bonus and didn't use their other card. It could also be suddenly that your needs or habits change and another Barclays product starts looking good to you (or even this one, and Barclays decides to CLD you as soon as you find it useful down the line). Or hell, it might not have anything to do with Barclays. Next time you app for a new Chase card or a CLI with Chase, they may decide that with the $15K Barclays line, your total exposure to all lenders is just enough for their liking, and they don't want to extend a greater line to you.
Not saying any of these WILL happen, but it's not impossible. These types of euphoric reactions to an out-of-favor lender can often end less than well.
You do have a point. I generally get cards that I find useful and want to keep. That's how I ended up with Chase and Amex cards. I rarely sign up for cards just for the bonus, but I made an exception in this case.
Barclays has been bombarding me with pre-qual offers, which I really don't understand. They can clearly see on my credit report that I have multiple Amex and Chase cards with high credit limits. Why on earth would they think that their card would be competitive with my existing portfolio? Why do they think I would ever want to keep their card long term? Whatever algorithm they use to target their marketing is clearly flawed, and there's apparently a similarly flawed algorithm that randomly targets people with AA.
On paper the Arrival+ is a good card: >2% return with no FTF and PIN for international use. But Barclays then turns around and completely neuters it: a $89 AF where competitors have $0 AF, $100 minimum redemption where competitors have a $25 or even $0.01 minimum redemption. And my pet-peeteve is calling their cash back "miles", which is an outright lie - you can't exchange the Barclays "miles" for actual airline miles. Discover and Capital One are equally guilty of that.
Even if Barclays at some point somehow comes out with an extremely competitive product (which I highly doubt), there's plenty of competitors' cards to choose from. But for some weird reason Barclays wanted me as a customer, and now they have me. I might as well make the most of it and then move on.
Can you explain, for those of us not in the know, this Delta gift card thing?
I was unaware of such a thing, and unaware you could use such a thing to pay a credit card bill. How does that work?
The Delta gift card was just a vehicle to be able to create a travel charge at just the right amount. Let me explain.
The Arrival+ has very annoying reward redemption procedures. First of all, every $ you spend gives you 1 reward mile. My $5000 tax charge netted me 10000 miles. To get the 50000 mile signup bonus, you also have to spend a minimum of $3000, so this single charge satisfied that requirement and the net result of my single $5000 charge was 60000 "miles".
When redeeming the rewards, you have two options:
1. You can redeem for travel charges (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.). Every mile can be redeemed for 1c. The minimum redemption is 10000 miles (= $100).
2. You can redeem for cash back or gift cards at 0.5c of value. The minimum redemption is 5000 miles (=$25).
As you can see, option #1 is no only one that makes sense, because with option #2 you loose half the value for an effective cash back of only 1%, while option #1 gives you 2% cash back.
The difficulty with option #1 is that it can only be used against travel related charges, that the minimum redemption is 10000 miles ($100) and that if you don't have enough miles to offset the entire charge you can only redeem in 2500 mile ($25) increments. Once a travel charge posts, you can "erase" it with rewards miles.
Where it gets even more annoying is that for every reward redemption, you get 5% of the rewards back. For example after redeeming my 60000 miles, I will get another 3000 miles for a future redemption. Of course because this is less than the minimal redemption amount (10000 miles for travel or 5000 for cash back), you now have to spend more so you have enough miles to redeem. This is Barclays method to try to force you to keep spending on the card, because you can never redeem all miles. The least amount of unredeemable miles you can get stuck with is 250, if you redeem 5000 miles for cash back (250 is 5% of 5000).
I purchased a Delta gift card because that codes as travel and you are able to select an abitrary $ amount between up to $1000. I chose $600 because this exactly matched the number of miles I had available to redeem. Once the charge posted, I redeemed the 60000 miles and "erased" the $600 gift card purchase. The net result is that I still owe $5000 for the original tax payment, but now have a $600 Delta gift card that I can apply to any future flights on Delta.
Delta gift cards are pretty flexible. You can redeem it against flights of any value. If the flight costs less than $600, I will pay $0 and the gift card will remain valid with whatever the residual value is. If the flight costs more than $600, then I pay the difference with any other payment method (i.e. my Amex Platinum or Chase CSR).
Thanks for the information.