Banana Republic Mastercard
I’ve lauded the Banana Republic card plenty in the past. Synchrony’s Banana Republic Visa was my favorite niche card for years. Its newest iteration is the Banana Republic Mastercard with Barclays, and the bank began offering other Gap family of stores’ co-branded cards, as well, with Old Navy, Gap, and Athleta. Throughout this cycle, I’ve continued praising these cards. But I must also be honest when things take a downward turn. Two Banana Republic Mastercard trends have jumped out at me recently. Each signifies the honeymoon is over with Barclays. Let me explain.
Welcome Offers Take a Huge Hit
Earlier in 2022, Barclays provided what I considered to be the best welcome offer of the year for big spenders who shop at the Gap family of stores brands. As part of the Barclays transition earlier in the year, Barclays offered new cardholders uncapped 5x points on all spending through the end of January 2023. Points are worth 1 cent each at the Gap family of stores. Earning 5% back to redeem for necessary clothing purchases is a huge win for shoppers to save.
Well, how’s the welcome offer these days? Right now, Barclays is providing 20% off a new cardholder’s first purchase at Banana Republic. That’s it. The Athleta card’s offer is the same. The Gap and Old Navy cards’ offers are slightly better – 25% and 30% off, respectively. Across the board, these new welcome offers are close to zero. They’re basically the same type of offer one receives from the cashier at any big box location pushing a store card.
Now, I can’t be too harsh, as historically, the reason to obtain the Banana Republic card hasn’t been the welcome offer. It’s always been more about ongoing spend offers. And those targeted offers continue. Nonetheless, compared to the previously outstanding Barclays welcome offer, signing up for these cards now is a much less lucrative play near term.
Where Are The Bonus Points?
As I just mentioned, Barclays has continued providing targeted ongoing spend offers, some better than others. Many of us are currently targeted for excellent 10x earning at grocery stores, gas stations, and on dining. The positives end there, though.
In the Synchrony days, points quickly posted to Banana Republic Rewards accounts, whether normal base points or bonus points. Generally, they showed up a few days after a purchase. That’s changed with Barclays. While base 1x earning appears in a similar timeframe, bonus points take agonizingly long to post. Indeed, enjoy this fine print:
All points from this promotion will be fulfilled within 1-2 billing cycles.
Like many of you, I’m still waiting on points from months ago. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge deal. But it’s definitely a negative change from the Synchrony norm.
In a way, we’re back to the old days with the Banana Republic card – no welcome offer and hoping for ongoing spend offers. The net negative is waiting around longer for the points. And for those of us who have healthy Banana Republic Rewards point balances, them showing up slower isn’t really a devaluation. It’s also possible that Barclays sweetens the welcome offers again in the future. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how things play out. What’s your take on the Banana Republic Mastercard these days?
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