Free Clothes 2.0 – Why the Barclays Gap Credit Cards Are Worth Your Attention Now

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Barclays Gap Credit Card

Barclays Gap Credit Card

The transition is complete!  Synchrony has transferred the Gap brands credit cards to Barclays.  Most all existing Synchrony cardholders were transferred to card versions with Barclays.  I’ve loved my Banana Republic card for years.  The wife and I received our new cards a few weeks ago but haven’t had a need to spend on them yet (more on that later).  Meanwhile, more noteworthy is that Barclays has given others a reason to pay attention to these new cards.  Today, I’m describing the refreshed Barclays Gap credit card portfolio and why prospective cardholders and old, faithful ones should pay attention.

Barclays Gap Credit Card
Source: Barclays.

Barclays Gap Credit Card Portfolio

So, what are the new cards I’m referring to?  Here they are:

  • Old Navy Navyist Rewards Mastercard
  • Gap Good Rewards Mastercard
  • Banana Republic Rewards Mastercard
  • Athleta Rewards Mastercard

All cards normally earn at the same rate – 5 points per dollar spent at Gap family of stores (Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, and factory stores) and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.  Points are worth one cent each and only redeemable for items at the Gap family of stores.  But Barclays has made things more interesting…..

Barclays Gap Credit Card
Source: Barclays.

An Outstanding Welcome Offer

The Synchrony versions of the Gap credit cards had little to no welcome offer.  Barclays flipped the script and has provided what I think is the one of the best, if not the best, credit card welcome offers currently available for anyone who shops at these stores.  In addition to earning the normal 5x for spend at the Gap family of stores, cardholders who are approved for any of the above cards earn, wait for it:

5x everywhere through 31 Jan 2023

That’s seven months of 5% back earning everywhere for a rewards currency which doesn’t easily expire (activity within the last 24 months).  I don’t think I’ve seen such a positive swing in a welcome offer – from essentially nonexistent to arguably the best welcome offer available for many – ever.

Barclays Gap Credit Card
Source: Barclays.

The Big Question

So why did many pursue a Gap family card with Synchrony if they didn’t obtain much of a welcome offer?  The answer is simple – spending offers.  In the past, targeted cardholders would routinely receive lucrative spend offers, including 5x and 10x, in generous spending categories (including grocery, gas, dining, or the outstanding “everywhere else”).  Indeed, I had some version of an ongoing spend offer on my Synchrony Banana Republic card for the majority of the time I held it.

The question now is if or when targeted spend offers will appear on the Barclays versions of the Gap cards.  There hasn’t really been concrete info or news on this front, so we’re all left to guess for now.  Some skeptically saw the departure from Synchrony to likewise be a goodbye to the spend offers.  I’m choosing a bit more optimistic approach, as we’ve been given no reason not to think spend offers will continue in some form.

Source: Barclays.

Regardless, two big customer segments have a clear path forward for the near term.  For existing cardholders, there’s no harm in continuing to hold your cards while crossing fingers for the return of spend offers (in addition to normal use which they see fit).  Remember, these are all no annual fee cards.  For prospective new customers, I feel the time is now to jump on an application for a juicy welcome offer.

The toughest decision new customers may have is to choose which card is best for them.  Given that the rewards are equal and compatible across the brands, I don’t think any one card currently stands out.  Obviously, it comes down to personal preference.  Pick the card for the store where you most frequently want to shop in the future.

Conclusion

The Synchrony days were great.  I, and many others, enjoyed those ongoing spend offers.  Barclays obtaining the portfolio has led to a bit of uncertainty there.  But it could’ve been worse.  Most all cardholders were automatically granted a new card version with Barclays.  I’m happy for that, rather than some Synchrony product change to a virtually useless credit card.  What’s your take on the Barclays Gap credit card developments?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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7 COMMENTS

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I have been a Gap Card holder for over 15 years (since I worked at baby gap in college) I never had an issue. I was not a huge user, but appreciated the discounts. In truth have never had an issue with any credit card, and it not something I think about with automatic bill pay, and keeping little to no balances.

    I received an email telling me my account would be transferred Barclay and to look for the new card in the mail. When I received my new card that would allow me to set up a new account, it showed I missed a payment + was dinged with a fee ($29). I called right away to ask them to take away the penalty seeing that I just received the card, they said they would this one time. I might add the card was postmarked after my due date.

    I immediately set up recurring payments and alerts for the new account. The next month the reoccurring payment did not go through. I got the email the day after my due date telling me I was past due. I paid the balance in full + the late fee. A month goes by, I do not touch the card and see that money has been taken out of my checking… well the recurring payment went through a month late, and on a 0 balance. I called get it worked out.

    All of that could be forgotten and seen as a messy transition, but here is why I DO NOT RECOMMEND BARCLAY. I casually checked on my credit report, I had 2 HARD inquiries from Barclay since July. I suspected fraud, but the dates line up to the day I opened my card and the day I called about the extra recurring payment. I am working on getting them taken off through the credit bureau, but it already brought down my credit score.

  2. Heads up on the 10 points for all Gas, Groceries and Dining. I ONLY received 1 point for my gasoline purchase. I called and was told I was supposed to ENROLL in the offer (even though I am one of those people that reads all the fine print) to which, they do not give an option to enroll. I called and was told they will enroll me. (I was ONLY given the opinion to enroll in their limited time 3.99% rate on all purchases, which I did, of course) Other than that I really like the Barkley’s card and like the ON BRAND points I receive with each purchase. The points and price adjustments have saved me a considerable amount of money.

    • Side note: I’m in the Gap Brands ICON level because my tall size isn’t common, therefore the fact that Gap and Old Navy have my size in most of their clothing lines makes their points system and sales prices much more valuable and easy to accumulate for me as well.

  3. What is the policy for credits on the card? Are they only held for 3 months then the credit disappears or is the credit mailed to the owner at that time?

    • Marilyn,
      As stated above, points don’t expire as long as there has been activity on the account within the last 24 months.

  4. Assuming I actually wanted to shop at those stores, you are earning 2.5 cents per $ but you have to redeem the points at those same stores so it’s really limited compared to any of the flexible currency cards or heck even a decent Discover card.

    • DaninMCI,
      Points are worth 1 cent each for redemptions, so that’s 5 cents per dollar during the 5x welcome promo. How did you calculate 2.5 cents? Regardless, it appears the cards aren’t for you – fair enough. But they may be a worthy pursuit for other individuals who shop at Gap brand stores.

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