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Barclays RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard – just for Timeshare Owners?


The tagline for the Barclays RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard is “Reward yourself.” We’ll find out if their rewards are really worth it, or are just another teaser for an average credit card. The RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard offers a variety of perks, but we’ll measure those perks with the fine print found in the terms and conditions, interest rates, and fees.  Then, decide for yourself whether you’re really rewarding yourself, or if the opposite is true.

Interestingly, the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard is designed especially for timeshare owners. Of course, anyone can apply for and use the card, but it’s basically designed and created for the benefit of RCI subscribing members.

If you don’t know already, RCI is a vacation club and network that specializes in timeshare and vacation properties that range from apartments to condos to resorts. RCI members have access to properties throughout the United States, Central and South America, Australia, Africa, and Europe.

RCI membership also provides a variety of rewards, but these are different from the rewards offered by the Barclay’s RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard. Be sure to read the terms and conditions that apply not only for RCI members, but for Barclays MasterCard services and terms, as well as the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard.

RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard Benefits

The Barclays RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard offer teases consumers with a variety of rewards and perks. At the top of the list is no annual fee, as well as the potential to earn rewards that can be redeemed for exchange fees, membership renewals, and more. Now that’s different, and attractive.

The RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard also offers double rewards for every dollar spent on qualified purchases (we’ll go over those in a minute) as well as 2,500 bonus rewards after you make your first purchase. In addition, when you use your RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard, you can also earn one reward for every dollar spent anywhere else.

One of the interesting things about the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard is that you can use your rewards in a variety of options. This is the first card this reviewer has personally come across that allows you to use your membership rewards on membership renewals and exchange fees. In addition, rewards can be used on a variety of travel needs including airlines, car rentals, hotels, and more.

About the Rewards Program

As with any rewards program, it’s important to know not only what kind of rewards you’ll be offered, but the rules, limitations and restrictions that may apply. Barclays Bank suggests that all consumers read and understand the bonus rewards as well as how your rewards can be earned. You also need to know about fees, terms, and interest rates before you apply.

First off, Barclays cautions that not all applicants will qualify for the RCI MasterCard or benefits attached to it, and benefits will vary depending on the card for which you are approved.

Earning Rewards

Card members with an RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard can earn rewards based on the type of transaction or purchase that has been charged to the account with your card.  You’ll earn two rewards for every dollar you spend in net purchases, and this will also apply to any room changes at participating hotel properties listed on the RCI rewards website. You can also use your rewards for car rentals, as well as for purchasing anything that’s listed in the bonus rewards partner page found on the RCI Elite Rewards site.  Be advised that the rewards are not applicable to RCI Travel, RCI Points Partners, RCI Cruise, Experiential Vacation Transactions or Lifestyle Benefits.

In addition, you can earn one reward for every dollar you spend on other transactions, but you will not earn rewards on finance charges, balance transfers, interest charges, convenience checks, cash advances or credit fees. Also, keep in mind that the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard Program is not the same and is not associated with the RCI points program, and a dining rewards as well as retail rewards are subject to specialized terms.

Terms and Conditions

When it comes to the Barclays RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard, do read the fine print when it comes to interest rates and charges. New cardholders will receive an annual percentage rate between 13.99% and 24.99% depending on your credit history and credit worthiness as perceived by Barclays Bank. Unless you have superb credit, you can expect to be in the upper teens or low 20s when your account is opened. These same APR rates apply to balance transfers.

If you want to take a cash advance with your RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard, be prepared to pay a 25.24% APR. If you make a late payment, your APR will shoot up to 27.24%, again based on your credit history and your history of purchases and payments to Barclays. This penalty APR may remain on your account indefinitely. Check out the website for more information.

Now let’s talk about fees. You won’t pay an annual membership fee for the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard, but you will pay a minimum of $10 or 4% of the amount of any balance transfer, whichever happens to be larger. When it comes to cash advances, you’ll also pay $10 minimum, or 5% of the amount of the cash advance, whichever is bigger.  When it comes to foreign transaction fees, you can expect to pay 3% fees for every transaction in US dollars.

Last but not least, penalty fees do apply. You won’t pay a penalty fee for going over your credit line, but you can pay up to $35 for late payment or a payment that has been returned. The amount you pay for late payment is determined by your past payment history as well as the state in which you live.

Bottom Line

Because the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard offered by Barclays is designed specifically for timeshare owners, as well as RCI members, the card may not appeal to those who don’t frequently travel or utilize the services of the timeshare vacation market.  Regardless, always read the fine print, as this offer comes with terms and conditions that apply not only to Barclays Bank, but Barclays MasterCard usage, the RCI organization, and the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard.

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