Sometimes, some credit cards get discontinued, but there really are still some hidden backdoors to get them. Let’s discuss some of these backdoors in this post.
Ritz Carlton card
The Ritz Carlton Card is no longer available for new applications. However, you can still get it via an account upgrade. Before we discuss exactly how you can get it, let’s first discuss why you would want to get it.
What is so great about the Ritz Carlton card?
The Ritz Carlton card has an annual fee of $450, but with the many great benefits that the Ritz Carlton card has the annual fee is actually low.
List of key benefits
- Annual free night: Need I say more? This benefit alone is worth a nice few hundred dollars (or maybe even a $1000+). You’re able to book a free night each year at any Marriott hotel (including Ritz Carlton) for up to 85k points per night!
- Free Ritz Carlton Club upgrades: Each year you get 3 free Ritz Carlton Club upgrades. With Ritz Carlton Club you get access to the Club lounges in the hotel and a dedicated concierge service
- Marriott Gold/Platinum status: All cardholders get complimentary Marriott Gold status. Plus, you can earn Marriott Platinum status after spending 75k on the card each cardmember year.
- Complimentary 15 Elite qualification nights: Each year you will earn 15 EQNs to help you reach a higher Marriott status faster (read more about this here).
- Priority Pass airport lounges: You get a complimentary Priority Pass membership. And what’s super exciting is that your free authorized users get their own priority pass membership as well. Plus, you can bring along as many guests as you want (most credit cards limit you to two guests).
- $300 airline incidental fee credit: The airline incidental fee will cover airline baggage fees, WiFi fees, seat upgrade fees, and more.
- Many other benefits and protections: The card comes along with many other benefits including free TSA Precheck, primary auto rental CDW insurance, and more.
How to get the Ritz Carlton card
As we mentioned above, the card is no longer available to new applications but they are available via an account upgrade. So here is what you need to do to get the Ritz Carlton card:
- Apply for a Chase Marriott card. The options are either Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ($95) or Marriott Bold ($0).
- Wait a year after opening the account (Chase requires a one-year wait time after getting a card in order to be eligible for upgrades, thanks to Regulation Z).
- After the first year is up, call Chase to upgrade your card to the Ritz Carlton card (the upgrade will only be available if your credit limit is a minimum of $10,000 or more, but you can lower the credit line after you get the card).
Barclays American AAdvantage Aviator Silver Card
The Barclays Aviator Silver card is no longer available for new applications. However, you can still get it via an account upgrade. Let’s talk about what makes this card interesting.
What is so great about the Aviator Silver card?
Like the Chase Ritz card, you’ve got an annual fee to be concerned about. This card’s fee is $199, but with the many great benefits that the Aviator Silver card has, the annual fee could be considered quite low.
List of key benefits
- Companion Certificate: The most notable benefit is that it’s got a rare companion certificate that works for two companions. If you spend $20,000 on purchases in a calendar year, you’ll get a domestic companion certificate good for a round-trip flight for just $99 each for up to two companions (plus taxes and fees). Most companion certificates are only good for a single companion.
- Free checked bag: This benefit alone is worth a few hundred dollars. You’re able to check one bag for free for you and up to 8 companions on the same reservation on every American Airlines flight.
- Preferred boarding: You’ll get to board early, which can save you a lot of time and hassle.
- Statement credit for inflight Wi-Fi: You’ll get a statement credit for up to $50 per year on inflight Wi-Fi purchases.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: You’ll get a statement credit for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every 5 years.
- No foreign transaction fees: You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees when you use your card abroad.
- Earn status with Loyalty Points: You’ll earn 5,000 AA Loyalty Points for $20,000 in spend, 5,000 more for another $20,000 in spend, and 5,000 more for another $10,000 in spend (that is, for $50,000 in spend you’ll earn 15,000 Loyalty Points)
- Statement credit for inflight food and drinks: You get a statement credit for up to $25 per day for inflight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.
How to get the Aviator Silver card
As we mentioned above, the card isn’t available to new applications but is available via an account upgrade. So here is what you need to do to get the Aviator Silver card:
- Apply for a Barclays Aviator Red card ($99 annual fee).
- Wait a year after opening the account (Barclays requires a one-year wait time after getting a card in order to be eligible for upgrades, thanks to Regulation Z).
- After the first year is up, call Barclays to upgrade your card to the Aviator Silver card (the upgrade will only be available if your credit limit is a minimum of $5,000 or more, but you can lower the credit line after you get the card).
The Barclays Arrival card is another card that is no longer available for new applications but there is still somewhat of a backdoor to get it. The backdoor is not like the backdoors mentioned above as you will need the Barclays Arrival Plus card in order to product change to the Arrival. The Barclays Arrival Plus is unfortunately also no longer available for new applications. So the backdoor will only work for those who by chance have the Arrival Plus card.
What is so great about the Arrival card?
The Arrival card is a unique card due to its earning structure. With the Arrival Plus you earn 2 points on dining and travel, and 1 point on all other purchases. This card also supports chip-and-pin transactions which are very common in Europe and sometimes the only way to pay with a card.
The points can be redeemed for a penny each to offset travel purchases made on the card within 120 days (you can only redeem points in $25 segments).
Plus, you get 5% bonus points every time you redeem your points. So you’re earning a total value of 2.1% to offset your travel and dining purchases. Plus, the actual purchases itself are earning points as well!
So for example, if you want to book a $1,000 flight using your points, you will need 100,000 points to do that.
For these 100,000 points redeemed you will get:
- $1,000 flight
- 5,000 points (5% back)
- 2,000 points (2X points on the $1,000 charge on your card)
The total is 2.14% of travel value for every dollar you spend on the card.
This is a pretty great value for a single card, but as a side note, you can get even better value with other card combos.
Here are some examples.
If you don’t understand these combos, don’t worry. Stay tuned and we will discuss them in detail in a future post.
How to get the Arrival card
The path to the Arrival card requires you to first have an Arrival Plus card, but that’s not currently available for applications. If you have one though:
- Wait a year after opening the account (Barclays requires a one-year wait time after getting a card in order to be eligible for downgrades, thanks to Regulation Z).
- After the first year is up, call Barclays and ask for a product change to the Arrival card.
Thanks to the great Matthew Wood from Miles Earn And Burn for working with us to put together this post.