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A new Avios Barclaycard has just entered the market offering many benefits. Up to 25,000 Avios Points are available, as well as a free flight companion voucher, as long as the conditions are met. Although to gain the maximum rewards a monthly fee is required but is the monthly fee worth the benefits and are the conditions achievable?
I have recently applied for, and have been accepted for, the Plus Avios Barclaycard and want to explain the reasons I signed up – and the pros – but also the considerations against, and why and when this new card may not be right for you.
The Barclaycard Avios is worth it if the minimum spending required for the bonus Avios is achievable by the person applying. This is £1,000 over 3 months for the standard card or £3,000 over 3 months for the Plus card. The companion voucher is worth it alone if the annual spend is possible.
There are lots of good rewards, as many caveats, and ways to use your Avios Barclaycard to the maximum to earn the most amount points and collect the biggest bonuses. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits on offer and when these benefits aren’t worth it for some.
What Is the Avios Barclaycard
The Avios Barclaycard is a new Avios Point earning credit card from Barclays. It mirrors the Amex credit card very closely with card types, rewards, and bonuses but with two distinct differences – which will be explained shortly. Unlike the American Express Avios card, the Avios Barclaycard uses MasterCard, which is more widely accepted in the UK.
I have been using my Premium Amex Card in the UK for over 6 months and only a small number of times have I been restricted from using it. Almost all of these were very small shops where I could understand their reluctance to absorb the higher Amex processing fees. There are two main cards on offer from Barclaycard with different costs, and different rewards.
The key benefit of the standard Avios Barclaycard is that it doesn’t come with a monthly fee.
As there is no fee, the benefits are reduced but are still attractive. These include:
- 5,000 Bonus Avios if £1,000 is spent on the card within 3 months
- No annual or monthly fee
- 1 Avios for (virtually) every £1 spent on the Avios Barclaycard
- Free Companion Voucher if £20,000 is spent on the card in 12 months
The companion voucher is a lot more difficult to reach with the standard card, and if you are planning on spending this much you may want to look at the Premium card.
Barclaycard Avios Plus
This Plus card comes with much better benefits, and easier-to-achieve rewards, but does incur a monthly fee.
- 25,000 Bonus Avios if £3,000 is spent on the card within 3 months
- £20 monthly fee
- 1.5 Avios for (virtually) every £1 spent on the Premium Avios Barclaycard
- Free Companion Voucher if £10,000 is spent on the card in a 12-month period
- World Elite Mastercard Status
The key reason any Avios collector would take out the Avios Mastercard is to collect the bonus Avios on offer. This is 5,000 Avios for the Standard card and 25,000 Avios for the Plus card. The additional 20,000 Avios looks very attractive, but it is worth bearing in mind it will cost £20 per month – or £240 a year – for these extra points, and as we will see below in our calculations, it is cheaper to buy 20,000 direct from BA.
In order for the 25,000 to be worth it to any application, there must be other factors.
Free Companion Voucher
The free companion voucher is a great benefit. I have used a free companion voucher I received using a different card this year, and it has saved more than £2,000 based on the standard Business Class flights.
There are caveats, as always. The free companion voucher can only be used for Avios reward bookings, not cash bookings or part cash bookings. This means you need to have the full Avios points required for the reward flight to take a companion with you. For example, it costs a minimum of 100,000 Avios per person to fly return to New York from London in Business Class.
Therefore, two people can fly for 100,000 Avios with a Companion Voucher, rather than needing 200,000 Avios.
Related: How Many Avios for a FREE Flight!
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only caveat. Avios reward flights need to have reward seats available. There are only a certain, and generally small number, of seats per flight that are allocated for reward seat purchase. If the reward seats for the flight you wish to travel on have already been claimed, you will either need to choose a different flight or pay full price.
Finding reward seats on British Airways can be a challenge. Also, it is worth noting, the reward seat only applies to the seat cost. Airline fees and charges still apply per ticket. This can be up to £1,000 per person depending on the flight class and route. Despite all these caveats and restrictions, the Companion Voucher can help save money on any booking and is well worth trying to save for.
Avios Barclaycard vs Buying Avios
I wanted to find out how attractive, and how worthwhile it is, to take out the Barclaycard Avios card for the bonus Avios alone. The standard card with zero annual fees can provide 5,000 Avios points if £1,000 is spent in 3 months. This is a spend of £334 a month to pass the threshold needed.
If you feel this is possible and were going to take out a credit card – and had no balance to transfer where other balance-free transfer cards could be more attractive – then the 5,000 Avios may be totally worth it.
The cost to purchase 5,000 Avios from British Airways directly is £95 (as of today).
On the other hand, the Barclaycard Avios Plus has 25,000 Avios Points available, as long as £3,000 is spent within 3 months of opening the card. The cost to purchase 25,000 Avios from British Airways directly is £415!
Compare this to the monthly £20 fee, and over a year you will still be £175 better off (as long as no interest is incurred on the card, and all balances are paid on time to prevent interest charges). Not only this but you will also earn 4,500 extra Avios for spending £3,000 (1.5 Avios per £1 spent) so really you will be collecting 29,500 Avios, which ordinarily would cost £495 (for 30,000 Avios).
Therefore, if a spend of £3,000 over three months is possible as part of your regular spending, the 25,000 Avios can really be worth it!
When Avios Barclaycard is NOT Worth it
Before taking out any credit card, you need to be sure it is 100% right for you and worthwhile from a bonus and cost point of view. Travel reward credit cards usually come with higher APRs, and annual or monthly fees, so the benefits have to work in your favor. The main reason the Avios Barclaycard will not be worth it is if the minimum spend amount for the bonus Avios is not achievable.
As a reminder, this is £1,000 over three months for the standard card or £3,000 over 3 months for the Premium card. The 1 Avios for every £1 spent, or 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on the Premium card, gives an advantage but at this rate, you would need to spend between £75,000 to £100,000 on the card to earn enough Avios for one return Business Class flight from London to New York.
If £3,000 over 3 months, but £10,000 over a year, is possible then the Barclaycard Avios Plus could be worth it, if you plan to fly with a friend, family member, or partner. The £240 annual fee (£20 per month over 12 months) is almost guaranteed to save you money IF you can collect enough Avios for a reward flight AND the reward seats you need are available.
Is Avios Barclaycard Worth It? – The Insider’s Notes
The Avios Barclaycard has several benefits if the strict conditions are met. The Avios Barclaycard uses Mastercard to fulfill its transactions, which is more widely accepted than the other Avios earning credit cards from American Express. Achieve the minimum spend and the rewards really do pay for themselves, as long as all balances are paid on time to prevent incurring interest.
If the minimum spend amount for the bonus Avios is achievable, then the new Avios Barclaycard is worth it for anyone who is looking to build or boost Avios in their BA Executive account.