Barclaycard Avios & Avios Plus

This past weekend a discussion came up based on the Avios earning Barclaycard which came out back in February. It occurred to me that I hadn’t done a post on either of the 2 cards available so this is to rectify that. It isn’t just a post for a post’s sake, there’s some proper value to be had. Here’s the breakdown:

Barclaycard Avios Plus

This is the card you want in my opinion.

  • The typical signup bonus is 25,000 Avios for spending £3,000 in the first 3 months, however, this has been boosted to 50,000 Avios if you apply by 18th July. That’s a massive signup bonus for UK standards.
  • You’ll earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent
  • It costs £20 a month for as long as you have the card. Iif you are a Barclays Premier customer you get £5 of that refunded to your account each month.
  • Finally, if you spend £10,000 on the card within your 12-month anniversary period you’ll receive a free Upgrade Voucher for use on BA flights.

Barclays Avios

This is the card for those that don’t earn much money or transversely don’t spend much money.

  • The typical signup bonus is 5,000 Avios for spending £1,000 in the first 3 months, however, this has been boosted to 10,000 Avios if you apply by 18th July.
  • You’ll earn 1 Avios for every £1 spent
  • There’s no monthly cost which is good, it means you can keep the card for aslong as you like without having to pay £240 a year.
  • Finally, if you spend £20,000 on the card within your 12-month anniversary period you’ll receive a free Upgrade Voucher for use on BA flights.

The Upgrade Voucher

Let’s get into the weeds regarding the upgrade voucher. I personally don’t put much value on them due to the fact that they cant be used to upgrade from Business class to First class. That means the highest cabin you’ll be flying is Business class and with more than half of BA’s fleet using the old-style yin-yang seating, which was poor by 2017 standards never mind today’s suites, you are effectively being short-changed.

The upgrade voucher gets sent to your British Airways Executive Account within 5 working days of you meeting the spend threshold. Interestingly reading through the T&C’s it states:

Once you reach the qualifying spend amount, any refunds that are applied to your card account after this won’t affect your eligibility for the qualifying spend reward.

Point 8.2 in the “Avios-rewards-rules.pdf”

So in theory, you could go out and spend £10,000 on a product using the Avios Plus (£20k on the Avios card), trigger your upgrade voucher, wait 5 working days for it to clear then get a refund. All of which would be above board according to the T&C’s…

The voucher can be used for either 2 people 1 way or 1 person on a return journey but it has to be on an Avios booking flying on British Airways own planes with a BA flight number. Yes, that means you can’t use it for a BA Holiday booking (Flight & Hotel/Car)

The voucher is issued for 24 months. What that means is you must start your journey within that 24 months, it doesn’t have to be completed by then. A little hack for this to extend that if needed is to book and fly the first leg, say Inverness to London when you only have a few days left of the voucher. Then change the dates for the rest of your trip so that you essentially get an extra 11 months (Ticket validity is usually 365 days, so complete the full journey within the year).

Unlike the new AmEx 2for1 voucher, the Barclaycard upgrade vouchers can only be used when starting your journey in The UK.

Also unlike the AmEx voucher, you don’t have to be the one flying. So you could earn an Upgrade Voucher then book a flight and use the voucher for someone else.

Whilst I’m talking about AmEx vouchers, they can’t be used alongside Barclaycard vouchers for the same booking.

As is standard with BA, you can only upgrade once so for short haul (Europe) you can upgrade from Economy to Business. For long haul, you can upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy and Premium Economy to Business.

Fine Print

The qualifying spend reward may be a cabin upgrade voucher, or you may be offered a choice between either a cabin upgrade voucher or a specified amount of Avios….

…We’ll let you know if you have a choice of reward, and, if you do, we’ll confirm the time period in which you should select your reward and what the default reward will be.

Point 8.3 in the “Avios-rewards-rules.pdf”

This I find very interesting, so much so that I have emailed Barclaycard for clarification. You may be offered a choice between the voucher or a lump of Avios. I am curious as to who and why you would be offered Avios instead of the voucher and how many Avios you’d be offered.

Final Surmisation

The signup bonus alone is what I would be signing up to the Avios Plus card for. 50,000 Avios is a massive chunk. If you aren’t on that much money or don’t spend a lot then I would certainly get the free Avios card and earn 1 Avios per £1 spent. With AmEx, I’ll get rejected at the till every now and again and have to use a different card. I’m fairly confident you won’t have that problem with either Barclaycard as they run on Mastercard which is accepted pretty much everywhere they take card payments.

Me being me, I’d signup for the Avios Plus, spend the £3,000 to trigger the 50,000 Avios then as soon as it was posted i’d downgrade to the free Avios card and earn 1 Avios for every £1 I spend. The vouchers are pointless for me as I find you’re massively tied into when and where you can use them to. The Avios on the other hand, fly Qatar, Qantas, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, et al.

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