The complete guide to the Barclays Avios Rewards programme

May 18, 2021

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Did you know that just having a specific bank account could allow you to earn both British Airways Avios every month as well as a valuable return upgrade voucher for a British Airways flight?

Barclays and Avios have teamed up to offer an awesome new banking deal, which is the only way to earn Avios from a current account in the U.K. The new product, called Barclays Avios Rewards, allows members to earn bonus Avios — 1,500 per month — as well as a slew of other BA perks for banking with Barclays.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Barclays Avios Rewards programme.

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How it works

If you’re eligible for Barclays Avios Rewards (more on the eligibility requirements below), you can opt-in through the Barclays app. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll receive the following perks:

  • 25,000 bonus Avios if you are new to Barclays, open a Barclays Premier current account and perform a current account switch from your existing bank to Barclays Premier within 90 days;
  • 2,500 bonus Avios if you have already held a Barclays Premier current account, or a Barclays Personal Wealth current account for at least four months;
  • 1,500 Avios every single month you are enrolled in the Barclays Avios Rewards programme (18,000 Avios per year); and
  • Most importantly, a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher at the end of every 12 months you are enrolled in Barclays Avios Rewards (we’ll explain how this upgrade voucher works in more detail below).

You’ll need to ensure you’ve signed up for the British Airways Executive Club programme, which is free, so Barclays can send the Avios to your account each month.

Related: The ultimate guide to UK American Express Membership Rewards

(Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)

Fees

In order to take advantage of those perks, there’s a fee of £12 per month to participate in the Barclays Avios Rewards programme. However, by TPG’s current valuation of Avios, the 1,500 Avios you will receive each month just for being enrolled more than offset this cost. In fact, we value the 1,500 Avios you’ll earn every month at £17. So, at a minimum, you’d be getting at least £5 in return value for being a part of the programme, and that’s before you even count the value of the welcome bonus and that valuable cabin upgrade voucher each and every year.

So, for someone new to Barclays, in your first year, you would earn 43,000 Avios (25,000 welcome bonus and 18,000 in monthly bonuses) plus an upgrade voucher at a cost of only £144 in programme fees. Based on our valuations, those Avios are worth a whopping £473.

How does the British Airways cabin upgrade voucher work?

At the end of each 12-month enrollment in the Barclays Avios Rewards programme, your upgrade voucher will be added to your Executive Club account in the same way a Companion Voucher earned from your British Airways American Express card would be.

The voucher is valid for travel within 24 months of being issued. You must book and travel (at least outbound) by this 24-month date. Only one voucher will be awarded per eligible Barclays Premier account. If you have opened a joint account with someone else, you will still only receive a single voucher in the name of an account holder you nominate.

The Barclays Avios Rewards upgrade voucher allows the voucher holder to book either:

  • One person for a return journey; or
  • Two people on a one-way journey.

It must be a British Airways-operated flight, booked as a reward flight with Avios and only be charged the Avios for the cabin below. This means you could book:

  • World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and only pay for Avios for World Traveller (economy);
  • Club Europe (business class) and only pay for Avios for Euro Traveller (economy); or
  • Club World (business class) and only pay for the Avios for World Traveller Plus (premium economy).

Related: Suite Escape: A Review of British Airways’ Club Suite on the A350 From London to Dubai

Unfortunately, first class is not available with this voucher.

Like with the Companion Voucher, there must be Avios reward availability in the higher class you want to use the voucher to book into. Also, you’ll have to pay any additional fees, taxes and surcharges payable for the higher class.

You do not need to book an Avios reward flight in the lower class before redeeming your upgrade voucher. Indeed, you cannot upgrade a previously booked Avios redemption flight — you would need to cancel that and start again.

Instead, you can do the whole thing at once online through your Executive Club account and you’ll be charged the lower Avios amount to book into the upgraded class with the voucher. There does not need to be Avios availability in the lower class, only in the higher class you wish to upgrade to.

Codeshare flights operated by partner airlines like Iberia and Qatar Airways, even if they have a BA flight number, are ineligible for this voucher.

Related: What are codeshare flights and how do they work?

A real benefit of this Barclays Avios Rewards upgrade voucher compared with the Companion Voucher is that while the person the voucher is awarded to must make the booking themselves (as the voucher will be stored in their Executive Club account), they do not have to be either traveller to use this voucher. They can book it for anyone they want (either one person return or two people one-way).

How valuable is this upgrade voucher?

Depending on how you use it, this voucher could be extremely valuable. Here at TPG U.K., we often use British Airways flights to New York (JFK) as a good benchmark for value. It’s a very popular BA destination both for cash fares, upgrades and Avios redemptions. In normal travel times, there’s plenty of flights each day and it’s usually relatively easy to find Avios availability.

The most valuable use of the upgrade voucher on this route would likely be from World Traveller Plus to Club World for one person, return. In late June this year, return Club World flights cost around £3,400 per person, return.

If using your upgrade voucher, you would need to pay:

  • The Avios required for a World Traveller Plus redemption (52,000 Avios return for one person as these are off-peak dates); plus
  • The fees, taxes and surcharges required for the full Club World redemption, which is £671.76 for these dates.

With TPG’s valuation of Avios of 1.1p each, the cost of your booking would be £572 worth of Avios plus £671.76 in fees, taxes and surcharges, so a total of £1,243.76 plus your Barclays Avios Rewards upgrade voucher.

Compared with the cash fares of those Club World flights, the upgrade voucher used this way will save you more than £2,000.

This is an example of one of the most valuable ways to use the voucher. If you’re just looking at an upgrade to Club Europe the value will be far less, but it’s certainly a great perk just for having a bank account.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Eligibility

Finally, the tough news. You need to be a Barclays Premier Banking customer in order to enrol in the Barclays Avios Rewards programme. This means you must have either a Barclays Premier account and/or a Barclays Personal Wealth account.

To open a Barclays Premier account, you must have a minimum annual gross (i.e. before tax) income of £75,000 that you can deposit into a Barclays account via your monthly pay. You can open a Barclays Premier account jointly with someone else, but at least one account holder must meet this income requirement by themselves.

To qualify with a Barclays Personal Wealth current account, you must have at least £100,000 invested in savings or investments with Barclays.

Other ways to earn Avios with Barclays

While the Barclays Avios Rewards programme is a lucrative and interesting way to earn Avios with Barclays, if you have other financial products with Barclays you can also earn the following:

  • 700 Avios each month for each Barclays mortgage, with a welcome bonus of 2,000 Avios if you take out a new mortgage;
  • 75 Avios each month for each Barclays home insurance or contents insurance policy;
  • 150 Avios each month for the first 12 months for each Barclays life insurance policy without critical illness cover, 500 Avios per month for the first 12 months for a life insurance policy with critical illness cover; and
  • 200 Avios each month for each Barclayloan (minimum loan amount of £5,000), with a 2,000 Avios bonus for a new Barclayloan.

Bottom line

This is an exciting new offer from Barclays and Avios. While the eligibility requirements mean you must have either a high income or a large amount to invest, if you do qualify, opt into Barclays Avios Rewards and remain in the programme for a year. The Avios you will earn over the course of the year plus that valuable upgrade voucher could save you thousands.

This is not a credit card — there’s no minimum spend required or interest charged (provided you don’t overdraw your current account). You are earning the Avios and vouchers simply for having an open account and remaining in the programme.

You can join Barclays Avios Rewards here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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