How to maximise the Barclays Avios Rewards Upgrade Voucher

Jul 12, 2021

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There’s a new way to earn Avios every month called Barclays Avios Rewards, giving you Avios just to keep a bank account open. If you’re eligible for Barclays Avios Rewards, 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 — worth £275 based on our most recent valuations;
  • 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 — worth £28 based on our most recent valuations;
  • 1,500 Avios each and every month you are enrolled in the Barclays Avios Rewards programme and pay the account keeping fee of £12 per month (18,000 Avios per year, worth £198 based on our valuations); and
  • A British Airways cabin upgrade Voucher at the end of every 12 months.

Related: The complete guide to the Barclays Avios Rewards programme

Today, we’re looking at how valuable the Barclays Upgrade Voucher can be and how you can maximise it.

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How does the Voucher work?

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

Related: What are the differences between the Barclays Avios Rewards Upgrade Voucher and the American Express Companion Voucher?

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 per 12 months. Each 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).

Unfortunately, first class is not available with this 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.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

How can I get the best value from the Voucher?

As the Barclays Upgrade Voucher provides a discount on the number of Avios you’ll need, you’ll only need to pay the amount of Avios required for one class below. So, you’ll save the most Avios for a longer length, return business-class redemption.

Let’s have a look at the Avios required for long-haul business-class redemptions:

Zone #

(distance in miles)

Premium economy Business
Off-peak Peak Off-peak Peak
Zone 5

(3,001-4,000 miles)

26,000 40,000 50,000 60,000
Zone 6

(4,001-5,500)

32,500 50,000 62,500 75,000
Zone 7

(5,501-6,500)

39,000 60,000 75,000 90,000
Zone 8

(6,501-7,000)

45,500 70,000 87,500 105,000
Zone 9

(7,001+)

65,000 100,000 125,000 150,000

 

The only Zone 9 destination British Airways has flown to in recent memory is Sydney (SYD), but this route has been suspended for some time due to the pandemic and is unlikely to resume anytime soon due to Australia’s tough caps on arrivals.

So redeeming your Barclays Upgrade Voucher for a Zone 8 business-class redemption:

  • On peak dates, this would usually cost you 210,000 Avios, but you will only need to pay 140,000 Avios (the premium economy peak price for the same zone), saving you 70,000 Avios; and
  • On off-peak dates, this would usually cost you 175,000 Avios, but you will only need to pay 91,000 Avios (the premium economy peak price for the same zone), saving you 84,000 Avios.

The real sweet spot here is a Zone 8 off-peak business-class redemption. You’ll only need to part with 91,000 Avios and you’ll save a whopping 84,000 Avios. If you can only travel on peak dates it’s still a good deal but you’ll need more Avios and you won’t save as many Avios, either.

Related: Suite escape: A review of British Airways’ Club Suite on the A350 from London to Dubai

Remember that you will earn your Barclays Avios Rewards Upgrade Voucher after 12 months of being enrolled in the programme and paying the 12 monthly account keeping fees. As a new product, this means no Vouchers will be issued until 2022. Assuming British Airways reinstates all of its long-haul routes next year (excluding Sydney), here are some Zone 8 destinations you can maximise your Barclays Upgrade Voucher with, redeeming for Club World/Club Suite business class return and saving 70,000-84,000 Avios, depending on dates:

  • Buenos Aires (EZE)
  • Santiago (SCL)
  • Singapore (SIN)

While you won’t quite save as many Avios, you can also look at Zone 7 destinations, where there are more options:

  • Bangkok (BKK)
  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Lima (LIM)
  • Mauritius (MRU)
  • Tokyo (NRT/HND)
  • Osaka (KIX)
  • Rio De Janeiro (GIG)
  • Sao Paulo (GRU)
  • Shanghai (PVG)

Related: The hardest and easiest long-haul routes on which you can typically find Avios availability

Akihabara Electric town, street view, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images)

Bottom line

It’s great to have a new product on the market to maximise your travel. The Barclays Avios Rewards programme doesn’t require a minimum spend like a credit card and you’ll earn this value Barclays Upgrade Voucher after completing every 12 monthly account keeping fees, just for keeping a current account open.

Hopefully, in 12 months time, travel is far more normal than it is now and you can save up to 84,000 Avios redeeming your Barclays Upgrade Voucher for a very comfortable long-haul journey.

You can join the Barclays Avios Rewards programme here.

Featured image by Busakorn Pongparnit / Getty Images

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