25,000 bonus Avios and cabin upgrade vouchers: A review of the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
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British Airways’ Executive Club is the largest and most popular airline loyalty programme in the United Kingdom.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to collect Avios, the currency of Executive Club, is with an Avios co-branded credit card that earns Avios for every purchase you make.
Today, we’re taking a look at the brand new Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard. It’s a card packed with features that can really help you reach your travel goals sooner.
Who is this card for?
The Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is a premium card designed for people who want to supercharge their Avios balances, the currency of the British Airways Executive Club. This card is also for travellers who already fly British Airways or its Oneworld partners and want to earn even more Avios through everyday spending.
Welcome bonus and annual fee
This card offers an impressive 25,000 bonus Avios after spending £3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
Based on TPG’s current valuation of Avios, that welcome bonus is worth £275. Rather than an annual fee, there is a monthly fee of £20, so over the course of the year, you would be charged £240. For anyone uncertain about taking on a card with an annual fee, this could be a neat alternative – you only pay a monthly fee for as long as you keep the card.
If you are enrolled in Barclays Avios Rewards as well as holding the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard you will receive a £5 monthly credit to your current account every month, effectively reducing the annual fee for this card from £20 per month to £15 per month.
If applicants do have an existing Barclaycard they may be eligible to switch to an Avios Mastercard through the Barclaycard app and if eligible will receive a reduced welcome bonus of 5,000 Avios for the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard, or 1,000 Avios for the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard.
Representative Example: This card has a representative APR of 23.9% variable and a purchase rate of 23.9% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
You will receive 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on all purchases which is the equal highest rate of any Avios earning credit card in the United Kingdom (the other being the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card). Unfortunately, no bonus Avios are earned for spending directly with British Airways or other Avios partners.
As a Mastercard, you can expect acceptance at more retailers than with an American Express card.
Additionally, the card charges a 2.99% foreign transaction fee, which is more than the value of the Avios it would earn for these purchases. Because of the foreign transaction fee, it might be best to leave this card at home when you’re travelling internationally or making a non-Sterling purchase.
Avios are easy to redeem because there are so many options, from flights, cabin upgrades, hotel stays, gift vouchers and shopping. Read our ultimate guide to redeeming Avios here.
The 25,000 bonus Avios offered as a welcome bonus is enough for a return Euro Traveller peak or off-peak redemption on British Airways to anywhere in Europe British Airways flies thanks to their excellent Reward Flight Saver offer, plus fees, taxes and surcharges of £17.50 each way, per person.
With this card, you will also earn valuable cabin upgrade vouchers with British Airways every 12 months. You can upgrade a return Reward Flight booking by one cabin, for example from World Traveller Plus Premium Economy to Club World Business Class on any British Airways flight with Reward Seat availability in the higher class, except up to First Class.
You won’t be charged any extra Avios for the upgrade when redeeming the cabin upgrade voucher. Fees, taxes and surcharges are payable for the higher class.
You can earn a cabin upgrade voucher after every 12 months, provided you have spent £10,000 on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard, over those 12 months. You could use the cabin upgrade voucher to upgrade from Euro Traveller to Club Europe in Europe, or World Traveller Plus to Club World on the long-haul routes.
Which cards compete with this card?
This new card has a similar welcome bonus and monthly/annual fee to the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card, one of the most popular points and miles credit cards in the U.K. The main difference between these two cards is that first, the Barclaycard is a Mastercard, with the American Express card being an Amex, so acceptance of the card will differ slightly (Mastercard is generally accepted in more locations than American Express). Secondly, the Barclaycard earns a single person cabin upgrade voucher while the American Express card earns a companion voucher.
If you are a solo traveller the Barclaycard voucher is likely a more valuable option, while if you are travelling with a companion, the Amex companion voucher would be more valuable.
There’s also a basic version of this Barclaycard, the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard, has no annual fee but comes with a much smaller welcome bonus of only 5,000 Avios and only earns 1 Avios per £1 spent.
But the most important difference is that you’ll earn the lucrative cabin upgrade voucher much sooner with the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard after spending only £10,000. You will need to spend twice as much — £20,000 on this no annual fee Barclaycard Avios Mastercard card.
This is a very exciting new addition to the U.K. credit card market. There’s a class-equalling everyday earn rate and a huge welcome bonus of 25,000 Avios.
The cabin upgrade is a very valuable perk that can easily be worth hundreds of pounds, and the card doesn’t come with the same frustrating restrictions on welcome bonuses that American Express has imposed. Having a Barclaycard does not affect your ability to earn a welcome bonus with an American Express card, and vice versa.
You can apply for the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard here.
Featured image by Barclays
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