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Barclays changes its credit card application rules again – for the worse

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Barclaycard issues two of the most popular non-American Express travel credit cards:

The Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa (read my review here) – which has the easiest high value bonus in the industry of a free night at ANY Hilton hotel (even a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria) for spending just £750, and

The IHG Rewards Club Visa and Premium Visa (read my reviews here and here) – both of which give you status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card

Late last year, Barclays changed the application rules on its cards.  I was told by numerous people that the following criteria were in place:

You could no longer apply for a Barclays-issued credit card if you already had one

If you cancelled your existing Barclays card, you could apply for a different one immediately but would have to wait six months before applying for the same card again

Hilton Visa

Three people have told me since Christmas that Barclays has changed its policy again.  These are the new rules:

You cannot apply for a Barclays-issued card if you already have one

If you cancel your existing card, you must wait six months before applying for ANY Barclays issued card

I find this very surprising, to be honest.  If you want to ditch a Barclays-issued card which has no rewards and swap it for a Hilton or IHG card, you would think that Barclays would be keen.  After all, the alternative would be that you sign up for a card with a different provider instead.

But no … Barclays appears to be adopting a ‘cut off my nose to spite my face’ approach!  They would rather not make a penny off you for six months than make it easy for you to switch to a different product.

IHG Rewards Club Visa

I can’t imagine what Hilton and IHG make of this, since it obviously impact them.  A huge swathe of people who have an existing Barclaycard are now blocked from getting a Hilton or IHG card.  People who already have one of the hotel cards – and are substantially more likely than a general member of the public to want another – are also blocked.

You therefore need to think carefully about your strategy for applying for the IHG and Hilton HHonors cards.  If you currently have a non-travel Barclaycard, I would seriously consider cancelling it ASAP because you may want to start the clock on the six month gap before you can get either of the hotel cards.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (40)

  • wetboy1uk says:

    I am fed up of Barclaycard. Their customer service is crap – they could not sort out an issue with my card and the points balance. Promised a good will credit of £10 which was never received and half the time they don’t kow their own credit card rules properly.

  • ankomonkey says:

    Our lass is a housewife. She has two Amex Amexes right now and has successfully applied for an MBNA Visa/Amex duo in the past without her own salary. Does anyone have experience of Barclaycard giving cards to those with no personal salary?

  • Lee Harris says:

    I had a Barclaycard Platinum and wanted to change it to an HHonors card, so in mid December I called them and asked to change the card. They had several other cards they were willing to change it to, but not the Hhonors card, so I closed my account. They told me on the phone that I could wait for 6 months and apply for the Hhonors card.

    I waited a week (so I could be sure the account had fully closed) and applied online for the HHonors card and got an instant acceptance. I’ve had the card (and even had the voucher for a free night’s stay, already).