Does the Barclays Travel Plus Pack make sense for Barclays account holders?

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If you have your bank current account with Barclays, you may be interested in taking a look at the Barclays Travel Plus Pack add-on.

In general, buying an ‘add-on’ pack to your current account from your bank is a waste of money.  The services you get will usually not outweigh the cost.

This one, however, is a bit different if you are a regular traveller.

Barclays

Full details of the Travel Plus Pack are here.

In summary, you get:

Worldwide family travel insurance

RAC comprehensive breakdown cover in the UK and Europe

Airport lounge access

I am normally sceptical about ‘free’ travel insurance offers since the cover is often poor and can land you in trouble if you rely on it and have major problems.  Barclays claims that the travel insurance in the Travel Plus Pack has been awarded a 5-star rating by Defaqto, however, so it may well be all you need.

EDIT: feedback from readers confirms that the insurance is good and does cover many pre-existing conditions.  This is very rare with ‘free’ policies.

Note that each account holder and their domestic partner must be under 80 years old and the partner must live with the account holder.  All trips must start and end in the UK and last no longer than 31 days.

The airport lounge passes also have value.  You will receive six lounge passes each year which are good for most independent airport lounges.

Barclays uses the Dragonpass network which has similar coverage to Priority Pass / Lounge Club with some extra quirks, eg Regus airport business centres are included.

What does it cost?

The Travel Plus Pack costs £15.50 per month.  There is now a minimum six month commitment.  (You could previously exploit the deal by signing up for one month, using the six lounge passes and then cancelling.)

To get maximum value, it makes sense to just sign up for six months, covering your main annual travel period.  You would be paying £93 for six airport lounge passes and comprehensive travel insurance.  You could then cancel and reapply the following year.

As an airport lounge visit can be valued at £15 (you can rarely buy access for less, and £15 is the ‘additional guest fee’ for American Express Platinum and Preferred Rewards Gold card holders), the travel insurance and RAC membership are effectively free.

Or, put another way, if you usually pay £100 for family travel insurance then the airport lounge passes are free.

If you already have a Barclays current account, you should think about whether the Travel Plus Pack would work for you.  Full details are here.

I wouldn’t necessarily want to keep in all year, however.  The annual cost is £186.  This compares poorly with an American Express Platinum charge card which has a £450 fee but comes with unlimited airport lounge access for two people, travel insurance, Eurostar lounge access, Hilton / Starwood / Marriott / Carlson / Shangri-La / Melia hotel status and 30,000 Avios or other miles for signing up!  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.

Thanks to Jo for giving me a nudge to finally cover this.

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Comments

  1. My Father-in-law was taken ill in New York and all they had was the Barclays travel insurance. It paid out for him to have major heart surgery and to recuperate. Also paid for Mother in law’s accommodation so she could stay with him. They had absolutely no complaints at all.

    Our problem is that my wife has the dreaded “pre-existing medical condition” meaning that these bank insurance policies are no good for us – which is a shame, especially as we are already customers of both Barclays and Nationwide.

    • It obviously depends on the condition, but Lloyds publish a list of pre conditions that they do cover (maybe the others do too).

      • When my wife has enquired in the past, her pre-existing condition was not covered. Might be worth asking again in case they have changed terms and/or underwriters.

  2. You can also get 20% off airport parking with the Barclay’s package if you quote TPLUS. Check your docs to see which parking company they are in partnership with.

  3. This will be relevant to not many, but Barclays employees get a 30% discount on the monthly fee. It is one of the only employee perks I could find! With the 30% discount it became a good deal for me.

    • Oh, and I found the dragon pass customer service to be excellent when I’ve been at airports without my card-they sorted out access in a minute or two with a quick call.

  4. Whilst RAC membership gets a mention in the initial list of benefits it then gets no further mention in the value analysis. I know, Rob, you don’t run a car but, for me, the RAC piece adds a valuable final value element to the Barclays offering.

    • Oh dear, our car is too old to qualify for the EU cover! Otherwise this would be a really valuable addition for car owners. Still not too shabby, just for the UK cover but wouldn’t, of itself, be worth the fee. If the travel insurance works for you then I reckon this is a good value package.

  5. Harry has been banging on about the Barclays Travel Pack for years, so a hat tip in his direction wouldn’t go amiss 🙂

    For me, the package falls down as it requires a Barclays current account. That would be a step too far for me.

  6. I just can’t bring myself to think of Plat Amex as a good deal. But then due to partner having a NatWest Black account we already have the travel insurance and PP from that. It’s a lot more expensive than the travel pack from Barclays but if you can make the other benefits work then you can get back the fee – £336pa. TBH if you have OW sapphire or above and you travel mainly OW I can’t even find much value from the PP we have as it is. Anyway it is all down to personal travel patterns (and the ability to influence your partner’s choice of financial products!) but try as I might I can’t find the Amex £450 good value. Obviously you can get the 30000 points sign up without keeping it for a year and the hotel statuses too.

    • What swings it for us (apart from the fact I get my BAPP for free as long as I hold Plat, due to an offer which ended in 2005!) is the 4pm guaranteed check-out on Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings. We make substantial use of this on weekends away and it makes a real difference.

      This only goes to show how much it depends on your personal travel pattern though. We do use the car hire insurance (and have claimed twice), use the travel insurance (and have claimed 3 times), rarely use Priority Pass, do use the Eurostar lounges, occasionally use Starwood Gold but rarely the other hotel cards etc.

  7. Has anyone looked in depth at the HSBC Premier Current account travel insurance? I get the impression that both this and Amex Plat Travel Insurance are decent, so wondering if either of these are true alternatives to a regular travel insurance policy.

  8. Is the Airport Angel thing still around? Or has that turned into Dragonpass?
    I remember registering my details and Barclays sent me cards for two years but then stopped.
    Is this a perk of anything else from Barclays (ie. Premier). IIRC this was great, had 6 passes a year but was able to guest someone in as well.

  9. First Directory is another similar option, for first direct customers. It doesn’t have the lounge access, but travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance are the main ones.

    The big advantage over Amex Plat is that they cover pre-existing conditions for no additional cost – subject to a declaration and approval process, that I’ve had no problems with and would usually add hundreds on a stand alone policy.

  10. Wally1976 says:

    Also worth noting that with Barclays Blue Rewards if you set up 2 direct debits on the account (to Tesco savings accounts or charity or whatever) and pay £800 a month into your current account (can transfer in from another account and straight back out again) you can get £7 a month in rewards (although you have to pay £3 a month back so it’s a net £4 a month gain). You can get extra if you have other products with Barclays.

    http://www.barclays.co.uk/current-accounts/blue-rewards

    I personally use Nationwide FlexPlus for reasons outlined above. Although I did use Barclays Travel Pack plus when it was possible to just pay for the one month, use the lounge passes and then cancel (sadly no longer possible as Rob notes in the article).

    • I have the nationwide Flexplus which offers worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance , and car breakdown all for £10 per month as well as 2.5% interest on the money up to £2500

  11. We have had the Barclays Travel pack insurance and claimed twice in the last four years once due to cancelling before departure and once due to curtailment. Both times paid out was prompt and without any fuss. As mentioned above, the RAC cover for my wife and me is worth over £100 alone. We have the gadget insurance pack as well and claimed twice on that as well, again no quibbles.

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