Barclays is changing Travel Plus Pack – does it still make sense for 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 Travel Plus Pack

Full details of the Travel Plus Pack as it currently stands 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.  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.

But Barclays is making changes to Travel Plus Pack ….

From 2nd January 2019, Barclays is increasing the cost of Travel Plus Pack from £15.50 per month to £18.  There is now a minimum six month commitment.

The package is changing too, for the better:

The insurance is improving, with higher limits for most sorts of claim and terrorism / natural disaster cover being added.  The clause excluding any claim relating to mental health issues has also been dropped.

The car breakdown cover will now cover cars of any age (current age limit is 11 years) and the ‘five call-outs per year’ cap will be lifted

The airport lounge benefit will move from 800 lounges to 1,000

This last point IMPLIES that Barclays is dropping Dragonpass and moving to Priority Pass.  This has pros and cons, the biggest problem being that you will no longer get access to the Plaza Premium lounge in BA’s Heathrow Terminal 5.  You will also lose access to Regus airport business centres.

EDIT:  The lounge contract is staying with DragonPass.  It isn’t clear if Barclays has renegotiated the deal to include more lounges or if they are just talking up the natural growth in the DragonPass system.

Is it still good value?

To get maximum value, it makes sense to just sign up for six months, covering your main annual travel period.  You would be paying £108 (£18 x 6) 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-£20 (you can rarely buy access for less, and £20 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 it all year, however.  The annual cost is (£18 x 12) £216.  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 / Radisson / Shangri-La / Melia hotel status and 30,000 Avios or other miles for signing up!  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.

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Comments

  1. Ross Goldie says:

    What does everyone think of the new NatWest Premium Account? £28 per month with an unlimited Dragonpass included?

    • Shoestring says:

      I guess you mean https://personal.natwest.com/premier-banking/products/current-accounts/reward-black-account.html

      [Available to Premier banking customers who are aged 18 or over and a UK resident. You must also meet one of the following criteria: have a minimum £100k sole income or £120k joint income paid into your NatWest account, or £500k minimum mortgage borrowing with us, or Minimum £100k savings or investments held with us. To keep earning Rewards on your household bills, you must log into online or mobile banking at least once every three months.]

      If you meet the joining criteria plus get £125 for switching, could be a very nice Year 1, I guess, particularly if you manage to get the lounge passes in! And this bit looks good – say your CT and household bills are c.£3-4000 pa, would be a nice £60-80 discount:

      [Earning Rewards in detail
      2% back in Rewards on eligible household bills
      You’ll automatically earn Rewards on the following bills as long as you pay them by Direct Debit; Council Tax, gas, electricity, water, home & mobile phone, TV package and broadband.
      1% back in Rewards at partner retailers
      You can earn at least 1% at our partner retailers when you use your NatWest debit card.]

      Though bear in mind we can all (Amex MR points cardholders) already get 1% equiv discount just by paying those bills on Amex.

    • Open it as a joint account and you both get a dragon pass for free entry. Otherwise you have to guest your partner in for a fee (£15 or £20 can’t remember).

  2. Charlie T. says:

    FWIW, I use first directory (from first direct) and am pretty pleased with the combination of mobile phone insurance (recent iPhone claim with minimal hassle), family travel insurance (paid out £400 when we had to cut short a holiday in Florida because of Hurricane Irma without even asking to see a single piece of paperwork, but I’ve never tested it for “big” claim) and breakdown cover for £15 a month covering both parties to a joint account.

    I’m sure I could do it a little cheaper outside of the package, but not by enough to make the hassle of renewing three separate policies annually (and the massive potential impact of forgetting to) worth it compared with a one-time sign up.

    Doesn’t come with any lounge access but I’d imagined that most people here are either frequent enough fliers to have status, redeem avios/other points into premium classes that come with lounge access or fly infrequently enough that it’s no great disaster having to cough up cash for the lounge if you care enough about it.

  3. Are there more pre existing medical conditions included and what are they please

  4. Why if you suffer with pre-existing medical conditions can’t you pay a bit extra for each condition to get correct cover cheers

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