The new Barclays Avios Rewards scheme from Barclays Premier seems to be proving popular with Head for Points readers. The lure of an annual British Airways upgrade voucher is, unsurprisingly, attractive.
Some people have been put off by the requirement to move their day to day banking to Barclays Premier, or the requirement to have a £75,000 income. Whilst it makes sense to use a ‘premium’ banking service if your salary allows it – they are usually free, after all – you may be happy with HSBC Premier or similar.
All is not lost. You CAN have a Barclays Premier account even if you don’t have a £75,000 income or don’t want to move your day to day banking across.
How? By depositing £100,000 in a savings or investment account with Barclays.
If you don’t have a spare £100,000 floating around then this isn’t for you. Feel free to move on to the next article.
Are Barclays savings and investment accounts competitive?
It is fair to say that Barclays is not known for topping the ‘best buy’ lists with its savings products. Whatever interest rate you are offered will, almost certainly, be beatable elsewhere.
However, given how low interest rates are at the moment, it won’t be beaten by much. Factor in the tax on the interest you earn and the benefits of Barclays Avios Rewards start to look attractive.
Basically …. whilst rates remain at rock bottom levels, you may value getting the Barclays Avios Rewards benefits more than you value a little bit of extra interest.
In terms of non-ISA cash savings, the current Premier ‘exclusive’ is a 2-year flexible bond (withdrawals allowed subject to conditions) paying 0.30%.
There is also a one-year fixed rate cash ISA paying 0.25%. You could transfer an existing cash ISA product into this.
Because interest from an ISA is untaxed, it would make more sense to move cash which you have outside of an ISA wrapper into Barclays. The weaker interest rate is less noticeable on taxable interest.
For example …. let’s assume that you could get 0.6% elsewhere vs the Barclays Premier 2-year flexible bond offering 0.3%. (The Barclays product allows withdrawals so is more flexible than a standard 2-year fix and shouldn’t be compared like for like.) Based on a £100,000 investment, you would be getting £300 less interest per year with Barclays. If you are a 40% taxpayer, your net ‘loss’ would be £180. For a 45% taxpayer it is even less. Is it worth £180 per year to get access to Barclays Avios Rewards? Yes, potentially.
Barclays also has the usual range of stocks and shares ISAs etc which would accept a transfer from an existing non-Barclays product in order to meet the £100,000 criteria.
How do you open a Barclays Premier account based on savings and not income?
Barclays does not make it very clear how you go about opening a Barclays Premier account based on savings and not income.
I have been working through this with the Barclays team and this is what they told me:
You earn less than £75,000 but do have £100,000 in cash or investments you could place with Barclays
This is a little complicated, because the online application system for Barclays Premier requires you to declare an income of £75,000+.
This is the route I am told that you need to follow:
- Use the form on this page to open a Barclays Premier account. Once you state that your income is below £75,000, you will be down-sold to a standard Barclays current account.
- You call the Premier upgrade team on 0800 197 1059 to say that you want the account upgraded to Premier on the basis that you will be moving £100,000+ into a Barclays savings account
- Your account will be upgraded and you will have access to Barclays Avios Rewards
The reasons that you should get your account upgraded BEFORE you move the £100,000 is that you will then have access to the exclusive Barclays Premier products.
Whilst it is theoretically possible to do all of this via a branch, Barclays has asked us not to encourage this due to social distancing measures. Many branches have suspended personal appointments entirely.
You do earn £75,000 but would prefer not to move your day-to-day banking to Barclays Premier
This is a far easier scenario.
- Use the form on this page to open a Barclays Premier account – it will work OK because you are declaring an income of £75,000
- Once the account is open, move £100,000 into a savings or investment account with Barclays. You need to do this before Barclays makes the first check as to whether your salary is going into your new Premier account or not (which it won’t be)
- You will have access to Barclays Avios Rewards from Day 1
You will need to keep some money in your Barclays Premier current account to fund the £12 monthly fee for Barclays Avios Rewards, but you don’t need to pay your salary into it.
How does Barclays Avios Rewards work?
To avoid making this article excessively long, I don’t want to go into full details again about how Barclays Avios Rewards works. Instead, take a look at this HfP article which outlines Barclays Avios Rewards in detail.
Barclays also has a dedicated page for Barclays Avios Rewards which you can find here.
I hope you found this easier to follow than the official Barclays website when it comes to working out how to access Barclays Avios Rewards via savings. I think it is an interesting option that will appeal to some readers.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)