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How to earn Avios from Barclays Premier WITHOUT switching banks

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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.

Barclays Avios Rewards

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:

Situation 1:

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.

Scenario 2:

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points 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:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

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:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.)

Comments (48)

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Anyone using Barclays ISA or SIPP? Are they good?

    • Doug M says:

      It’s Barclays. They’ll not be the cheapest, and the good will really depend on what you invest in rather than who runs the ISA/SIPP wrapper for you.

  • Krishan says:

    Worth mentioning the Barclays premier criteria are completely flexible/discretionary and account managers have discretion to grant accounts to people below the advertised criteria. I’ve had a premier account for years and only recently has my income has gone above the threshold. Pretty sure someone else has mentioned this before as well.

  • Chris says:

    I don’t have a premium bank account at the moment, despite meeting the criteria (truth is I rarely if ever communicate with my bank). So no real affinity to Santander, nor any real drive to move

    However I am just about to buy a new house and Barclays mortgage is current most likely, was thinking this may be a good time to take out Premier account then mortgage. Any real downsides to the Premier account…especially if not comparing to HSBC?

  • Patrick Cold says:

    I`ve had Barclays Premier for a while and have no complaints about the customer service at all. I closed the account a couple of months ago, opened one with Virgin for the points (which was handled shambolically by VM), then closed that and opened another Barclays Premier account which they treated as a new application and gave me the 25,000 avios incentive.

    • sloth says:

      obviously you would benefit from the additional 700 Avios/month from having a mortgage…no downsides to a current account. its a current account. despite the normal whining on here it works perfectly fine, although personally I prefer the Natwest app. like everything its swings and roundabouts. despite all the naysayers you dont HAVE to pay your salary into these accounts. I dont and its fine

  • Sam says:

    Any idea if Barclays are likely to widen their Avois offer to those of us who don’t qualify for a Premier Account? Perhaps a credit card to fill the gap left by the Lloyds Avios Rewards card?

    • Rhys says:

      Ask us no questions and we’ll tell you no lies

      • Chas says:

        Rob – ignoring your literal message for the moment then….. I have what is effectively a dormant Barclays account, and just haven’t got around yet to upgrading it to Premier for the Avios and Upgrade voucher. Is there any likely benefit to me of either a) upgrading soon, or b) delaying my upgrade until whatever you can’t comment on happens?

        • Chas says:

          Sorry – I meant Rhys…..🙄

        • Rhys says:

          I suggest you re-read Sam’s original comment 🙂

          • Chas says:

            Rhys – but I do qualify for a Premier account. I was just wandering whether upgrading my dormant account to premier now, might preclude me from a better offering later…

  • Ivanka says:

    I’m just more interested in what Chase may be offering later this year or start of next year. The only thing that puts me off that is that Citi already tried this in the 00s and that didn’t work. Barclays doesn’t really tempt me as I’ve heard too many poor things about their offering.

    I qualify for HSBC premier but can’t be bothered with it as it just seems a bit of a vanity project with a different coloured debit card. Already have travel insurance elsewhere.

    Now if Amex did current accounts that would be interesting but it’s not in their model.

    • Ian says:

      I have an HSBC Premier account and they have been a pain in the backside over the last 9 months.

      I think I am over £500 extra with them paying me!

    • Sam says:

      It’s actually true with your comment on HSBC premier. To be fair there are some another things you can get out of it such as a credit card (with a poor cash rebate rate), the ability to make CHAP payment over the phone, or make a transfer to other global HSBC account for free but none of these benefits are substantially premium.

  • sunguy says:

    ….and here is the – “its not us – its the virus” excuses……and oooh… lets get rid of some staff and say good bye to some branches because they dont get enough footfall…..what a crock……

    “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.”

    I dont often make comments that could be considered flamey or otherwise troll like….but, in this instance, I’m just sick,tired and fedup of all the banks finding excuses to close physical branches….have you noticed in branches that there is like 1 physical staff teller position these days – HUGE queues and about 20 staff milling around doing pretty much nowt other than encouraging folks in the queue to use the automated tellers ?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I’m sure if you were running a bank you would want to close most of the branches too, easy costs to cut with minimal (if any) loss to profits. If you are suggesting areas need a local counter service, then that is better done by one branch shared by all banks, something like what the post office do but better.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Well honestly no, I haven’t noticed – because like a lot of folks by the sounds of it, I haven’t set foot inside a bank branch in years…

    • Sam says:

      People used to argue the reason for sticking to high-street banks (as opposed to virtual banks) is the in-branch services…clearly they have lost appeal for sometime.

      Let not forget the impatient call centre agent at HSBC premier service line who asked you to go to branch as he couldn’t be asked to make a CHAP payment on the phone, or staff who got reluctant to open a bank account at a Barclays branch then went speechless once they knew I did it straight up on my phone, in their branches, without the need of them…

  • JDB says:

    Yes, sounds like Ian has been caught up in a Ponzi scheme.

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