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In March 2022, Barclays launched two brand new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit cards.

These cards should fundamentally change your Avios collecting strategy if you are based in the UK.

The benefits are very impressive. The Barclaycard Avios Mastercards are, easily, the most rewarding non-Amex travel credit cards on the market. They are arguably the most valuable Visa or Mastercard credit cards in the UK of any sort.

In this article we run through the two cards to help you decide which one is best for you. You can learn more about the two cards on the Barclaycard site here.

Barclaycard Avios

The application page for Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (25,000 Avios bonus) is here.

The application page for the free Barclaycard Avios credit card (5,000 Avios bonus) is here.

Irrespective of what Visa or Mastercard you are currently using alongside your BA Amex card, you should find that these two new cards are better.

I think the cards offer you more than the Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards, and those were already head and shoulders (in my view) above all other UK Visa and Mastercard products.

Unfortunately, existing Barclaycard holders – which includes the old Hilton Honors card – cannot apply as you are restricted to one Barclaycard credit card at a time. Some cardholders are being targetted with a switching bonus via the Barclaycard app if you want to give up your existing product. If you choose to cancel your existing card you will need to wait six months before making a fresh application.

There are TWO Barclaycard Avios credit cards

I have summarised the two cards below and there are links at the bottom of this page to three more in-depth articles.

The bottom line, however, is that I recommend getting the paid card because of the big 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus. You can always trade down to the free card later.

Let’s summarise the two Barclaycard Avios credit cards:

Barclaycard Avios card

The free card: Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

Note that the card has a representative APR of 23.9% variable.

The benefits are:

  • No annual fee
  • A sign-up bonus for new Barclaycard customers of 5,000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in three months
  • You earn 1 Avios per £1 spent
  • You earn a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Whilst not travel related, you also get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free

You can apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

The paid card: Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Note that the card has a representative APR of 72.4% variable based on a £20 monthly fee and an illustrative £1,200 credit limit. The APR on purchases is 23.9% variable.

The benefits are:

  • A £20 per month fee (reduced to £15 for customers who hold Barclays Avios Rewards via a Barclays Premier current account)
  • A sign-up bonus for new Barclaycard customers of 25,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in three months
  • You earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent
  • You earn a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £10,000 in a card year
  • You receive Mastercard World Elite privileges
  • Whilst not travel related, you also get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free

You can apply here.

Note that the fee is paid monthly and you can downgrade to the free card via the Barclaycard app at any point.

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card

Summary

The launch of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards is arguably a game changer:

An earnings rate which blows all other Visa or Mastercard products out of the water:

You honestly couldn’t ask for more from a non-Amex credit card. The earning rate of 1 Avios per £1 (free card) or 1.5 Avios per £1 (fee card) blows all of the competition out of the water. If you value an Avios at 1p, which we do in our articles, then you’d be getting an effective 1% to 1.5% return on your spending. This is 400%-500% more than your typical cashback Visa or Mastercard.

An annual BA upgrade voucher if you hit your spending target:

On top of an outstanding earn rate, you can earn a valuable annual cabin upgrade voucher for an Avios reward flight booking on British Airways. You can learn more about the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher in this article but it can easily save you 50,000+ Avios on a typical redemption.

A big sign-up bonus which most HfP readers will qualify for:

You also pick up a substantial sign-up bonus. Subject to the small print, you can get 5,000 Avios on the free card (spend £1,000 in three months) and 25,000 Avios on the paid card (spend £3,000 in three months).

My personal view – and what I will be doing for myself and my wife – is to apply for the £20 per month Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card. This gets us:

  • the 25,000 Avios bonus for spending £3,000 in three months
  • the higher earning rate and
  • the reduced £10,000 target for earning a cabin upgrade voucher

Once I’ve earned the bonus and the voucher we will reassess, based on how we feel about our BA Amex cards at that point. Because the £20 fee is paid monthly, we can downgrade at any time via the Barclays app.

Want to know more about the cards?

We have published three additional articles on the new Barclaycard Avios credit cards which can help you decide which one to get:

The official Barclaycard website comparing both cards is here.

How to apply

You can apply for the free Barclaycard Avios credit card (5,000 Avios bonus) here.

You can apply for the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (25,000 Avios bonus) here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (279)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Phil says:

    Anyone else had problems adding this to Pay Pal?

    Card took 14 days to arrive.
    Activated it, changed PIN and used chip and pin purchase ok.
    Registered App ok – App is flaky and likes to freeze.
    Online purchases seem to be working ok.

    • chelynnah says:

      Yes, I couldn’t add mine (a supplementary card) to either PayPal or Curve. PP kept throwing up a ‘we can’t confirm this card belongs to you’ message. We called Barclaycard and eventually requested to be put through to the Fraud team (as advised by other members with Curve issues). After OH went through security I explained to the agent what was happening (and the info I had gathered here in relation to potential fixes). He could see the attempts from Pp and Curve, cleared them and asked my to try to add to PP again. When it declined he was able to see that the address was missing which is why it couldn’t confirm anything. He fixed that, and when I tried again it went right through. No issues when I immediately followed up linking to Curve.

      Hope this helps. I’ve had no issues since he fixed it.

      • Phil says:

        Thanks Chelynnah – that is exactly what happens to us for PP and curve. I will give them a call.

  • Chris says:

    Anyone with the app “00002” error been able to get it sorted?

    • Chris says:

      Really disappointed with this one.. called up Barclays who were useless. Told me I’m getting a “00002” because they need a copy of my passport? And they can’t assist with that over the phone so I need to go into a branch? And I’ve paid £20 for the privilege!

      • Chris says:

        One hour and 10 minutes later on the phone to them – still none the wiser. Been transferred to another person who says the card number doesn’t come up on their system. Cannot recommend this card any less.

  • Phil says:

    Chris I did get that but I had not fully activated my card. I activated the card via the desktop (not the app) and the error seemed to clear after that.

  • Michael says:

    I am supposed to be getting an authentication code by text to confirm an online payment but despite requesting 3 times nothing received – am I going to have to install the app? – I hate apps 🙁

  • Sunil says:

    hello, i’ve finally received my card, being using it since monday, but i never received my 5k points on the BCAP card. Barclays have said to get in touch with yourselves….

    • Rob says:

      You need to wait 60 days from the end of the promo, although it should be quicker.

  • Robert Rosenberg says:

    I’ve got a £200 credit limit for me and my wife so it is clearly a thing! Any got a work around for it?

    • Rob says:

      This is a ‘pending’ limit which is lifted as soon as you upload the income verification they asked for.

  • Steve says:

    Card took over a week to arrive. App was glitchy but now seems to be working. Couldn’t see option to downgrade whilst looking through the app so sent a secure message to barclaycard quoting the HfP article info to ask how it’s done when the time comes – told by secure message back that I have to cancel the card and reapply after 6 months for the non-fee card. Feel a little confused and mislead as the article said it could be done in the app and Barclaycard say it’s done via message and not through app – and means closing the account, but needs a further card taking out at a later time after 6 months? Also the spendometer doesn’t seem to update, but have already been charged the first £20 before anything else!

    • Rob says:

      We’re still trying to get to the bottom of this – Barclays wrote that Q&A and it was Barclays who said you could downgrade in the app.

  • Luis says:

    In the article you say you can downgrade to free card. But Barclaycard say no. It is only possible if they give you an offer first. Now I have my introductory Avios, I will close the account.

    • Rob says:

      Everything in the three main articles was pored over and tweaked by Barclaycard (obviously, since the articles were written before the card was available).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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