There are two new Avios earning Barclaycard Mastercard credit cards on the market. American Express is finally seeing some strong competition, although you can (and should) apply for both.
These are very, very good products with everything you could ask for, and are easily (in my view) the most attractive Visa or Mastercard credit cards in the UK. You get:
- a great sign-up bonus which the majority of HfP readers will qualify for
- a very high Avios earning rate
- an annual BA cabin upgrade voucher for hitting spending targets
Every HfP reader in the UK should seriously consider applying for one of these cards.
To learn more about the cards, read our Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card review here and our Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard credit card review here.
We’ve tried to answer the questions you may have
In this article, we’ve put together answers to 20 questions which you may have had about the cards.
Barclaycard contributed to and approved these answers when the cards launched in 2022, which is when we first ran a version of this article. We have updated the answers where necessary to reflect feedback since then.
Before we jump into the Q&A, let’s summarise the two Barclaycard Avios credit cards again:
The free card: Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
The representative APR is 28.9% variable.
The benefits are:
- 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
- No annual fee
- You earn a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £20,000 in a card year
The paid card: Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
The representative APR is 78.9% APR variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 28.9% variable.
The benefits are:
- 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 discounted access (£18.50) to airport lounges via DragonPass
There is a £20 per month fee (reduced to £15 for customers who hold Barclays Avios Rewards via their current account via a £5 monthly cashback credit).
Key questions on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards
“Do I need to have a Barclays Premier current account to get these credit cards?”
Absolutely not. These cards are for everyone.
(Subject to status, UK resident, over 18 etc …. but you get the point.)
“Can I get a sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards if I have a British Airways American Express credit card?”
Yes, absolutely. Having a British Airways American Express card makes no difference – you still qualify for bonus on the new Barclaycard Avios credit cards.
You get a 5,000 Avios bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios card for spending £1,000 in three months, but most HfP readers should be looking at the 25,000 Avios bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus card. This requires you to spend £3,000 in three months.
“Can I get a sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards if I currently have a Barclaycard credit card or the Barclaycard-issued Hilton Honors credit card?”
No. You would need to cancel your existing Barclaycard product and wait six months before you reapply if you want to receive the full bonus.
Some existing Barclaycard holders (but not Hilton ones, due to terms of that deal) will receive a targetted switching offer via the Barclaycard app. You would receive a smaller Avios bonus if you agree to switch – 5,000 Avios on the paid card and 1,000 Avios on the free card.
“Can I get the Barclycard Avios Mastercard if I am a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s Barclaycard Avios Mastercard?” / “Can my partner apply for their own card if they are already a supplementary card on my Barclaycard Avios Mastercard?”
A supplementary card ‘belongs’ to the original cardholder, not to the person whose name is on it. Someone who is currently a supplementary cardholder can still apply for their own card and receive a sign-up bonus.
“Can I get the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard and the sign-up bonus if I currently have a Barclaycard small business card, such as Barclaycard Select?”
Barclaycard does not treat the SME credit cards such as Select as personal cards. You can therefore apply for a Barclaycard Avios card and you will receive the sign-up bonus if accepted.
Note that Barclaycard does not allow the Avios cards to be allowed for B2B spend, so your company spending would need to remain on your Select credit card.
“What are the churning rules on these cards if you currently or recently had a Barclaycard?”
The rules are different based on what card you previously had.
As mentioned above, if you have a non-Avios Barclaycard, including the old Hilton credit card, you qualify for the full Avios sign-up bonus if you cancel your existing Barclaycard and wait six months.
If you have a non-Avios Barclaycard and want to swap NOW, you may be offered a swap deal via the Barclaycard app which offers a far smaller bonus. You would be giving up your existing Barclaycard to do this – you cannot have two cards. This deal is not available to holders of the old Hilton card – your only option is to cancel and wait six months.
If you have an Avios Barclaycard, you only qualify for another sign-up bonus if you cancel your existing card and wait for 24 months. You can re-apply for the card after six months but you won’t get another bonus.
“Can I get a sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards if I have a Barclays current account, loan or mortgage – but not a credit card?”
Yes, you’re fine.
“Is there a minimum commitment period for the Barclaycard Avios Plus card?”
No. The card fee is charged monthly, at £20. You can cancel at any point.
“Can you upgrade and downgrade between the two cards?”
Some people can, some people can’t. If you want to swap between Barclaycard Avios Plus and Barclaycard Avios, you can. Go to the Barclaycard app and select ‘Change to a different card’ under your existing Barclaycard in the ‘Cards’ section of the app.
Not everyone will see this option. If it is not offered to you, your only option is to cancel. After six months you would be able to apply again although you would not receive another bonus without a 24 month gap.
You can also apply to upgrade via the same route.
Your ‘spend to date’ towards the cabin upgrade voucher will restart from scratch if you upgrade or downgrade.
The most likely scenario is that you have the Barclaycard Avios Plus card, trigger your cabin upgrade voucher at £10,000 after a few months and then downgrade (saving £20 per month of card fee) for the rest of your card year.
“Can I apply for both Barclaycard Avios credit cards?”
No. You can only hold one of the two cards at once.
However, it is perfectly OK for both you and your partner to apply for your own individual cards and to earn a bonus and a cabin upgrade voucher on both cards.
“Do the cards work with Apple Pay?”
The cards work with Apple Pay, yes. Google Pay is not yet supported.
“Can I have free supplementary cards?”
However, instead of issuing a supplementary card, you should consider – if you can meet the target spend for the sign-up bonus – applying for a separate card for your partner. This would allow you to earn a 2nd annual cabin upgrade voucher and, of course, earn a second sign-up bonus.
“Can I manage my Barclaycard Avios credit card via an app?”
“Are the cards managed entirely online or can I choose to receive paper statements?”
You can choose to receive paper statement or go paperless – it is up to you.
“Do the cards charge a foreign exchange fee when used abroad?”
Yes. Barclaycard charges the industry-standard 2.99% fee when your card is used abroad.
“How does the cabin upgrade voucher work?”
They are identical to the vouchers offered by Barclays Premier to Barclays Avios Rewards members. They are similar – but in a number of key areas better – than the upgrade vouchers offered on the defunct Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards, if you had one of those.
“Is the cabin upgrade voucher expiry rule the same – 24 months – on both cards?”
Yes. Whilst the spending target is different depending on which Barclaycard Avios card you get (£10,000 on the Plus card vs £20,000 on the free card), ALL vouchers are valid for two years.
The other terms and conditions of the upgrade voucher are also identical irrespective of which card you earn it from.
This is a key difference between the British Airways American Express companion vouchers, which are less attractive if earned on the free card, and the Barclaycard Avios vouchers.
“Can I earn more than one cabin upgrade voucher per year?”
Not on the same Barclaycard Avios credit card, no.
You CAN earn two cabin upgrade vouchers per year if you are ALSO a member of Barclays Avios Rewards via Barclays Premier current accounts.
You CAN earn two cabin upgrade vouchers in your household if both you and your partner apply for your own Barclaycard Avios credit cards and both hit the annual spend target.
“Does the spend target for the cabin upgrade voucher work on calendar years or card years?”
Card years. You have 12 months from the date that you are accepted for the card to hit the £10,000 or £20,000 target (depending on whether you have the free card or the paid card) to earn a cabin upgrade voucher.
“Can I hold this card AND a British Airways American Express card?”
Subject to the usual credit approvals, yes.
Whilst I’m sure that Barclaycard would like you to give up your BA Amex entirely, I think – realistically – most HfP readers will initially apply for a Barclaycard Avios card to use alongside their BA Amex. Whether you decide to keep both long term, or eventually switch entirely to Barclaycard, will be up to you.
How to apply
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility 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.