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What are the benefits of the free Barclaycard Avios credit card?

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Why should you get the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card?

Today, I want to look at the top 10 card benefits you get if you apply for the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card.

You can apply for the card here.

Here is the legal information we need to tell you:

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

Bonus: 5,000 Avios

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Receive an Avios upgrade voucher when you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Upgrade a return BA flight for one person or two one-way flights for a couple
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 29.9% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5,000 Avios sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card if you spend £1,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous six months, have held any other Barclaycard credit card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s Barclaycard account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous six months, you have had a British Airways American Express credit card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the upgrade voucher and the other card benefits.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £20,000 on the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard, you receive a voucher entitling you to:

  • book a return Avios flight for one person, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin (ie book Club World but only pay the World Traveller Plus Avios requirement)
  • book a one-way Avios flight, or one leg of a return flight, for two people, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin

The voucher is valid for two years.  Full taxes and charges need to be paid on both tickets, based on the cabin you fly.

The voucher can be used for anyone, as long as the booking is made from the Avios account of the cardholder.

The voucher cannot be used to fly in First Class.

You receive your voucher within five days of reaching the spending target.

The top 10 benefits of the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card:

1. You receive 5,000 Avios points for signing up

The Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard credit card comes with a sign-up bonus worth 5,000 Avios.

(If the information box above shows a higher bonus, you will receive this. The box is automatically updated with the best deal available on the date you are reading this.)

You need to spend £1,000 within three months to receive the bonus.

To be honest, if you can manage to spend £3,000 within three months, I would recommend getting the Avios Plus credit card instead. The fee is easily offset by the higher 25,000 Avios bonus and you can trade down to the free card once you have triggered the bonus.

2. You are highly likely to qualify for the bonus

Many people find they are disqualified from receiving a bonus on a new American Express card because of other Amex cards that they have held in the past two years.

This is less likely to be a probem with Barclaycard.

You qualify for the bonus as long as you haven’t had either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards in your name (supplementary cards do not count) in the previous 24 months.

You should note, however, that Barclaycard does not allow you to hold two of its cards at the same time. If you have an existing Barclaycard credit card of any type – including the now-closed Hilton Honors card – you would need to cancel it and wait six months before you could apply for a Barclaycard Avios credit card.

3. You receive 1 Avios for every £1 you spend on the card

There are a few exceptions (cash withdrawals do not earn points) but in reality virtually every £1 you spend will earn 1 Avios point.

This is, by far, the most generous return on a free credit card in the UK.

It is 33% more generous than the UK’s second best free credit card, the Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard. This earns a (still very good) 0.75 Virgin Points per £1 spent.

benefits of Barclaycard Avios mastercard credit card

4. It’s a Mastercard, with wide acceptance

Whilst American Express runs some excellent reward credit cards, you can’t escape the fact that they are not accepted everywhere. The Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is accepted more widely.

Even if you have or plan to get a British Airways American Express credit card, I still recommend getting one of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards to use where Amex is not accepted.

If you were planning to get the paid-for British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, this free Barclaycard Avios card is the best card to hold for those places where Amex is not accepted.

5. You receive an upgrade voucher for an Avios redemption when you spend £20,000 in a card year

When you spend £20,000 in your current card year, a voucher will be deposited in your British Airways Executive Club account allowing you to upgrade a return Avios flight for one person or a one-way Avios flight for two people.

This HfP article explains how the Barclaycard upgrade vouchers work. In simple terms, all you need to know is that they are not really upgrade vouchers, they are ‘book an Avios seat and only pay the Avios of the next cabin down’ vouchers.

This means that, if you want to fly in Business Class, you need to look for flights with Avios availability in Business Class but you will only be charged the Avios needed for Premium Economy (long haul) or Economy (short haul).

6. The voucher on the free credit card is the same as the voucher on the paid-for card

With the British Airways American Express cards, the voucher you get on the free card (241 in economy only, valid for one year) is far poorer than the voucher you get on the Premium Plus card (241 valid in all classes, voucher valid for two years).

This isn’t the case with Barclaycard. The voucher is identical (valid for two years, identical terms) across both of the cards. The only difference is the spending you need to trigger it – £20,000 on the free card vs £10,000 on the Avios Plus paid-for card.

benefits Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard credit card

7. The upgrade voucher can be used for anyone, not just yourself

If you have or had a British Airways American Express credit card, you will know that the annual 2-4-1 companion voucher can only be used if you travel. You cannot gift it to someone else.

The Barclaycard upgrade voucher is different. As long as you make the booking from your Executive Club account using your Avios, anyone can be the traveller. This gives you more flexibility, especially if a family of three uses it alongside a 2-4-1 companion voucher from a BA Amex card.

8. Apple Pay is now supported

Whilst it wasn’t available when the card launched in 2022, the Barclaycard Avios credit card does now support Apple Pay.

9. You can give your partner a free supplementary card

Barclaycard will let you issue a free supplementary card to someone else, allowing their spending to earn Avios for you and count towards your annual upgrade voucher.

Obviously you are responsible for paying the charges on the supplementary card, which are added to your monthly statement.

10. You can join Barclays Premier and receive a second annual Barclays Upgrade Voucher

Barclays Premier has its own Avios deal. You can learn more about Barclays Premier here.

You will receive another annual Barclays Upgrade Voucher for an Avios redemption each year simply for having the account. This means that you could earn two upgrade vouchers each year (one from the credit card, one from Barclays Premier) which could be used together to allow a couple to both upgrade an Avios return flight.

Note that a minimum annual income of £75,000 is required for Barclays Premier.

Conclusion

The free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card is an excellent product, with the highest earning rate of any free UK credit card and the annual upgrade voucher on top.  You only need to spend £20,000 in a year to trigger the voucher and you have two years to use it.

Throw in the sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios and you have a great package which gives an excellent return on your spending.

You can sign up for the Barclaycard Avios credit card, or find out more information, on the official website here.

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

Bonus: 5,000 Avios

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Receive an Avios upgrade voucher when you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Upgrade a return BA flight for one person or two one-way flights for a couple
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 29.9% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5,000 Avios sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card if you spend £1,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous six months, have held any other Barclaycard credit card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s Barclaycard account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous six months, you have had a British Airways American Express credit card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the upgrade voucher and the other card benefits.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £20,000 on the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard, you receive a voucher entitling you to:

  • book a return Avios flight for one person, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin (ie book Club World but only pay the World Traveller Plus Avios requirement)
  • book a one-way Avios flight, or one leg of a return flight, for two people, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin

The voucher is valid for two years.  Full taxes and charges need to be paid on both tickets, based on the cabin you fly.

The voucher can be used for anyone, as long as the booking is made from the Avios account of the cardholder.

The voucher cannot be used to fly in First Class.

You receive your voucher within five days of reaching the spending target.

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.

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