<p>Club comfort: the new British Airways Club World suite</p>

Club comfort: the new British Airways Club World suite

British Airways offers free upgrade with new credit card – if you spend at least £10k

Some BA-branded American Express cards offer even better deals, but many traders do not accept Amex

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 28 February 2022 11:53
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Travellers who spend at least £10,000 in a year on a new Avios-branded Barclaycard will get a free upgrade on British Airways flights.

But those unwilling to pay a monthly fee for the card will need to spend at least £20,000 annually for the same perk.

The new Barclaycard Avios Plus – which costs £20 per month – earns holders 1.5 Avios points for each £1 spent. The free card, Barclaycard Avios and Avios Plus, offers one frequent flyer point for each pound.

Avios is the loyalty scheme run by IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus and the Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling. Used shrewdly, each point is typically worth 1p relative to prevailing cash fares.

But a bigger bonus awaits travellers who spend thousands using the new cards.

Spend £10,000 in a year with Barclaycard Avios Plus – or £20,000 with the free card – and you earn an upgrade voucher on British Airways. It will allow economy passengers to move to World Traveller Plus, and those in World Traveller Plus to move to Club World. It is not valid for upgrading to First Class.

The offer applies only for bookings made using Avios – not for tickets bought with cash. It works for two passengers on a one-way journey or one passenger on a return trip.

While the upgrade voucher could be used to move from economy to Club Europe on a short-haul flight, the maximum value will be extracted on a long-haul trip.

Rob Burgess, editor of the frequent-flyer site Head for Points, describes the new cards as “the most rewarding non-Amex travel credit cards on the market” – saying it has “an earnings rate which blows all other Visa or Mastercard products out of the water”.

Some BA-branded American Express cards offer even better deals, but many traders do not accept Amex. The new cards are Mastercard-branded.

To launch the cards, Barclaycard is offering an additional incentive for spending in the first three months. For the free card, someone spending £1,000 in three months gets a bonus of 5,000 Avios. For the Avios Plus, spending £3,000 in three months triggers a 25,000-point bonus.

Mr Burgess said: “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.”

But with an APR of 23.9 per cent, neither should be used by those who do not pay off their credit card accounts in full each month.

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