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Barclays to axe Blue Rewards loyalty cash (but it’ll still cost you £5 a month)

Barclays to axe Blue Rewards loyalty cash (but it’ll still cost you £5 a month)
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak
Posted:
18/06/2024
Updated:
18/06/2024

Barclays has confirmed a major revamp to Blue Rewards, which will see it scrap the £5 per month cash bonus and all other product loyalty cash perks worth up to £15 per month.

Customers are being notified that from Wednesday 4 September, Barclays is removing the £5 monthly loyalty reward for those who have two or more direct debits.

It is also axing all the other product cash rewards for Barclays Blue Rewards members.

As such, customers will no longer be able to earn the following rewards, worth up to £15.50:

  • £3 for residential mortgages
  • £1.50 for life insurance
  • £5 for life plus critical illness
  • £1 for Barclayloan

 

Barclays confirmed you’ll receive your last payment on Tuesday 3 September.

However, Barclays Blue Rewards customers will still need to pay £5 per month for membership, which will be debited on the second working day of the month, paid in advance for access to its new features for the month ahead.

As part of the Blue Rewards ‘makeover’, customers will instead get Apple TV+ (worth £8.99 per month), and a Major League Soccer (MLS) Season Pass subscription (worth £14.99), which you can access immediately via the Barclays app.

Barclays said that for the unchanged £5 per month cost, Blue Rewards members will receive a monthly benefit value of up to £44 (Apple, MLS pass, and approximately £20 from the Rainy Day Saver account), compared to the up to £35.50 per month under the former scheme, once savings interest has been factored in.

As now, customers will need to continue to pay £800 into current accounts each month.

The Rainy Day Saver account remains, offering customers 5.12% AER/5% gross on balances up to £5,000, with savers able to earn up to £250 per year in gross interest.

Customers will also be able to access the Blue Rewards Saver account, offering 3.56% AER/3.5% gross in the months where no withdrawals are made.

Meanwhile, Barclays Cashback Rewards allows customers to earn up to 15% from participating retailers when paying with your current account debit card. However, make sure to register for the Barclays app to activate your cashback so you can start earning.

Further, it will introduce 1% cashback earned on all eligible debit card spending up to a value of £5 per month from September to November.

Lastly, Barclays Premier banking customers will also receive Blue Rewards membership automatically.

‘Who even uses these?’

Savers have taken to social media to express their dismay at the change to the scheme.

One user posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Barclays removing the £5 monthly loyalty reward (including all other product cash rewards!) and replacing it with discounted Apple TV subscriptions and MLS streaming is so c**p. Who even uses these?? Nobody asked for this rubbish.”

Another wrote: “Had an email that you are removing the £5 blue rewards loyalty. This loses me £60 a year. The new benefits such as apple TV aren’t relevant to me. I’ve only just opened Rainy Day and Blue Rewards Savers, this is frustrating. I now need to find new accounts.”

Meanwhile a saver on Reddit posted: “The only reason I have the Blue Rewards is for the 5% rainy day saver. On the maximum of £5,000 in the account that’s £20 a month interest. In effect, by removing the £5 rebate for two Direct Debits, that reduces the interest to £15 a month. Time to move on from Barclays.”

‘Tempting to some but time to consider options for others’

James Hyde, spokesperson at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, said: “The Monthly Cash Reward payment to qualifying customers effectively paid for the cost of the Barclays Blue Rewards membership. With that guarantee of cash set to be removed, members may re-evaluate whether the deal is right for them.

“The benefits of Apple TV and MLS Season Pass may be tempting for some, while up to 15% cashback is available when the debit card is used at selected retailers.

“As is often the case with these membership products, the true financial implications of these changes will depend on how exhaustively individuals utilise the rewards available to them, and how much they invest in associated accounts each month.”

He added: “These changes will come into effect on 4 September, so customers have time to consider their options following this update.”

‘Barclays Blue Rewards has evolved’

Barclays said Blue Rewards has evolved over the last year, with it introducing benefits such as access to high-interest savings accounts and cashback on spending with “popular brands”.

It added that as part of the refresh, it will undertake “ongoing reviews to ensure Blue Rewards customers are getting fair value for their £5 monthly fee”.

In cases where customers are not receiving “fair value”, they will be alerted and Blue Rewards (and its fee) will be removed after a 60-day notice period, leaving customers on Barclays’ standard, fee-free account.

By “fair value”, Barclays will look at whether a customer has activated at least one of the core Blue Rewards features (Rainy Day Saver, Blue Rewards Saver, Cashback or Apple TV+) and is earning at least £60 value in a 12-month period. This check will be paused until March 2025 “to give customers time to benefit from the refreshed benefits of Blue Rewards, including Apple TV+”.

Barclays added that if a customer is not benefitting in this time period, “we will send monthly engagement notices to encourage them to activate any unused features”.

Manuel Baldasano, head of customer and digital at Barclays UK, said: “We’ve been evolving Blue Rewards based on what we know our customers value and, with entertainment high on their wish list, we’re delighted to introduce top-quality shows from Apple TV, in addition to our best savings rates and cashback programme, all for the same £5 monthly fee.

“Our refreshed Blue Rewards proposition, which sits alongside our fee-free account and Premier banking, means that customers can choose what works best for them.”

Related: Barclays flags more branches for closure