Amex unveils £195 fee on the BA Premium Plus – plus increased sign-up bonuses

American Express unveiled its first response to the new 0.3% cap on retailer interchange fees yesterday.  It increased the annual fee on the British Airways Premium Plus card from £150 to £195.

To be fair, this increase was arguably overdue – the fee has remained steady for 13 years since the card as launched.  The other benefits, including the 1.5 Avios per £1 earning rate, double Avios on BA transactions and the 2-4-1 voucher for spending £10,000 are unchanged.

I said ‘first response’ because I don’t believe that this will be the end of the changes.  For a start, the logical impact of these changes is to push more people towards the free card.  However, I don’t believe that American Express can make any money on the free card when interchange fees are capped at 0.3% and it is giving out 1 Avios point per £1 spent.  Something will have to give.

It is possible, for now, that the contract between Amex and BA only allows changes to the annual fee and interest rates and not the other benefits.  It is unlikely that we will see any further changes for a while.

To sweeten the pill, American Express has increased the sign-up bonuses on the two British Airways American Express cards.

The Premium Plus version, now with the £195 annual fee, offers 25,000 Avios instead of 18,000 Avios. You must spend £3,000 within three months to receive the bonus.

The basic, free, card now offers 9,000 Avios instead of 3,000 Avios. You must spend £1,000 within three months to receive the bonus.

The representative APR on the Premium Plus card is 76.0% variable including the fee based on a £1200 credit limit. The representative APR on the free card is 22.9% variable.

BA Premium Plus Amex

My full review of the benefits of the Premium Plus card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

My full review of the free card is here. This is actually the most improved deal jumping from 3,000 to 9,000 Avios. Amex’s own home page is here.

Both reviews reflect the new fee structure and bonuses and also include details of the higher ‘refer a friend’ bonus which is also available.

The higher bonuses will last until 15th June.

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 and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Revealed ... the peak and off-peak Avios redemption calendars for 2017
Bits: new Avios / Avis promo, South America bargains, flights to St Helena launched
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. I just spoke with Amex , Card holders who have a card or applied for there card before the PRICE change day will pay £150 every year of there card and this will not increase For these customers

    • Hmmm, so maybe the thing to do is hold the BA PP for now and instead churn Gold / Platinum throughout the year if the fee is an issue for you? Otherwise, churn that too for the ocassional higher bonus of the BA card.

      • Genghis says:

        I’ll continue to churn BAPP once 241 spend requirements are met.

        • So you’ve had success on a 241 travel using and different card to pay for taxes etc?

        • Genghis says:

          Yes. For my last 241 (on my own account), I used my supp on wife’s new BAPP to pay the taxes (to earn 3 avios / £ and go towards her sign up bonus requirements). Other amex cards work too by other reports.

        • jackandjill says:

          yeap u can use any amex, even the Lloyds…don’t listen to the speel you get from amex when closing the account

        • Ok, I have a supp card which I could use, may have to churn this before the anniversary

        • It is the usual ba.com payment page with all the boxes except Amex greyed out – so any Amex goes through.

        • Got mine a week ago. Had this BAPP since late Sept 2015. Could technically cancel now, but going to keep it until we know for sure what is happening. Long story short, I don’t care that much about a £45 increase, just concerned some other rules may change later for new customers only…

    • This would surprise me if true to be honest, but lets see if we get any letters.

    • Really, my anniversary is coming up at the end of the month and it would be good if it stays at the old rate.

  2. Gareth Morgan says:

    Can I get these, and the points, via Centurion?

  3. Genghis says:

    I’d say it’s decent even just for the sign up bonus. For you, you’ll get the net 22k avios most likely for even less than the net cost of £147.75 (cancel as soon as you’ve hit £3k spend and avios have transferred to BAEC account for a prorata refund).

    • dewsburyborn says:

      Yes, I did that cancellation thing once before on the BAPP. tbh, I felt a bit bad doing it. I wonder if they ‘black mark’ you for future applications ?

  4. I’ve been meaning to get around to cancelling mine for ages.

    I’m in Manchester, so having to factor in LHR positioning/repositioning flights when trying to schedule a weekend break (without abusing grandma’s goodwill having the kids for a few days…). Add in the impact of the taxes and charges (I’m currently in ‘a period of fiscal recovery’….), and the likelihood of actually using a 2-for-1 have been pretty remote.

    I’ve not put anything on the BA Amex in quite a while – apart from the annual fee, which hit at the start of the year.

    However, in light of the ‘fluidity’ of the credit card market, I was wondering if it might be sensible to retain it and cross my fingers that I’ll actually have a few quid to spend on travel in the not-too-distant future. This would be reliant on current card holders retaining current benefits (earning rate, annual fee and 2-for-1) which might evaporate for new sign-ups.

    What’s the expert opinion of this scenario – i.e. a) devaluation of benefits on the BA Amex over the coming months and b) protection of current benefits for existing card holders?

  5. Totally off topic but I need to vent somewhere and any advice would be appreciated.

    I flew to Geneva on Sunday morning (Avios) , for some reason, one of my suitcases was put on the next flight resulting in a wasted 2 hours hanging around the airport and wasting precious skiing time. I asked ba for compensation and was basically told not a chance. Has anyone experienced something similar?

    • Johnnycl says:

      I’ve had compensation for bags being delayed by 2-3 days (not BA), but wouldn’t expect more than an apology for two hours.

    • Genghis says:

      Put in a complaint on their online system (http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/help-and-contacts) so everything is in writing and you have your facts straight. You might have to wait a while and chase a bit but someone will be in touch, argue your case (no pun intended…) and you might get some free avios.

      • I encountered the same sort of delay and received 10k miles as a goodwill gesture out of it.

    • Hi I waited 75minutes for my snowboard to be delivered in the departure hall at GVA so missed my resort transfer (last of the evening), had to cough for an overnight hotel stay in Geneva, dinner and missed most of a day’s skiing. No joy from BA customer relations or CEO office.

      I’m sorry to hear it took over an hour for your snowboard to be delivered to the baggage carousel when you travelled to Geneva on 05 March. I appreciate how frustrating this was for you, especially as you missed your shuttle bus to the resort.
      Sometimes it can take longer than we’d like for baggage to be delivered to the carousel, especially during busy periods. As snowboards are often stored in an alternative part of the hold to regular baggage, they can take longer to be taken off the aircraft. I apologise for the inconvenience you’ve been caused.
      Whilst I understand and appreciate your reasons for asking, we’re unable to offer compensation for the problems faced. We need to be fair and consistent with all our customers. This means we can’t make an exception this time and I’m so sorry to let you down. If you had travel insurance, they may be able to help.
      Thanks again for letting us know what happened. As a Bronze member of our Executive Club, we really appreciate your support and if there is anything else we can help with, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the blue link below.
      Best regards
      Jane Burrage

    • That’s really annoying, Ben. Did they tell you at the time it was on a later flight? If so I’d have just left and given them details to courier it on to you. Definitely worth pushing them for some Avios.

  6. Johnnycl says:

    Slightly OT, it looks like Virgin have brought back their 10,000 (White) and 25,000 (Black) bonus points for opening up an account until 31st May.

    http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/credit-card.html

  7. Presumably no change for those of us still grandfathered via the old plat charge rules of free BA PP card?

  8. Simon Schus says:

    Hi all 🙂

    Just got an mail from Curve with the dispatch date of my card. My card is being dispatched on the 10th May. That seems rather disappointing given that they promised they’d be sent out in the last week of March over four weeks.

    Anyway, here is the email:

    “Your Curve batch details

    Dear SimonSchus,

    We’re really pleased to be able to confirm your Curve batch details.

    Your Curve card is being processed, packaged and is scheduled to be dispatched from the 10th of May, sent first class.

    You should have received an email from us asking you to confirm your order details. If not, you will receive one very shortly. We’ll also email again when your card is dispatched and to confirm that we’ve taken payment.

    Thanks so much for your patience whilst you’ve been waiting for your Curve.

    Despite us working around the clock to fulfil demand we haven’t been able to get all the cards out as quickly as we would have liked. We’ve built something that’s never been built before and some parts took longer than expected

    We’re really sorry for any delay or frustration caused to you – please know how excited we are to finally put Curve in your hands.

    Any questions, please get in touch at support@imaginecurve.com

    Thanks,

    Curve Community Champion”

    • I just got mine too – 19th May for me – so dont complain!

    • Same thing here. To be honest if it works as promised, I will forgive them the delay.

      • wishful thinking lol

        so you’re all getting unlimited free Avios with the ATM cash withdrawals?

        Matron!

  9. I haven’t had anything Curve, which sounds like a software development problem (see First Law of Programming – No Program is Ever Finished).

    But I do now have my Best Western Diamond after a Status Match from Accor Platinum.

  10. Chewbacca says:

    Can anyone confirm whether 241 vouchers are supposed to lapse if you cancel the BA cards? I’m pretty sure I cancelled a card before and the voucher remained displayed in BA Exec account. I think one expired and one is still there. Is it supposed to remain valid or lapse or is this a technical glitch, would it actually work if I tried to renew (nothing planned just now) just wondering on the actual position.

    • It doesn’t lapse.

      You are not 100% certain to get the voucher back if you later cancel a redemption and Amex need to reissue it.

    • I cancelled my BA card in Jan and my 241 voucher is still on BAEC. But my mate tang to cancel his and was told he would definitely loose his 241 voucher by 2 members of staff.

  11. So, does anyone know if you can churn the virgin cards?

  12. Tom Foxton says:

    American Express cards aren’t directly affected by the interchange cap, it’s only Visa and MasterCard cards that are caught by the regulations. Thus Amex can, and still do, charge merchants a rate above 0.3%…

  13. Hi, when it states the sign up bonus deal lasts until 15th June, does that mean that you must sign up for the card before June 15th to receive the bonus, or do you need to have spent £1000 on the card by June 15th to receive the point bonus?

  14. Forgive me if this has been asked and answered – my 241 voucher shows valid for 2 years on my BAEC account, I’d rather not pay the £150 (or maybe £195) renewal fee for the BAAE card (I have Amex Gold CC too) but I think the T&Cs say I need to pay for the 241 tickets using it – can I revert to the free card and use that to pay for the 241 travel? Thoughts? Many thanks!