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.
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.
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