Credit & Charge Card Reviews (5): British Airways American Express Premium Plus

This is my review of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for.  These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score.  Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month.  You can cancel at anytime.

As with all rewards cards, this is not a suitable product for you if you do not clear your balance in full every month.  You should focus on a credit card with a low interest rate such as the AA Low Rate Card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 6.4% variable on purchases and balance transfers.

Key links:  British Airways American Express Premium Plus application form

Key facts:  £195 annual fee

The representative APR is 76.0% variable, including the £195 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit.  The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.

About the card

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus card is issued directly by American Express. This analysis is focussed on the paid version of the card – I reviewed the free BA Amex credit card in a separate article.

The general American Express rule is that you can hold two charge cards and two credit cards at the same time. Platinum and Gold are the two widely-held charge card, whilst the credit cards include the Starwood SPG, Nectar, Costco and Harrods Amex cards.

Any American Express you may have which are issued by Lloyds, TSB, Barclays or MBNA will not directly impact on whether you are accepted for this card.

British Airways Premium Plus credit card review

What is the sign-up bonus?

25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within three months.  This is a special offer which runs until 7th February 2017 and is an increase on the usual offer of 18,000 Avios.

A larger bonus of 26,000 Avios is available if you are referred by an existing cardholder. Please e-mail me at raffles [at] headforpoints.co.uk if you would like a referral link emailing to you.

Any other benefits?

When you spend £10,000, you receive a voucher entitling you to book two Avios redemption flights for the miles of one. This voucher is valid for two years.

This voucher is the most valuable perk available in the UK airline and hotel credit card sector in my view. I attempted to calculate the value of the British Airways American Express companion voucher in this post.

What is the annual fee?

The BA American Express Premium Plus card has an annual fee of £195.

You will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee if you cancel. American Express is the only UK card issuer to offer this.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on the card. You receive double Avios (3 per £1) when booking flights or holidays directly with British Airways.

What is an Avios point worth?

How long is a piece of string!

This article is my best attempt to calculate the value of an Avios.

Other points to note

You will not receive a sign-up bonus if you have previously held a BA Amex (free or paid) in the previous six months.  You will not have a problem if you have any other American Express card, including Amex Gold.

For clarity, you WILL receive the sign-up bonus if you currently hold, or have held, the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards – this is not a problem.

If you have the card, you can downgrade to the free version at any time. You may want to do this if you have triggered your 2-4-1 voucher but not yet redeemed it, and do not want to continue paying the annual fee.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards.

How else can you earn Avios points from a credit card?

The obvious options are the Lloyds Bank-issued Avios card and the two TSB-issued cards.

Don’t forget these less-obvious options though:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is free for the first year.  These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

The American Express Platinum charge card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up.  These convert to 30,000 Avios points.  It has a £450 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card offers 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for signing up.  These convert to 10,000 Avios points.  It has a £75 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

Conclusion

The current special sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios (26,000 if I refer you) is an excellent offer especially as the card fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel during the year.  The higher bonus – plus the 50% higher earning rate on your spending – makes the Premium Plus card better than the free card, at least for the first year.

In terms of on-going earning, 1.5 Avios points and the 2-4-1 voucher when you spend £10,000 make the most valuable package on the market for your long-term spending as long as you are confident of hitting the £10,000 target.  If you won’t spend £10,000 on the card each year then the value of the Avios earned will not cover the annual fee.

The application form for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card can be found here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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.

Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): Emirates Skywards American Express & Visa
Which hotel chains offer lifetime status? (and the BA criteria revealed too)
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. How can one upgrade from free BACC to this BAPP?
    Is there any weblink to upgrade or does one need to phone up?

    • You have to do it online – apply like it’s a new card but when it asks if you have an existing Amex, put in the number for your free card

      • Does this work for downgrade from BAPP to BACC also?

        • I recently called to ‘downgrade’ and was told to apply online entering my existing card number, i.e. the same process for ‘upgrading’. In the event, I referred my wife and cancelled my card instead via secure messaging, as didn’t want to go through the application process again having just recently ‘upgraded’ to the premium card.

    • I read this comment with a very posh accent in my head.

  2. Tom Murray says:

    I have a BAPP card and my wife has ‘hers’ on my a/c and also an Amex Gold (unused since hitting the points target). I’ve tried twice now to refer her by email for her own BAPP – for miles and 241 but despite her Amex enabled to receive emails, she doesn’t get anything from them by email or post. Do they not want to process it? Haven’t rung them yet, thought I would ask here before we did :)
    Tom

    • Use the Facebook method to generate a link.

    • In online services there’s a personal referral link you can simply copy and paste so you can use that instead. The referral emails have always been hit and miss in my experience.

      • I find the personalised link far more reliable than the email method. just copy and paste and can be sent via any form of communication then. even a carrier pigeon if you write it down on a piece of paper 😉

    • Send an email referal to your own email address and see if that works. I have done this before and as long as you apply via the link you will get the bonus.

      • Tom Murray says:

        All done – thanks very much for the advice everyboody. Now awaiting the ‘up to 10 days’ decision as her application couldn’t be decided online.
        Tom

  3. Dougie Forde says:

    I asked this question late last night on the BA Amex forum but it was probably too late for people so apologies for asking again. If you upgrade your BA card when you near £10000 worth of spend to earn the 2 for 1 voucher, how soon is it reasonable to downgrade?

    • I applied to upgrade, hit the target, and then the downgrade (I actually completely cancelled) within the same month. I have no qualms about this when it comes to corporate behemoths!

  4. stupid question and it has probably been asked 1000 times but is the 241 a return voucher or one way? if it is a return can you just use it as one way if thats all you have avoid for?

  5. Just received a “Welcome bonus” email from SPG offering:-

    1500 points for first stay between 1st November and 31st January
    2500 points for second stay between 1st November and 31st January

    I’ve been planning a couple of trips to Liverpool – so this great!

  6. My OH has a BA spend £500 get £100 back on his sup card for my BAPP – I think it appeared yesterday.
    I don’t have the same offer on my main card but since there’s only £100 of spend left for the 241 I’m not sure whether to use this offer.
    He has a new BAPP (to generate the 2nd 241) and I have the sup but this offer isn’t showing on either – this is the card we’ll be using from today.
    Is there any logic to how these offers appear? Is there a way to transfer his offer onto the new card?

    • Someone posted a comment within the past month detailing a technique to copy offers to other cards. I can’t recall who, or what article unfortunately, but it was related to manipulating the URL. Although it worked in their situation, it might not work for you as you’d be trying to do it it from a supplementary to a main card (not clear if the two cards reside on the same, or separate login accounts.)

      • the real harry says:

        yep I saw that & it looks relatively straightforward

        if you have several cards, not that useful/ valuable

    • The Urbanite says:

      I got a brand new BAPP this week and this offer appeared the day after I activated it!

  7. For the special offer that runs to 7 Feb 2017, must one spend the £3,000 by then or is that only the deadline for applying? Thanks!

  8. Good to know, will think what to do then.

  9. +1 on the hassle-free Lloyd’s experience.

  10. I have been very satisfied with mine too, esp with Lloyds current account.
    My wife has never had any Avios posted automatically but has been handsomely compensated so is also very satisfied.

  11. Aside from having a new Avios account set up for the Lloyds card which was rectified with one call to Avios, wife hasn’t had any problems with Lloyds and the points have posted promptly too…

  12. Lewis Watson says:

    Do you get any perks from ba for having the card? Lounge access, seat selection etc

    This probably my last year as a silver

  13. Sorry if this has been covered already and I have missed it. My wife is a supp card holder on my BAPP. Up until August this year she was also the primary holder of a BACC, which she has cancelled. Can she now apply for a BAPP in her name and receive the sign up bonus or does she have to wait 6 months form the closure of the BACC?

  14. wonder if someone could advise on whether the following would work:

    month 0 – apply for amex gold MR charge
    within 3month – spend 3k to trigger 22k MR bonus
    before 6months – transfer MR and cancel amex gold
    month 6 – apply BA PP amex
    by 9 months – spend 3k to trigger 25k MR bonus -> spend additional 7k to trigger 241 -> downgrade to free BA amex -> redeem voucher (knowing that if subsequently cancel trip MAY lose voucher)
    before month 12 – cancel free card
    month 12 – re-apply for amex gold MR charge
    by month 15 – spend 3k to trigger 22k MR bonus
    etc…

    would this approach let me earn the sign up bonuses indefinitely, and have an amex most of the year?

    • Yes. This approach would work, though the BAPP bonus (i.e. 25k on £3k spend) is not year round. It goes down to 18k normally. This type of churning works even better if you can refer a partner / a friend through reciprocal referrals.

      • Thanks Genghis- I feel obliged to ask Raffles for a referral given the amount of work he’s put in over the years. Feels like the least I can do!

        • Jason, You can always just overlap ie. Apply for the BAPP before you cancel the gold, just incase you find yourself with an unexpected spend…is there just you or do you have a partner you could refer each other annually for both cards. Pretty good way to get avios. Plus at least you are still spending on Amex, and not just churning. It’s a fairer way to go, your way too. That way you probably hold each card for just under 7 mths. Make sure you double dip at tesco with your clubcard too for avios conversions. Good luck.

          • good thinking Polly- I will just wait to cancel the previous card until the new one is received

        • the real harry says:

          you could always buy an item for a couple of quid on Amazon – probably worth about the same commission :)

  15. You wrote: “If you have the card, you can downgrade to the free version at any time. You may want to do this if you have triggered your 2-4-1 voucher but not yet redeemed it, and do not want to continue paying the annual fee.”

    I had a BAPP and triggered the 2-4-1 voucher back in July. Recently, I downgraded my BAPP to a BACC and noticed that the spend form my BAPP is contributing to my BACC 2-4-1 voucher on my online account. So instead of £20,000 I only need another £8000 or so to trigger another 2-4-1 voucher. Does this sound correct? Has this happened to anyone else that has downgraded their BA account?

  16. Hey – I’ve had this card for a couple of years and had something through the post in September saying if I spent £10k between 1st Sept and 30th Nov, you get an additional bonus 10,000 Avios added to your account.
    Did anyone else get this? I can’t find any info on it online, or in my amex account. The leaflet said “no need to activate this offer, just make sure to spend the qualifying amount in the date range and we’ll add the extra Avios to your account”.

    • Ben – yes I got this offer and as you say there is nothing showing in account online. Hopefully will all post ok but if not then I’m sure a call to Amex will resolve.

  17. For anyone interested in this card, I just utilised the 241 voucher with the card to book 2 seats LHR-SYD Business Class for a 2 week trip next September.

    250000 Avios + 1467 gbp for taxes compared to the current price on the BA site for that particular flight of 12855gbp!

    :-)

  18. Wondering if anyone knows the answer to this….

    I am currently a supplementary card holder of the standard BA card. If I sign up for this, would I be considered a new customer and recieve the 25,000 sign up bonus, or do I need to close my supplementary account and wait 6 months?

  19. No proof that anyone ever has, some risk if you cancel a redemption and want the voucher back.