Bits: interesting Barclays business card, Avios on ferry tickets

News in brief:

Interesting Barclays corporate credit card 

A reader sent me a link to the Barclays Premium Plus business credit card, which I hadn’t seen before.

(Has American Express not trademarked the use of the phrase ‘Premium Plus’ for credit cards? Seems not.)

In general, I don’t believe that many one or two person businesses need a dedicated business credit card.  I don’t have one for HFP.  There is no accounting or tax reason why you cannot use a personal card if it is your own company.  I use my American Express Platinum charge card exclusively for HFP expenses, which allows me to write off the £450 annual fee against tax.

However, if you do feel that your circumstances require a dedicated business credit card, this one has a number of interesting travel features:

Card is a MasterCard

Annual fee of £100 with additional cards at £75

0.5% cashback on purchases, capped at £400

FX fee of 0.99% compared to the usual 2.99%

Priority Pass airport lounge membership with two free visits per year, extra visits charged at £15

5 days free access per year to Barclays collaborative hot desking work spaces across the UK

‘Enhanced’ travel insurance

Representative APR 36.2% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

This is not a bad package.  Whether it is worth £100 will depend entirely on how much use you will get of the benefits above, but it looks promising.  You can find out more here.

Remember that American Express also has two small business charge cards.  You may want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card and the American Express Gold Business Card. There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

The Platinum Business card offers different benefits to the standard Platinum card.  The travel insurance is better, as the age limit is increased to 80 and there is no requirement to pay for your flight or hotel with an Amex card.  The hotel status and Priority Pass benefits are also slightly different.

There is also the little-known British Airways Corporate American Express which I discussed here.

Direct Ferries

Earning Avios from ferry tickets

A need to book some ferry tickets from Venice to Croatia this week reminded me that Avios has a decent deal with Direct Ferries, the leading global ferry ticketing website.

Direct Ferries is a central booking site for 199 ferry companies around the world.  From the UK, they work with companies such as Brittany Ferries, P&O Ferries and Stena Line, as well as Eurotunnel.

The scale of the site is impressive.  You can book 2,577 ferry routes covering 713 ferry ports, connecting you to over 243 countries and islands.

The Avios earning rate seems decent – you will earn 4 Avios points for every £1 spent.

There is no special booking link.  Book as usual on the main Direct Ferries site.  When you create an account with Direct Ferries you will find a box to enter your Avios number.  Once done, you will automatically be credited with points from all of your bookings.

Remember that this is an partnership and not a British Airways Executive Club one.  You will need an account.  The points you earn can easily be moved across to BA afterwards using the ‘Combine My Avios’ function on

(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.)

Is the Marriott Moments auction site getting more useful?
Another Qatar business sale! Cape Town £1583, Auckland £1667, Jo'burg £1470
About Head for Points

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  1. Daniel says:

    In relation to the Direct Ferries would booking this way mean you can’t collect the ferry company’s own points scheme. For example Stena have a scheme that gives lounge access onboard and points worth up to 10% of the ticket cost.

  2. RussellH says:

    A MyFerryLink picture?? How long is it since they ceased operation???

    Thanks for the pointer about Direct Ferries, though. Must give them a try now that I longer can get commission on bookings with ferries!

    As to the business Barclaycard, remember that the amount charged by a business’s merchant acquirer are far higher than for personal cards. IMHO they are all a rip off!

  3. Callum says:

    While I certainly don’t blame Rob (particularly as I would do exactly the same thing!), it irritates me that it’s apparently allowable for companies to inflate their costs to reduce their tax bill while getting a personal kick-back from it.

    Nothing in the grand scheme of things with the multinationals etc., but irritating none-the-less.

    • Lady London says:

      OK…. I’ll bite.

      @Callum I doubt costs are inflated. Small businesses can’t afford it. And if anyone is increasing spend unnecessarily that is put through a business, what about all those frequent flyers out there,there, deliberately demanding flexible tickets from their employer’s corporate travel agent with spurious excuses, just so they can get a ticket that earns them personally more miles when the company has more restricted highly discounted fares available?

      • I lose 2 days a year doing VAT returns, for a start. Happy to trade you the tax benefit of recharging some IT and cards in return for sick pay, paternity pay, someone doing my VAT and accounts etc ……

        • Camille says:

          Copy that!

          Anyone other employees out there wanna have a moan about what SME businesses can/can’t expense, then I’d be happy to offer a contra view!

          The test is “wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business”…..and since only HfP expenses are charged, Rob’s practice here is perfectly legit.


      • Callum says:

        Lady London – Because it’s so unreasonable to overtly state I have no criticism whatsoever with the person doing it and that I would do it myself, yet I don’t like the tax loopholes existing…

        Costs are inflated… There are credit cards with no annual fee yet they’re choosing a credit card with a fee so they can get kickbacks from their business spend. And what about those people demanding flexible fares? That’s the same thing and I can’t recall ever justifying that either.

        Rob – Trade with who? If you’re saying you miss out on legitimate tax exemptions/deductions so feel you can use this as compensation then yes, I’d rather you did trade them – even if it meant you paid less tax than you do now! Though as I clearly said I have no issue with you personally so I have no idea why this is being viewed as an attack by all 3 of you!

        Camille – It’s not necessarily perfectly legit – it’s perfectly legal. How about expensing the fee for an Amex Centurion? I’m sure you’d agree that’s immoral, which means there’s clearly a line somewhere, my line is just slightly different to yours.

    • the_real_a says:

      Its irritating to me that i cannot claim a tax rebate when i USE personally obtained “kickbacks” (priority pass or my gold card for example) to save the company money thus paying more tax than otherwise would be necessary.

  4. Ross Brown says:

    Rob, in regards to using Amex platinum for business expenses is there any reason you don’t use the dedicated Amex business platinum (it may be called something slightly different) I was looking at it the other day. Seems identical except has larger sign up bonus.

    • The Original Nick. says:

      There’s lots of differences between the Amex Platinum charge card and the Amex Platinun business card. If you travel alot the Platinum charge card is the best by far.

      • Genghis says:

        Not if aged 70-80. As with everything, it depends…

        • imbruce says:

          Axa Insurance have had some bad reviews lately both travel and other types of insurances, also they don’t cover pre-existing health conditions so its no good to me.
          I have decided to close my Amex Platinum card this month, it is just not worth £450 for hotel status or lounge passes as I don’t travel enough

          • the_real_a says:

            Just to give a personal experience – i have now had 4 claims paid in full by AXA/Amex including one quite serious. They have been nothing short of superb and paid even when strictly they did not need to. As with all insurance policies ensure you are within the terms and conditions and collect proofs. You can pay extra to cover pre-existing medical conditions btw

          • Agreed. As I have written before, I’ve never had trouble with Axa even when clearly breaking their rules, ie not getting pre-approval for a doctor and not using one on their list.

      • Bus Platinum Holder says:

        Is there any particular benefit which stands out on the current 2017 personal vs. business range? Look almost identical – just reworded for business. As a small business owner – there is no issue, as Rob does, using the personal card purely for business expenses – but apart from robs 2002 BAPP saving, what are the main benefits today?

        • Priority Pass – personal gets a guest, business charges £15 for a guest

          Hotel statuses are fewer with business (not clear which ones at moment)

          Business insurance covers you to 80 and does not insist flights and hotels are booked on Amex if you need to make minor claims (medical claims are covered regardless on both cards)

          There may be other differences but these are the main ones.

          • Bus Platinum Holder says:

            Free guest is enough for me to switch, must spend £100+ a year in guest access – and a good 50+ years off the travel insurance expiring. Send me a referral link for AMEX personal plat if you have one please Rob.

          • Will do, thanks

          • Called them yesterday about something else and asked for the differences.

            Hotels. Only Club Carlson and Starwood

            Priority Pass: Primary and 1st supplementary both get PP and can thus both bring in one guest free of charge.

            Insurance: Stated that for both cards, travel insurance was in place whether Amex used or not, for BOTH cards, the added pre flight insurance would not apply if the Amex card was not used.

            I still don’t believe this is 100% true and queried her but she was adamant. I will seek further clarification.

          • What do you mean “Priority Pass: Primary and 1st supplementary both get PP and can thus both bring in one guest free of charge”? My understanding is that the PP on the Business Plat does NOT allow a guest. Yes, your partner gets their own PP, but if you want to bring in a kid you’re paying.

            Insurance – you can download the documents from the application page on the Amex website.

    • I can’t cancel my personal Plat as I get my BAPP Amex free, saving £195, under a 2002 deal.

      • We had it free under Centurion from the late 1990s I think. We went straight from the Gold Card for Business Travellers to Centurion. Not sure Platinum was even around back then.

        That card (and that wife) were dropped by 2003 so it must have been before then.

  5. Nick M says:

    As it is a card description goes specifically for business use, although you’d be able to claim the £100 cost as an expense would you also need to offset the cash back against this?

  6. the real harry1 says:

    worth a mention:

    £15.50 a month
    6 DragonPass lounge passes – 1 or all can be used at the same time
    travel insurance, incl for under 80s
    RAC roadside assistance

    minimum 6 months – so if you time it right you can get the travel insurance benefits for half a year, 6 lounge passes (= c. £105), the RAC deal (= c.£40) for £93

    you might value the lounge passes higher depending on your usage – and if you are in the 70-80 age bracket, the travel insurance is useful as over 70s are often excluded on other policies

  7. OT- AAdvantage

    A couple of negative development for AA miles collector.
    AA is ending their partnership with Jet Airways (India based), which is definitely negative development from customer’s point of view.
    It was to be expected however with Jet partnering with Delta.

    Another negative is AA just announced that they are ending code share with both Etihad and Qatar.
    There is no word on miles earning and redemption yet; and I hope it survives otherwise for many people who travel further east it would make no sense to collect AA Miles.

  8. the real harry1 says:

    worth a mention:

    £15.50 a month
    6 DragonPass lounge passes – 1 or all can be used at the same time
    travel insurance, incl for under 80s
    RAC roadside assistance

    minimum 6 months – so if you time it right you can get the travel insurance benefits for half a year, 6 lounge passes (= c. £105), the RAC deal (= c.£40) for £93

    you might value the lounge passes higher depending on your usage – and if you are in the 70-80 age bracket, the travel insurance is useful as over 70s are often excluded on other policies

  9. For the Amex Platinum personal versus business, I’d like to know what the precise differences are between the hotel status and Priority Pass benefits. I know the insurance ones.

    Surely though if you were enticed by the 0.5% cashback, Asda (and others) do exactly this for free ?

    • Genghis says:

      IIRC no guest on biz PP. Not sure about hotel bens

    • Ok, so no guest covered.

      Eurostar lounge access denied. Used to be they’d let you in in both Brussels and London (turned away in Paris), but they changed the card to be more obviously business and I was turned away last time.

      We used to get Accor Platinum, like the personal one. Then that was dropped from both, and then the personal one got the Hilton status. There’s no mention of that one on the business card site, though it is possible we do still get that.

      It kind of seems unclear as to what the differences are for business, and often you just have to get onto the chat to confirm things, and they don’t know, and about three months later you get a letter telling you (for instance with me it was guest being charge for PP, they waived the cost in the end, but up to that point I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed).

      First I’ve heard that the insurance doesn’t need booked via the card.

  10. Rob, Re “this is an partnership and not a British Airways Executive Club one.”

    I made a booking with Direct Ferries back in Feb, for a trip taken last month. My BA Exec account shows a credit of 4 Avios per £ spent, dated as of my return journey. I can’t recall how I set this up, but it appears there is a way to credit direct to BA Exec. Maybe it was a special promotion at the time?

  11. You mention above that AmEx has two ‘corporate’ cards however, they are actually their ‘business’ cards no? AmEx does indeed have two additional seperate corporate cards ‘gold corporate’ and ‘platinum corporate’

    • True. Bad choice of words by me and now amended.

    • Mzungu says:

      So, let me make sure I understand – there are 3 Platinum cards – Personal, Business and Corporate? And the same for Gold and maybe some others…

      • Yes – I currently hold the personal and was considering switching to the corporate version (fees where less ~£350 I think). However, the benefits were also commensurate thus, I decided to stay with the personal.

      • Corporate has a chunky turnover requirement of a few £million for your company.

  12. Scallder says:

    OT – saw in the travel section of the Sunday Times this week that ATOL protection is going to be extended to people booking flights, hotels or car hire individually, which means that one existing benefit those of us booking redemption flights might lose out on, will no longer be the case.

    Legislation going through parliament now, so no current date on this yet…

    • Wow interesting development! Imagine might take a while to get passed though given everything else that’s going through…

  13. Roberto says:

    Waaaaayyyyyyyy of topic but if youre looking for a new pair of sunglasses then the sunglasses hut have an in store offer giving you a whopping 22 avios per pound spent. There are some exclusions like (1) has to be more than £100 (2200 avios) and (2) not available at airports but it does stack with the £20 amex cash back I have on my BA card currently.

    Lastly there is a double avios promotion running along side this too but I have no idea if it will treble stack. for more info…

  14. Canuck says:

    As an SME myself, I have to admit I much prefer to have my business and personal card separated. I agree the card benefits quite don’t match up but it makes for a much cleaner division. Should I be audited by Revenue Canada, it should be easier to provide what they need without digging up personal bank statements and justifying each transaction. That said, if I was pumping more money on card, I appreciate it might be worth it.

    This year I’ve been using Wave to automatically import the card transactions into my books. Keeps my dreaded year end (Dec 31st) bookkeeping much more streamlined. I envy Rob who gets it done in 2 days!

    • That’s 2 days (4 x 0.5 days) for the sales tax return each year. Not the year end accounts …

      • Just be glad ‘making tax digital’ has been delayed for a few more years otherwise you’d have even more returns to file!

  15. Anyone else had any issues with peak/off-peak mispricing? FRA-LHR on 15 October is marketed as off-peak but they’re still wanting 4500 rather than 4000 Avios…?

  16. OT. I am flying with Srilankan airlines over christmas and I can see they are a OneWorld airline, does anyone know if I can credit the miles to BA?

  17. the real harry1 says:
  18. the real harry1 says:

    Was in Post Office today – doll confirmed that you can buy FX otc with Amex – awful rates, though compared to online

  19. the real harry1 says: