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 most 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 Tesco Clubcard MasterCard Low Rate card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 5.9% variable – and you can transfer your Clubcard points into Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles.

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 cards whilst the credit cards include the Starwood SPG, Nectar, Costco and Amex Rewards cards.

Any American Express you may have which are issued by Lloyds, MBNA or any other card company 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 began in March 2017 – I do not have the end date. The normal bonus is 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 rob [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. It could save you 150,000 or more Avios when used for a long-haul redemption in a premium cabin.

I attempted to calculate the value of the British Airways American Express companion voucher in this article.

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.  You should target 1p to 1.75p per point.

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 – you WILL still get the bonus.

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

You WILL receive the bonus if you currently have a BA Amex as a supplementary card on someone elses account.  American Express treats that card as belonging to the main cardholder and does not treat you as an ‘existing customer’.

If you have the Premium Plus card, you can downgrade to the free version at any time and get a pro-rata refund.  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 option is the Lloyds Bank-issued Avios card.

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 a decent offer especially as the card fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel during the year.

The higher sign-up 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.

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.

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Comments

  1. I may not be able to reach the £3,000 and £10,000 spending levels to trigger the Avios bonus/241 voucher from normal day-to-day spending. Does anyone know if making cash withdrawals (and paying the 3% fee) counts as “spending” to reach these targets?

  2. Is it worth signing up for this card for me and then signing up for the Amex PRG card for my partner, then we can get a total of 46,000 (20,000 PRG + 26,000 for this card), and combine the points?

    • fivebobbill says:

      Dan, if it’s just the initial bonus points you’re after you’d be better off applying for Amex PRG for yourself and then recommending your partner for one as well.
      * You will get 22,000 pts for hitting a £2k spend within 3 months (20,000 bonus + 2,000 for spend).
      * You will get 9,000 pts if you refer your partner and he/she is accepted.
      * Your partner will get 22,000 pts for hitting the same spend as you above.
      * Your partner will also get an extra 2,000 pts from your referral.
      That’s 55,000 pts for a £4,000 spend in 3 – 6 months, depending on when you do the referral.
      The card fees are also waived for the first year, and you will get 2 free Business Lounge passes each. You will also have the option of transferring the points into various Hotel Reward schemes.

      Your PRG + BAPP scenario would actually earn you 52,500 pts btw, but you will have spent £5,000 and incurred a £195 fee for the BA card.