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Get 12 months interest-free credit on British Airways flights

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I have run a few posts recently about the 35,000 mile sign-up bonus on the American Airlines credit cards, issued by MBNA.

This is great deal – as long as you can make the £5,000 spending target within six months.  This is an example of where 35,000 AA miles can take you.

When I wrote my original post, I mentioned that MBNA offers 12 months interest free credit on American Airlines flights booked via and charged to the card. 

American Airlines

Reader Neil dropped me a line to say that, looking at his initial American Airlines credit card statement, 0% interest free credit applies to ANY flights booked via the website.  As all British Airways flights are bookable via, this effectively means that you can get 12 months free credit on BA bookings.

There are three things remember if you want to try this:

First, you would get double Avios points if you pay with a British Airways Premium Plus Amex for your BA flights.  You might find the double Avios more valuable than 18 months interest free credit.

Secondly, if you have an American Express Platinum charge card, remember that you need to pay for your flights with an Amex-issued Amex card to be covered under some parts of their travel insurance.  As the AA cards are issued by MBNA, you would not be covered.

Thirdly, if you decide to use your AA card for interest-free BA spending, you should stop using it for general spending.  This is because – rather sneakily – MBNA charges interest on all new purchase whether or not you settle your bill at the end of the month if you carry forward a balance.  For example, if you carry over £1,000 of spending and spend another £200 during the next month, you will be charged interest on that £200 even if you clear the bill at the month end.

That said, if you can work around the points above, this is another good reason to get the AA card before the 35,000 mile bonus is withdrawn at the end of May.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (33)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Neil says:

    It was me that mentioned this to Raffles and I should point out that I didn’t make my booking through but on the normal BA website. The amount still came up with the 0% rate and with the same promotional code as flights booked with AA – JKDMVNFGG.

    • Rob says:

      Ah, OK! Didn’t know that. Ironically, though, someone else I know told me that he had also done a BA booking on the AA site and got it at 0%!

  • Ben E says:

    Just applied and want to check: I don’t already have an AA acct – assume they’ll create one for me?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, they will. However, you may end up calling MBNA and mucking about for ages trying to find the number! If I were you, I would open one now at – at least then you know the number and password.

  • Manvivant says:

    I have read previously about buying refundable flights using the interest free credit to meet the spending thresholds. Bar making sure you don’t set a direct debit to pay off the amount automatically, are there any other things to watch out for when doing this? I seem to recall people mentioning a negative points balance arising but I’m not 100% clear on what that means. If anyone is able to explain the negative points balance point that would be great!

    • Rob says:

      When you refund the flight, the base points for the flight will be taken away from your card account balance.

      Take the AA card. If you refund a £5,000 flight on the Visa, your MBNA account will show you have ‘- 3,750 miles’ to transfer across. However, MBNA will NOT take these miles out of your AA account. Your MBNA account will simply run a negative milage balance until you have spent enough to wipe out the 3,750 mile deficit.

      The other obvious point is to be 120% sure that you are booking a refundable flight. Check every bit of the terms and conditions before buying. With BA, it is easy as the original booking screen has a ‘refundable fares’ drop down box.

      • Alan says:

        Hmm – are you 100% sure about this, Raffles? Reason I ask is with my United card (also from MBNA) they did just that!

        I had a Shell transaction of just over £50 – received the miles. However the 4sq credit was slow to appear and ended up on the next statement. I had no other transactions that month and then noticed my United statement showed the following:

        03/27/2013 MBNA CC Purchase 51
        04/23/2013 MBNA CC Purchase (15)

        (with my balance going down by 15 points in-keeping with this)

        I’m happy enough in that I only paid 36 in the end so it’s appropriately I only receive that number of points but thought it might be an interesting datapoint…

      • Manvivant says:

        Many thanks, Raffles.

        Just so I’m clear. If you refund the flight prior to redeeming the 35,000 miles (based on your figures above) you would be left with 31,250. If you were to cancel after you had redeemed the 35,000 then you would be left with 3,750 miles to gain before you reached zero (and could then start earning and spending again). Quite new to the world of points/miles etc. but thought this looked like a good way to build up some points! Your blog is a fantastic resource that’s for sure.

        • Rob says:

          No, not in the sense you use the word ‘redeem’.

          Your 35k will already have gone to AA, assuming you do not do the refund until the next statement period. MBNA probably cannot touch those. The refund does not impact them.

          MBNA simply creates a negative miles balance internally and will not any more to AA until you have earned more than 3,750.

          (However, see Alan’s experience with the United card, where miles WERE deducted. With the BMI card, though, MBNA never did remove miles when your monthly total was negative. So the AA card could go either way!)

  • jason says:

    Anyone got their 35K signing up bonus yet?

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