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Is there a ‘secret’ 6000 Avios bonus for upgrading to BA Premium Plus?

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Is Amex running a ‘secret’ upgrade bonus on the British Airways American Express cards?  Two readers have contacted me in the last three weeks to say that they received 6,000 bonus Avios with their first purchase.  Both had rung Amex to upgrade from the free British Airways Amex to the Premium Plus version.

We know that Amex is running a 15,000 point bonus to upgrade from Gold to Platinum.  There is also a 5,000 point bonus to upgrade from Green to Gold.

BA Premium Plus Amex

However, so far, I have not heard of any ‘formal’ upgrade deal on the BA cardsIf you have received an email from American Express offering you an incentive to upgrade, please let me know.

If you want to switch from the free BA Amex to the paid card, one way is to cancel the free card, wait six months and then apply directly for the Premium Plus version.  This allows you to get the usual sign up bonus of 18,000 – 25,000 Avios.

The downside of this, though, is that you need to start again with your qualifying spend towards the 2-4-1 voucher which is issued at £10,000.  If you upgrade directly, your spend to date (and your existing Amex membership year dates) are carried forward.  If you have already spent over £10,000 on the free BA Amex, your 2-4-1 voucher will be issued instantly.

With no formal proof that this offer is running, you should not upgrade purely to get the 6,000 bonus Avios.  Neither HFP reader was told he would receive the bonus – they just turned up!  If you were thinking about it anyway, though, it is something else to weigh up in your mind.

If you want to compare the cards, my review of the free BA Amex is here and my review of the BA Premium Plus Amex is here.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (39)

  • Ian says:

    I got a Gold card, lady also got one. Should I upgrade mine to Platinum and get 15,000 points and cancel it afterwards, while keeping the lady’s Gold and later apply her for the BAPP? Seems like a good strategy? Just thinking out loud..

  • John says:

    Is there a limit to how many times one can upgrade and downgrade, or perhaps a holding period? What would stop an individual holding the free card, spending £9,999, upgrading, spending GBP £1 more, and then downgrading again complete with pro rata fee refund?

    You will lose 0.5 Avios for ever £1 spend (so 4,500) but you will save pretty much all the £150 fee. Given that you can purchase 5,000 Avios via ba.com for £95 you are £55 and 500 Avios better off.

    Unless you actually spend money on BA flights in which case you wouldn’t accumulate any extra Avios for that spend versus the 3 Avios per £1 on the Premium card.

    Uurgh… too much aggreviatioin. I’ve already talked myself out of it but wll post anyway 1) in case the theory works for ‘hard core’ HFP’ers 2) because I have written it.

    • Rob says:

      I was thinking the same to be honet. The answer is that it probably works, but most people are not so desperate so save the £150 – which is reduced anyway by the lower earnings rate on the free card.

      • Blenz101 says:

        On the telephone the staff do explain clearly that they have to process it as a new application which will include a credit check (whether this actually happens who knows but they clearly reserve the right?), once the new card is open they then switch over your avios/points and membership dates etc.

        The wasted multiple credit checks may be an extra deterrent for someone already churning cards. Better to suck up the £150 with the extra 0.5 avios earnings that risk getting turned down for a future signup bonus elsewhere due to a file pitted with unnecessary credit applications.

    • jason says:

      I have done it 3 times and about to do it a 4th. It can help to ensure the timing of a voucher, spend just over 10k and upgrade to trigger the voucher. Last time i manage to have 2 vouchers only 3 months apart by upgrading at the end of the 12 month which helps with a large family.

  • Ian says:

    If you cancel the Platinum after 3 months how much are you expected to pay of the £450 annual fee?

    • TimS says:

      The fee is refunded pro rata, so you’d end up getting a refund of £337.50 if you cancelled after 3 months.

    • Rob says:

      A quarter

      • JohnM says:

        I took out a platinum card out in July 2013 and hit the spend threshold to trigger the bonus that month. Didn’t use the card again but kept it open so I could use the Priority club lounge access on my trip in September. Converted the MR points to Avios then rang Amex to cancel in October and got the full £450 refunded! Not sure if this was an error or not.

  • Ian says:

    So, it would be £112.5 for the 15000 points. Less if they’re posted earlier. Theoretically one can upgrade from Gold to Platinum, spend the £1000 on the Platinum and then go back to Gold? Can one downgrade to Gold and got the rest of the first year for free or does it count as new application?

    • John says:

      Presumably it resets the clock. Why not wait until the end of the first year before upgrading, then cancel, wait for 6 months and apply for Gold again?

      Don’t forget the Gold Credit Card (but this needs to be cancelled to reset the clock as well)

      • John says:

        OK forgot about CX Gold, but if you think 15K points for £112.50 is a good deal then still worthwhile

  • Matt says:

    Bit OT, but I upgraded from Amex Gold to Plat and have received the 15k MR bonus. Still no sign of the £450 fee being charged, and we’re well into the second month now. When will they charge it? And if I cancel now, will hotel cards and Cathay Pacific Gold still arrive?

    • Mike says:

      I was charged the £450 in my first month (after the Gold fee was refunded pro-rata). Their upgrade process has been a bit glitchy – I had to ring to get the new card sent out and I still haven’t received my priority pass! So maybe it’ll take them a few months to figure out that they forgot to charge you.

      • Matt says:

        Sounds familiar – I haven’t had a new card in the post (but my wife, a supplementary cardholder, did!). Got the 15k so I guess I’ll cancel before they remember to charge me!

        • susan says:

          Think we also got lucky on this, for once. OH upgraded Gold (coming to end of first, free year) to Plat, £1k charged and cleared quickly, CXGold card received, 15k bonus MR banked to BAEC, no Plat fee as yet so cancelled card.

    • John says:

      I wish this sort of thing would happen to me, I always seem to get charged correctly but never get bonuses posting automatically

  • Rico says:

    Do they perform a credit check when you upgrade?

  • Nick Phillips says:

    I also got the 6k avios when I upgraded last year

  • Luke Atkinson says:

    I upgraded the other day. Asked about any offers, they said no. But as my form wasn’t on file and I had to do it by a clean application online they gave me 2k avios for the inconvenience.