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Amex retains the British Airways credit card contract

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The British Airways credit card contract was up for renewal recently.  I don’t know when the current deal was ending – the only bit of news I managed to find out in advance was that IAG was tendering for a single contract covering all of its airlines.

I had a sneaky feeling – which have been wrong – that some of the aggressive promotional activity we saw from MBNA last year on its airline cards may have been linked to this.  Did they want to show BA what could be done if they won the deal?

The inclusion of Iberia and Vueling (the Spanish based budget airline owned by IAG) in the contract played into the hands of American Express, however.  I am not aware of MBNA or Barclays, who were the only realistic competitors, having an established credit card operation in Spain of the scale required to take this on.

BA Amex - NEW

On Wednesday, American Express held an investor day in New York.  The slides are available online but they do not tell you anything interesting.  Bloomberg released a summary of the discussion, however, and it confirmed the following:

A new British Airways deal has been signed

A new Iberia deal has been signed (this is currently an Amex and Visa combo)

A new Vueling product is included

The Starwood Preferred Guest Amex deal has been extended

Nothing else is known at this time.  There does not seem to be a transcript of the investor day (yet?) which would provide some more information.

We can treat this as good news.  The British Airways credit cards are, if we’re honest, a very attractive product with a set of benefits which is well pitched.

The 2-4-1 voucher on the Premium Plus card is the most valuable spending perk of ANY UK credit card as I showed here.  You only need to look at the mish-mash of additional benefits offered on, say, the Virgin Black and Emirates Elite cards (which turn out to be far less useful than you think when you read the small print) to realise how good the BA cards are.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (12)

  • I wonder if this means the bmi MBNA cards will be disappearing soon as it sounds like they now no longer have any reason to exist.

    I am glad the BA card remains a proper Amex though, I have been stung with the fact additional cards on MBNA carry the same number. When the additional cardholder had to cancel their cards due to theft it put my cards out of action too. You also with MBNA can’t have a breakdown of who spent what.

  • David says:

    Disappointing news about Spain. The key benefits of holding the Spanish Iberia Sendo cards were a) the availability of a Visa card in addition to Amex, b) two annual half price point purchase promotions (self and gift) lasting about one week normally followed by c) half price redemption promotions on IB metal during a window of about six weeks. These were holdovers from the pre IAG takeover and effectively allowed redemptions at 25% of normal cost on purchased points. Since the IAG takeover, though, premium cabin availability was significantly reduced. I hoped that would be improved by the latest changes leading to programme spin-off. Without the point purchase/redemption opportunities of the old business model, the programme is going to be far less attractive to me.

  • JK says:

    The Delta deal was renewed for 7 years. Stephen Squeri said this:

    “when we signed a deal
    with Delta, it is a cobrand deal extension for seven years, it’s a card
    acceptance deal, it’s a membership rewards, it’s a consumer travel and it’s a
    business travel working with the joint venture. BA was exactly the same
    thing. That’s a remarkable partnership. And we were committed to creating
    value together and grow faster as a result of our renewed partnership, and
    that that’s going to be partnership is all about and we feel great about
    that, and our list of partners are expanding.”

    I have no idea if that means the BA deal was extended for 7 years too, but sounds like it. I’m sure I read 3 years, but maybe that was with Starwood.

    Also one other headline:

    Have the transcript of the meeting now. Will send it over.

  • mark2 says:

    Great news now that the 241 is more valuable after the Avios devaluation.

  • Martin says:

    Despite the devaluation of Avios this still remains a very good deal.

  • andystock says:

    Amex also have a small operation in Ireland for when Aer Lingus becomes part of IAG.

  • simon s says:

    I wish we would get some new players in the points credit card field – wish Barclays had a decent offering like they do in the US, would love more opportunities to really play the points game. I get to spend nearly 150k with work spend and its really annoying that I have to do it all with Amex.

  • joe says:

    Barclaycard has a Spanish business. I think it is pretty big.

    • David says:

      Indeed, plenty of Barclaycard customers in Spain. Given that Barclaycard operated at an arms length business from Barclays other operations, I expect they still have those customers in Spain. They won’t have sold them on to Caxia with the sale of their retail banking business. (Barclaycard unit was the introduced card provider across barclays different banking units, in the UK and abroad).