Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The BA American Express interest rate goes up, and why I hope you couldn’t care less

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If you have a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, you should have received a letter in recent weeks informing you that the interest rate on purchases was increasing to 22.9% APR variable.

As of yesterday, this rate is also being applied to new applications.  On the free BA card, the rate has jumped by a whopping 7% from 15.9% to 22.9%.

(The sign-up bonus on the cards has also increased, but I want to cover that tomorrow in a separate article.)

The headline rate on the Premium Plus card is now a whopping 60.7% APR variable, because credit regulations mean that Amex has to factor the £150 annual fee into the calculation.

I am hoping that you couldn’t care less about this change!

Credit cards

If you pay interest on your credit card, you should NOT be using a ‘miles and points’ card for your spending.  These cards are good for sign-up bonuses and are good for rewarding your on-going spending, but in general they do not offer a good deal on interest rates.

A quick look at Moneyfacts shows a long list of credit cards which offer 0% interest deals on purchases.  At the time of writing, there is a 24-month interest free deal from Virgin Money which tops the list.  If you are paying interest on your credit card balance, this is a far better deal for you than earning a few miles but paying 22.9% interest for the privilege.

There is only one ‘miles earning’ card that I know of which offers 0% on new purchases.

This version of the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard (click) offers 0% interest for 28 months on new purchases.  The interest rate is 18.9% variable after 28 months.

You would also earn 1 Clubcard point for every £4 you spend.  This equates to 2.4 Avios per £4 spent if you convert your Clubcard points across to British Airways.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

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

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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.

Comments (55)

  • Rob says:

    Thanks for that. That is only for balance transfers, though, and not new purchases, unlike the Tesco card.

    • Rob says:

      Sorry Gavin, you’re right. I looked at the wrong part of the website.

      Article updated, thanks for your help.

  • Tom C says:

    Rob, I really wish you mentioned about this before now. I’ve signed up for 94 credit cards this year all based on your advice and pay it all back at 50p a month. Unfortunately the interest got out of control, so I now pay off it off a monthly basis with a combination of Wonga loans, begging and stealing from family and friends and drug trafficking. I was lonely before starting to read your website, yet now I get regular visits from my new friends. Sure, they turn up and threaten to murder me if I don’t pay them back, but they’re just jokers like that.

    Now does anyone have a fiver they can lend me?

  • Lumma says:

    Quick one which I’m not sure of the answer, as I get paid weekly I pay my balance on my ba card back sporadically throughout the month while also using it to buy things. As a result the balance due from the previous statement is paid but there is rarely the total balance at zero as I’ve purchased new things. Will I be charged interest or not? Ive only had the card 2 months and haven’t had my second bill yet

    • cheekychappie says:

      If you pay off the previous month in full, you won’t incur interest charges.

      Obviously the balance will not be nil as you continue to use the card on an ongoing basis.

    • Rob says:

      As long as the total you pay before the ‘payment due date’ is greater than what you had outstanding at your last statement cut-off date, you are fine.

      So, if you happened to owe £300 on July 31st when your statement was printed and you ‘payment due’ date for August 25th, and you paid £100 on August 8, 15, 22 and 29, then you would be OK as £300 was paid by the £25th.

      If you paid £100 on August 15, 22 and 29 you would NOT be OK.

      • Lumma says:

        Thanks for clarifying that. I thought that was how it worked but didn’t want to be gaining about 500-1000 avios a month and paying a fortune in interest.