Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Amex unveils a £195 fee on the BA Premium Plus – plus increased sign-up bonuses

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American Express unveiled its first response to the new 0.3% cap on retailer interchange fees yesterday.  It increased the annual fee on the British Airways Premium Plus card from £150 to £195.

To be fair, this increase was arguably overdue – the fee has remained steady for 13 years since the card as launched.  The other benefits, including the 1.5 Avios per £1 earning rate, double Avios on BA transactions and the 2-4-1 voucher for spending £10,000 are unchanged.

I said ‘first response’ because I don’t believe that this will be the end of the changes.  For a start, the logical impact of these changes is to push more people towards the free card.  However, I don’t believe that American Express can make any money on the free card when interchange fees are capped at 0.3% and it is giving out 1 Avios point per £1 spent.  Something will have to give.

It is possible, for now, that the contract between Amex and BA only allows changes to the annual fee and interest rates and not the other benefits.  It is unlikely that we will see any further changes for a while.

To sweeten the pill, American Express has increased the sign-up bonuses on the two British Airways American Express cards.

The Premium Plus version, now with the £195 annual fee, offers 25,000 Avios instead of 18,000 Avios. You must spend £3,000 within three months to receive the bonus.

The basic, free, card now offers 9,000 Avios instead of 3,000 Avios. You must spend £1,000 within three months to receive the bonus.

The representative APR on the Premium Plus card is 76.0% variable including the fee based on a £1200 credit limit. The representative APR on the free card is 22.9% variable.

British Airways Premium Plus American Express

My full review of the benefits of the Premium Plus card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

My full review of the free card is here. This is actually the most improved deal jumping from 3,000 to 9,000 Avios. Amex’s own home page is here.

Both reviews reflect the new fee structure and bonuses and also include details of the higher ‘refer a friend’ bonus which is also available.

The higher bonuses will last until 15th June.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my December 2020 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 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 (110)

  • Andy says:

    Presumably no change for those of us still grandfathered via the old plat charge rules of free BA PP card?

  • Simon Schus says:

    Hi all 🙂

    Just got an mail from Curve with the dispatch date of my card. My card is being dispatched on the 10th May. That seems rather disappointing given that they promised they’d be sent out in the last week of March over four weeks.

    Anyway, here is the email:

    “Your Curve batch details

    Dear SimonSchus,

    We’re really pleased to be able to confirm your Curve batch details.

    Your Curve card is being processed, packaged and is scheduled to be dispatched from the 10th of May, sent first class.

    You should have received an email from us asking you to confirm your order details. If not, you will receive one very shortly. We’ll also email again when your card is dispatched and to confirm that we’ve taken payment.

    Thanks so much for your patience whilst you’ve been waiting for your Curve.

    Despite us working around the clock to fulfil demand we haven’t been able to get all the cards out as quickly as we would have liked. We’ve built something that’s never been built before and some parts took longer than expected

    We’re really sorry for any delay or frustration caused to you – please know how excited we are to finally put Curve in your hands.

    Any questions, please get in touch at [email protected]

    Thanks,

    Curve Community Champion”

    • Arun T says:

      I just got mine too – 19th May for me – so dont complain!

    • joe says:

      Same thing here. To be honest if it works as promised, I will forgive them the delay.

      • harry says:

        wishful thinking lol

        so you’re all getting unlimited free Avios with the ATM cash withdrawals?

        Matron!

  • Matt W says:

    I haven’t had anything Curve, which sounds like a software development problem (see First Law of Programming – No Program is Ever Finished).

    But I do now have my Best Western Diamond after a Status Match from Accor Platinum.

  • Chewbacca says:

    Can anyone confirm whether 241 vouchers are supposed to lapse if you cancel the BA cards? I’m pretty sure I cancelled a card before and the voucher remained displayed in BA Exec account. I think one expired and one is still there. Is it supposed to remain valid or lapse or is this a technical glitch, would it actually work if I tried to renew (nothing planned just now) just wondering on the actual position.

    • Rob says:

      It doesn’t lapse.

      You are not 100% certain to get the voucher back if you later cancel a redemption and Amex need to reissue it.

    • Nathan says:

      I cancelled my BA card in Jan and my 241 voucher is still on BAEC. But my mate tang to cancel his and was told he would definitely loose his 241 voucher by 2 members of staff.

  • RTS says:

    So, does anyone know if you can churn the virgin cards?

  • Tom Foxton says:

    American Express cards aren’t directly affected by the interchange cap, it’s only Visa and MasterCard cards that are caught by the regulations. Thus Amex can, and still do, charge merchants a rate above 0.3%…

  • Chris says:

    Hi, when it states the sign up bonus deal lasts until 15th June, does that mean that you must sign up for the card before June 15th to receive the bonus, or do you need to have spent £1000 on the card by June 15th to receive the point bonus?

  • Peter says:

    Forgive me if this has been asked and answered – my 241 voucher shows valid for 2 years on my BAEC account, I’d rather not pay the £150 (or maybe £195) renewal fee for the BAAE card (I have Amex Gold CC too) but I think the T&Cs say I need to pay for the 241 tickets using it – can I revert to the free card and use that to pay for the 241 travel? Thoughts? Many thanks!