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.
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.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
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
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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.