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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.

British Airways Premium Plus American Express

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.

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? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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. Here are the other top current deals:

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 offers.

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

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (110)

  • Chris Cannon says:

    You say sweetened the pill with improved sign up bonus but I disagree. This is for new sign ups so it’s a pill they don’t have to take whereas existing card holders (loyalists) get stuck with the increase only. I’d have liked a communication from Amex with a renewal bonus or some other way of keeping us happy

  • Howard says:

    Do we know if existing cardholders have to pay £195 renewal fee?

    • Ash says:

      I’m assuming so but I’d like to know the official stance on this as well since we have two Premium cards.

      • Kev says:

        When they raised the fee for PRG I kept paying the old fee however, this is only 1 years worth so could change next year for me to the increased fee.

  • JamesWag says:

    Well I was pretty much planning on ditching this card as I travel solo mostly now 🙁 so find the 2-4-1 less appealing.
    This just helps make my mind up.

    Still a bargain if you hit the spend & manage to get J or F somewhere rather long haul so I don’t think they’ll lose many customers over this, just ones who were thinking of moving on anyway.

    Got the Amex Plat a month ago so will put spend there instead. In fact off this morning to Marseille for a few nights, taking advantage of Le Club Accor Platinum status while we still can. First time in T3 First Galleries too. Nice eggs Benedict 🙂

    • TrufflePiglet says:

      Wouldn’t it be better to keep the BAPP since it gives you 1.5 Avios per £ spend as opposed to 1 Avios per £1 for the Platinum Amex?

      • Mike says:

        Not necessarily… If the 2-4-1 isn’t valuable then you would need to get £195 worth of additional Avios from BAPP spend than from the Plat to be worth keeping. That’s quite a lot of £ you’d need to put through the card!

  • Volker says:

    The owners of our local supermarket are very happy with the cap on card fees which will increase their profits – as expected, prices of their products have not gone down. Do you think the cap on card fees will be removed if Britain leaves the EU?

  • Richard says:

    I am sure this is right, but you can’t hold both free and premium cards at the same time right? I am thinking of ditching my free card to get the premium, but i think i have to wait 6 months to ensure i get the bonus!? The free card sign up bonus looks fantastic, but i think the real value is still in the premium.,

    • James says:

      I echo your entire comment. I got the free card a few months ago and sort of regret it after chatting to another guy (in the A380 bar!) who made me realise the premium card is the only one of the two worthwhile.
      I read a comment yesterday, someone said they churn every couple of months and never seem to be hit by the 6 month rule

  • John Tickner says:

    The timing of the bonus works for me (for once!)
    Is it OK to time a new application to 6months and 1 day from when the previous account was cancelled ?

    • Ryan says:

      I think so. I recently sent Amex an onlone message asking when I could first apply for a platinum Amex following cancelling my gold and still getting the bonus. Customer services were happy to inform me of the earliest date I could apply.

      • Genghis says:

        Me too. Amex plat application going in today (t + 6 months and a day)

        • Gavin says:

          Whenever I’ve cancelled Amex proactively tell me the date. Straight into my outlook calendar.

  • mr bridge says:

    OK

    log into to your ba amex card
    click on the card benefits tab
    click the second tab down ‘AVIOS’
    Once this slides to the left, ant the bottom of the text click on ‘show terms and conditions’
    then you will see:
    Examples shown are based on redeeming Avios through the British Airways Executive Club programme for return flights departing from and returning to London.
    With the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card you will earn 1.25 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend and 2.5 Avios for virtually every full £1 you spend direct with British Airways on BA flights and holidays.

    • Rob says:

      I have the Amex news release, nothing else changes.

      • Steve says:

        Nothing else changes………yet

        Mine also says:-
        Examples shown are based on redeeming Avios through the British Airways Executive Club programme for return flights departing from and returning to London.

        With the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card you will earn 1.25 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend and 2.5 Avios for virtually every full £1 you spend direct with British Airways on BA flights and holidays.

    • Genghis says:

      Agreed. The headline still says 1.5 (3 for BA) but the Ts and Cs say 1.25 (2.5 for BA). If so, this card is definitely a churner considering at the moment I can still get 2 on the legacy BMI card

      • Ed says:

        The t&c’s on the application page I’ve just looked at refer to 1.5 avios per £? Which t&c’s are you looking at?

        • Genghis says:

          I followed Mr Bridge’s instructions. Log into your Amex account and go to BAPP account, click on the ‘card benefits’ tab and the second row down called ‘AVIOS’.

          The title says “1.5 Avios for virtually every full £1 you spend, and 3 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend direct with British Airways or BA Holidays.”

          However, if you click into the ‘AVIOS’ selection and click on “Show Terms and Conditions”, it says “Examples shown are based on redeeming Avios through the British Airways Executive Club programme for return flights departing from and returning to London. With the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card you will earn 1.25 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend and 2.5 Avios for virtually every full £1 you spend direct with British Airways on BA flights and holiday”

          Perhaps more changes are due…

          • Rum says:

            I was able to find this too. It does look worrying, but as it’s nowhere else, maybe it’s just a typo?
            Either way, I’m definitely holding on to my BAPP and not downgrading, “just in case”…

  • Chris says:

    Hi, I have 2 club seats return booked via avios London to Vegas return, I’ve just received the voucher. Can I call BA and apply that voucher to my upcoming booking?

    • Rob says:

      Unfortunately not

      • mr bridge says:

        i thought the call centre could do this, by applying the cancel/change fee??

    • Genghis says:

      If there’s still availability you might be able to book again using 241 then cancel current booking (for a fee).

    • harry says:

      They’ll probably guide you through it. I think officially you book 1 avios seat for yourself then ring the call centre to add the companion 241 seat. So they might cancel your 2nd seat – you might pay cancellation fee? if they’re picky – then re-book the same seat using 241.

      Others can tell you how helpful the call centre staff are in your circs. All I can say is that if you put on the pleasant charm & hit the right call girl, you can get a lot gratis, I’ve had free name changes and reduced price cancellation fees in the past just by asking nicely

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