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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)

  • Gareth Morgan says:

    Can I get these, and the points, via Centurion?

  • Genghis says:

    I’d say it’s decent even just for the sign up bonus. For you, you’ll get the net 22k avios most likely for even less than the net cost of £147.75 (cancel as soon as you’ve hit £3k spend and avios have transferred to BAEC account for a prorata refund).

    • dewsburyborn says:

      Yes, I did that cancellation thing once before on the BAPP. tbh, I felt a bit bad doing it. I wonder if they ‘black mark’ you for future applications ?

  • MIM says:

    I’ve been meaning to get around to cancelling mine for ages.

    I’m in Manchester, so having to factor in LHR positioning/repositioning flights when trying to schedule a weekend break (without abusing grandma’s goodwill having the kids for a few days…). Add in the impact of the taxes and charges (I’m currently in ‘a period of fiscal recovery’….), and the likelihood of actually using a 2-for-1 have been pretty remote.

    I’ve not put anything on the BA Amex in quite a while – apart from the annual fee, which hit at the start of the year.

    However, in light of the ‘fluidity’ of the credit card market, I was wondering if it might be sensible to retain it and cross my fingers that I’ll actually have a few quid to spend on travel in the not-too-distant future. This would be reliant on current card holders retaining current benefits (earning rate, annual fee and 2-for-1) which might evaporate for new sign-ups.

    What’s the expert opinion of this scenario – i.e. a) devaluation of benefits on the BA Amex over the coming months and b) protection of current benefits for existing card holders?

  • Ben says:

    Totally off topic but I need to vent somewhere and any advice would be appreciated.

    I flew to Geneva on Sunday morning (Avios) , for some reason, one of my suitcases was put on the next flight resulting in a wasted 2 hours hanging around the airport and wasting precious skiing time. I asked ba for compensation and was basically told not a chance. Has anyone experienced something similar?

    • Johnnycl says:

      I’ve had compensation for bags being delayed by 2-3 days (not BA), but wouldn’t expect more than an apology for two hours.

    • Genghis says:

      Put in a complaint on their online system ( so everything is in writing and you have your facts straight. You might have to wait a while and chase a bit but someone will be in touch, argue your case (no pun intended…) and you might get some free avios.

      • ahop says:

        I encountered the same sort of delay and received 10k miles as a goodwill gesture out of it.

    • shobba says:

      Hi I waited 75minutes for my snowboard to be delivered in the departure hall at GVA so missed my resort transfer (last of the evening), had to cough for an overnight hotel stay in Geneva, dinner and missed most of a day’s skiing. No joy from BA customer relations or CEO office.

      I’m sorry to hear it took over an hour for your snowboard to be delivered to the baggage carousel when you travelled to Geneva on 05 March. I appreciate how frustrating this was for you, especially as you missed your shuttle bus to the resort.
      Sometimes it can take longer than we’d like for baggage to be delivered to the carousel, especially during busy periods. As snowboards are often stored in an alternative part of the hold to regular baggage, they can take longer to be taken off the aircraft. I apologise for the inconvenience you’ve been caused.
      Whilst I understand and appreciate your reasons for asking, we’re unable to offer compensation for the problems faced. We need to be fair and consistent with all our customers. This means we can’t make an exception this time and I’m so sorry to let you down. If you had travel insurance, they may be able to help.
      Thanks again for letting us know what happened. As a Bronze member of our Executive Club, we really appreciate your support and if there is anything else we can help with, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the blue link below.
      Best regards
      Jane Burrage

    • Alan says:

      That’s really annoying, Ben. Did they tell you at the time it was on a later flight? If so I’d have just left and given them details to courier it on to you. Definitely worth pushing them for some Avios.

  • Lebron James says:


    Is the fee refunded pro-rata on the Virgin Card like on Amex cards?


    • Johnnycl says:

      Non-refundable according to Raffle’s article. The white one is fee free though for 10k points.

  • harry says:

    what a coincidence! 🙂

  • m says:

    showing 18,500 miles here?

  • Rob says:

    They don’t mess about!

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