Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card is the best card for long-term spending

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With the sign-up bonus on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus (BAPP) card increased to 25,000 Avios until February, I thought it was worth taking another look at why I rate this card for long term spending.   I have a BAPP and my wife has her own too.

This is especially important given the recent fee hike to £195 per year which may have made you reconsider the value you get from the card.

I am obliged to remind you that the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card has a representative APR of 76.0% variable based on a £1,200 credit limit.  The free British Airways American Express card has a representative APR of 22.9% variable.

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

A lot of the credit card posts on Head for Points are focussed on sign-up bonuses.  Get a card, spend the minimum required to trigger the bonus, cancel the card, move on.

That works fine for some people.  However, if you are a high to medium spender then the few thousand pounds of card spend required each year to hit your sign-up bonus targets will not be a stretch.  You need to consider where to put the rest of your annual spend.

Many credit card issuers offer incentives for spending £10,000+ per year on their cards.  The value of these perks is often underestimated – they are often worth far more than the points for your normal spend and can be more valuable than the sign-up bonus, especially as you can earn them year after year.

Here are the key cards which offer annual benefits for spending a large sum:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – 2-4-1 voucher on Avios redemptions for spending £10,000

British Airways American Express – 2-4-1 voucher on Avios redemptions for spending £20,000

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending £15,000

Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express & Visa – upgrade voucher for spending £7,000

Virgin Atlantic Black American Express & Visa – upgrade vouchers at £5,000 and £10,000

IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard – free night voucher for spending £10,000

Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa – Hilton HHonors Gold status for spending £10,000

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express – free night voucher for spending £25,000

By a substantial margin, the most valuable of these is the 2-4-1 voucher offered on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus.

A potential 10% return on your spending

When you spend £10,000 on the BAPP card, you get a voucher which gives you two Avios redemptions (on BA planes, ex-UK only) for the miles of one.  You still need to pay the full taxes and charges on both tickets, however.

On an average redemption (two Club World tickets to San Francisco on a peak day, say), this saves you 150,000 Avios points.  On a First Class flight or a longer Club World trip, the saving could easily exceed 200,000 Avios.

I have a very conservative valuation of Avios points of 0.75p.  Most readers value them more highly.  However, even at 0.75p, the 2-4-1 voucher is ‘worth’ £1,100 if it saves you 150,000 Avios points on a trip.

£1,100 of value for spending £10,000 on the card is an excellent return.  Even when you factor in the £195 annual fee, you are still getting a £900 net return on your £10,000 of spending.

Why I prefer the Premium Plus card to the free British Airways American Express

As I wrote in this article, I am NOT a fan of the free British Airways American Express card if you plan to earn the 2-4-1 voucher.

This is the despite the fact that you would save £195 in annual fee by taking out the free BA card instead of the Premium Plus.

Why is this?

The 2-4-1 voucher on the BAPP card lasts for two years, whilst the voucher on the free card only lasts for one year.  This is very important since, on busy routes, you may need to book 11 months ahead to guarantee the seats you want.

You earn an extra 0.5 Avios per £1 spent, which outweighs some of the £195 fee

You only need to spend £10,000 and not £20,000 to trigger the voucher.  Even if you can easily do £20,000 of American Express spending per year, it would make more sense to get a 2nd Premium Plus card for your partner and put £10,000 through that as well – so you generate 2 x 241 vouchers each year, each valid for two years – rather than put £20,000 through the free card.

My full review of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus can be found here.  The official Amex website and application form is here


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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 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.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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 – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 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

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (174)

  • harry says:

    I was actually unaware of Morrisons (my preferred one as closest) doing giftcards that work at fuel, thx I’ll see if I can forward load maybe £1000 tomorrow, might as well get twice as many points as afterwards

  • Terry Silver says:

    Slightly O/T – just booked first 241 redemption since getting involved in all this last year. taking the missus club world to vegas next year (no first availabllity) for anniversary. Never flown club before so very excited.

    Thank you to all, especially raffles 🙂

  • Keith says:

    I’ve had the free BA Amex card since 2010. It’s the card I use for all of my daily spending. I would prefer to have the Premium Plus card instead. Is it easy to upgrade rhe card or does one have to cancel it, wait for six months and then reapply?

  • David says:

    Hi all – can anyone tell me how long the 241 takes to appear in your account once triggered? I’m waiting (impatiently) as we speak!

    • Rob says:

      72 hours from when transaction hits your statement

      • David says:

        Oh – it’s been 11 days for me! I upgraded to the paid card from the free one and immediately hit the target. I’ll have to give them a call…

  • Simon says:

    O/T

    I have the BAPP & Amex gold cards, but want to get a visa or mastercard for places that wont take amex. Dont mind whether its a hotel card just want to earn points for all my spending 😉

  • Talay says:

    Some analysis of the practical use of BAPP and 241 and costs.

    We run 2 x BAPP to give flexibility on who goes (family of 3) as we don’t often all fly long haul and come back on the same dates and we need the 241 in both names.

    Wife and child just got back on the LHR-BKK route with a 241 for July / Sept 2017 – amazed to get space but it came at a cost of £1030 in taxes and 165,000 Avios. But is this a deal ?

    Without extra offers, an adult and child on Etihad would cost about £2800 usually but this comes with a far better product and chauffeurs. It also accrues mileage.

    If it takes us 2 years to generate 165k Avios then the BAPP costs (now) £780 over 2 years. Add in the £1030 taxes and say £200 for chauffeurs and you have a cash figure of £2010. Versus the Etihad £2800 that means you are using 165k Avios to save £690 which equates to 0.42 pence per Avios.

    Dropping back to the free BA card would save £390 a year at the cost of some Avios for sure but on my maths, it doesn’t really seem much sense to keep with BA and Avios at the cost there is when I could use the Avios for other stuff where I get better value.

    Of course, I would love first class to Australia but I think the whole world is trying to bag that bargain. Whenever I look there is no availability and I suspect I would never get the opportunity when I would want to go.

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