Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways moves credit card fees to a flat 1% ….. as Virgin Atlantic scraps them

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

According to reports in Business Traveller, British Airways is changing the way it calculates credit card fees on bookings from 14th December.

The current charge is a flat fee of £5 per booking, with no fee on award bookings or when debit cards are used.  This is obviously unattractive on low value bookings, although in those scenarios you would presumably have no liquidity problem if you used a debit card anyway.

British Airways BA A380 flying

The new structure is a flat percentage rate of 1%.  This is obviously attractive for a £39 one-way economy flight to Manchester, but a nightmare for anyone paying for a number of premium tickets.

Whilst the card fee is capped at £20, this is per ticket and not per booking, so a family of four could still be faced with an £80 bill for four Club World tickets.

It is hard to claim that the new structure is ‘unfair’.  I would only point out you are more likely to put an expensive ticket on a credit card and may not have the option of using a debit card if you do not have the money immediately available.

There does not appear to be any discount for British Airways credit card holders.

It is not clear if the fee will continue to be waived for anyone who states that their credit card is registered outside the UK.

Whilst Virgin Atlantic scraps its card fee …..

It is possible that British Airways chose to do this because Virgin Atlantic has always had a similar – higher, actually, at 1.5% – card pricing structure.

However, with great timing, Virgin Atlantic dropped all credit card fees when it relaunched its website last weekend.

Whether this survives now that British Airways is charging up to £20 per ticket remains to be seen.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2022 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 top current deals.

There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an Economy 2-4-1 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 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

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.

The bonus on the Capital On Tap card is increased from points worth 10,000 Avios to 30,000 Avios until 4th February 2022.

The bonus on the British Airways Accelerating Business card is increased from 30,000 Avios to 45,000 Avios until 28th February 2022.

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

45,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

30,000 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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.

Apply 31st March 2022 and your cashback will be increased to 2% for the first three months.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (2% for your first 3 months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (115)

  • Anon says:

    Finally Virgin leading the pack, with this and connecting FlyBE flights, they are working hard to retain customers from migrating to BA (esp from the regions)

  • Sam G says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Virgin removal is temporary and related to their system migration (to Delta platform, no CC fees in the US)

    It’s either a nice revenue earner or it pushes people to debit cards which have a far lower cost to the airline

  • Bob says:

    Urgh … and a problem with moving people to debit card payments is that Amex travel insurance on the Plat requires that you paid with an Amex…

    • Nick says:

      I was told by Amex (Brighton) that as long as you hold an Amex Platinum your’re insured. No need to pay with your a Amex.

      • Rob says:

        Not quite that simple. You are covered for big stuff (medical) but not for small stuff (eg £200 back if your plane is 4 hours delayed).

      • the_real_a says:

        For medical yes – but not for baggage or disruption coverage. If you rely on Plat Insurance please download and read the booklet very carefully.

  • Charlie says:

    Presumably residents from Ukraine are exempt still?

  • Phil says:

    How about BA Hotel bookings with credit cards?

    • Genghis says:

      Do BA Hotel bookings offer any value vs Hotels.com with 10% back from rewards and perhaps 7% from cash / points back?

      • AndyR says:

        I’ve had a few good deals with BA holidays where the flights + hotel was only £10-£20 more than flights only. For example, I paid £138 per person for 2 nights in Krakow in December and flights on their own were around £125 (HBO). So got 2 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn for £26.

  • Stuart says:

    O/t – anyone receiving only one email a day? The other two are definitely not caught in spam filter, they don’t arrive to my mail server at all.

    • the real harry says:

      you could set up an alias email ID that goes to the same email address as your main 1, subscribe to HFP again, the unsubscribe on the dodgy main one

    • Rob says:

      Only you Stuart! Your ISP is blocking them (stage 1 spam filtering which you cannot control) before they hit your inbox (stage 2 spam filtering).

      • Stuart says:

        Slightly worrying since I run my own spam filter. Are your logs showing stage 1 refusal or are you talking generally?

        • Rob says:

          I do see the data: you got the 3rd story today but not the top two which had a ‘soft bounce’ back from your ISP. Yesterday the top email and the 3rd email had a ‘soft bounce’ back. The day before you got all three.

          This is how MailChimp defines “soft bounce”:

          Soft bounces typically indicate a temporary delivery issue to an address and are handled differently than hard bounces by MailChimp. When an email address soft bounces, it will immediately display as a soft bounce in the campaign report.

          If an email address continues to soft bounce in additional campaigns, the address will eventually be considered a hard bounce and cleaned from your list. We’ll allow seven soft bounces for an email address with no subscriber activity and up to 15 soft bounces for subscribers with previous subscriber activity before converting a soft bounce into a hard bounce. While there are many reasons an email address may soft bounce, below are some common reasons this could happen.

          Mailbox is full (over quota).
          Recipient email server is down or offline.
          Email message is too large.

  • Barry cutters says:

    Here come more boycot Ba comments …..

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.