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

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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.


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Comments (115)

  • Amtexfly says:

    Sorry to jump in with an off topic comment…

    If I have a booking with a 241 voucher, can I cancel the credit card that was used to earn the voucher without affecting the booking?

  • David says:

    Oh dear, another backward step in customer service – especially when BA labelled cards are used.

  • Genghis says:

    Is there some law / regulation that prevents BA from rolling the credit card charge into ticket prices and part of the general cost of doing business? Bar tiny corner shops, I wouldn`t get charged a supplement elsewhere…

  • Martin says:

    Pay by debit card, no problem.

    • Genghis says:

      And lose S75 protection. I always pay by credit card now since I lost out with Malev…

      • Rum says:

        This is a very important point. Section 75 protection (only available on a credit card) clinches the deal for me. But I agree this is not an attractive ‘feature’, especially for those of us paying an annual fee for a BA-branded Amex. I’d expect them to make an exception for BA card holders and waive all credit card fees accordingly.

    • Genghis says:

      I`m not sure I follow Harry. Let`s put some numbers to the example. If I buy GBP1,000 flight and
      1) Pay by BAPP, I earn 1,500 avios (say at 1p ea = GBP15) but pay GBP10 for the privilege, but Im up net GBP5.
      2) Pay by debit card, I earn nothing extra but it costs me nothing extra, Ì^m flat.
      Where does the 2% come from?

  • Eva says:

    I have always thought that charging the credit card booking fee was slightly unreasonable especially if I am paying via their own co-branded credit card. Now 1% fee is just ridiculous. I am getting more and more put off by BA tbh… Have been loyal for quite some time but now seriously considering other options.

    • Billy Buzzjet says:

      So just to recap……this year has seen reduced catering in club world, reduced baggage allowance in club world and now an increased credit card fee that will easily hit the majority of club passengers. Let’s add all of this to the ridiculous fee to reserve a seat (if you don’t have status) then the BA business class product truly is very hard to beat. Oh dear. What next…….

      • Frenske says:

        It is only increased credit card fees when spending more than £500 per ticket.

        • dps says:

          …which will affect anybody flying Club World (even on a redemption ticket with £500+ taxes.charges etc). Corporate accounts may not care, but I’m spending my own money..

          As for expecting them to waive the fee when using BA AmEx, they seem to have decided it’s cheaper to throw15K (devalued) Avios at those of us who.ve held the card for 15 years!

      • trickster says:

        I wouldn’t say it affects the majority of club passengers, as these would be on corporate bookings.

      • Anon says:

        And removal of service on UK connecting flights for Club World/First pax…

    • Genghis says:

      Eva – Ive just read some of your blog and I loved the writing style. Hope you continue to enjoy living in London…

  • h1tvd says:

    O/T I have some Iberia miles I want to transfer to BA. I opened the account on 15th August 2016, so more than 90 days old but I am not being offered the option to transfer from Iberia to BA just the other way around on the Iberia site, any suggestions?

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Rob you say there is “currently” no fee on redemption bookings, are you implying we will now have to pay the 1% on these too?

    • Rob says:

      No plans, but you never know with BA! Seems a bit of an open goal unfortunately.

  • Nick Anon says:

    The slaps in the face just keep coming!
    Ive only just got the BAPP card – it will definitely be cancelled when I get the 241.
    Ive only been into the points collecting lark for 2 or 3 years and, clearly i’ve missed the boat (or plane) but is there any point any more?
    – The US is the place to live to collect miles,
    – I don’t fly for work,
    – Avios devaluation, (a nice welcome for me!)
    – AA tier points reduction (I was planning a trip to get TPs)
    – I decided to put all eggs in the BA basket, the only choice in the UK really.
    – The huge UK air passenger duty
    – Status match offers often bar UK residents
    I might just go back to finding the cheapest option possible – the reward for loyalty is becoming a struggle!
    I could go on, but rant over for now, I need a holiday…

    • James A says:

      I agree, I got into it at a similar time and although I’ve done alright out of it, it has been kick after kick and I’m starting to lose the excitement. I even couldn’t be bothered to scan my clubcard (never mind the credit card) when I filled up yesterday! :/

    • RoC says:

      Just to clarify, whilst the USA is clearly the best place, it’s not the only place.
      I just spent a year in Australia and that is how I got into collecting miles seriously.
      In 6 months I was able to get 183k Qantas miles and 300k Virgin Australia miles… as a result I managed to use those virgin australia miles to book singapore suites from europe to seoul and return back in singapore business

      Just that reward alone has been enough for me, as all my travel is self paid in economy, to make this hobby worthwhile!

      so drop BA (always been pathetic anyway) and move to get some sunshine in australia 😉

      • Nick Anon says:

        Ha ha yes whilst moving to Australia would be fantastic, I couldn’t justify it on the reason of chasing points alone! Mrs Anon may disagree though…

    • Zander says:

      I wouldn’t say the US is the best place depending on who you fly with, if you fly with EK or EY, you can earn significant milage through debit cards issued in Dubai before you even get to credit cards and their sign up bonuses.

      Then there is Australia and Canada which follow a similar practice to the US with credit cards and bonuses.

      You putting all your eggs in BAEC is a silly move, you still had VS and EU airlines (earnings on AMEX) as well as EK and EY (both offer credit cards in UK). I fly LH and earnt miles on the German M&M card which anyone can apply for (German residency isn’t required), there are ways around all programmes and how to get what you want. BAEC is easiest but not the only option.

      • Nick Anon says:

        I agree that there are other options, indeed myself and Mrs Anon are flying to Vietnam in business on Etihad and the Amex Etihad card + Amex Plat signup bonuses help pay for it.
        My point relating to the above article is, everything I read says that it used to be so much better, and that it keeps getting worse – especially in the UK.
        With just one ‘big’ trip every other year and a handful of European (ish) flights every year is there actually a way of earning status? If I don’t commit to BA’s tier points surely I would have to commit to one other EU airline? I’m happy to do mileage runs, and being self employed I can sneak off anytime…!

        • Zander says:

          Airline programmes are getting worse but I wouldn’t say that BAEC is as bad as claim, BA itself is dreadful and I refuse to step foot on a flight but BAEC is good overall.

          I would say that the cutbacks and changes are just because of the new boss coming from a LCC.

          You can join any programme but if I were starting again I would go with BAEC, I am with M&M and if you are just starting and only do a handful of flights you’re buggered for status.

          That said if I were doing long haul and EU flights I would look at Etihad Guest and the EU partnerships as for miles and tier points earning, it is quite sustainable IMO.

        • the real harry says:

          I just don’t get your logic (forgive me!)

          where in the article above does it suggest that things were so much better in the past?

          • Nick Anon says:

            Apologies, I didn’t mean that. I meant in general things were better before, and the article is describing another bit of bad news for us points collector folks!

    • Will says:

      The UK has some awesome opportunities,
      – Tesco points are still an excellent way to generate avois/virgin
      – the BAPP 2-4-1 remains outstanding value for long haul first to places like HKH and SFO
      – Amex plat can generate 200,000 MR’s per year per couple through churning.
      – SPG to Marriott opportunity is new
      – arguably it’s far easier recently to status match hotel chains than ever before

      The game is always changing all the time but real opportunities definitely exist.

      • Bryan says:

        “Amex plat can generate 200,000 MR’s per year per couple through churning”
        This is one of the biggest benefits of the UK over USA. My understanding is that amex USA does not allow churning (correct me if I am wrong) – that is somewhat balanced by having higher signup bonuses, but still without churning things are a lot harder.

        • Rob says:

          Correct, no more Amex US churning

        • Ro says:

          How do you get 200k amex points/year?!

        • Alan says:

          Although per $ earnings rates tend to be higher on US cards and no forex fees – plus their paid-for cards tend to offer the likes of airline credits which markedly reduce the fees.

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