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? – December 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our November 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 top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee 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

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

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

30,000 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 (115)

  • Kian says:

    When you pay by Amex, if you choose the billing country to be any other country than UK, then there’s no surcharge, and the payment would go through as long as other parts of the billing address are correct. I’ve done this many times, and there wasn’t any problem for BA to refund me after I claiming the price guarantee.

    • Rum says:

      But doesn’t that mean you get charges in a non-£ sterling currency?

      • Genghis says:


      • the real harry says:

        No. You only get charged in a foreign currency when you book (say) a 1-way originating in a non-UK country. Not sure if there is a way round this.

        But if you live in Ukraine and book to fly out of UK, it’s in GBP

      • Kian says:

        No because you’re on UK site and the price was quoted in GBP already. Even you really use a card issued in America say, you’re still paying in GBP. Btw I don’t think there was any surcharge at all when I purchased a single ticket from Europe to UK which was priced in EUR.

    • Alan says:

      Shhh 😉

  • Rum says:

    If you’re not claiming a 241 or similar offer, booking your flights via the Amex travel site saves the credit card fees altogether. Use an Amex Gold and you are laughing with tripple points!! 🙂

    • the real harry says:

      drawback being it’s T-330 not T-355

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      Not checked with a recent BA flight, but I used to also book via Amex travel for my KLM flights as they charge £5 also on So used to save this booking with Amex. But noticed the other month the prices via Amex travel now rolled in the £5 you used to pay on so a loophole closed down there! Not done a dummy BA booking to check if it’s spread yet.

  • Adrian says:

    £195 now for the BAPP, now 1% on top, I thought BA would be looking to increase business not drive it in to the ground. I phoned BA last week and paid for our Tallinn flights and asked why BA charged their own customers, with their own credit cards a £5 per ticket fee. The guy doing the ticketing said he didn’t know, but lots of people moan/mention it, this isn’t going to help. Do other airlines do this e.g. Finnair, as in this case I could have booked through them. Should I be looking elsewhere other then BA to book (where possible)?

  • Lewis Watson says:

    Even Ryan air doesn’t charge when you use there own branded card

  • scott says:


    Just got email from The TIMES, saying there is a delay in posting avios from subs, they are ‘ working hard with our partners’ to get it sorted.

    Fair play for reaching out, atlas they have not forgotten about it.

  • Nick says:

    I flew from LHR to AMS this morning to connect to an ex EU J class flight with Qatar. On the BA flight I overheard an interesting conversation between a BA gold card holder and a long serving stewardess. The Gold card holder was bemoaning the fall in standards and penny pinching. The stewardess was very sympathetic and saying the reductions in service are really being commented on by frequent flyers and gold card holders and as a result staff morale is low with staff viewing Cruz’s short term drive for profit as a long term disaster in the making as passengers vote with their feet.

  • British Airways To Introduce A 1% Credit Card Booking Fee - UK Only says:

    […] how you feel about this change will depend on what your trips flights normally cost – HeadForPoints has reported that the £20 cap will apply per ticket and not per […]

  • Michael says:

    I have to agree with the negative sentiment. You can’t ignore the declining benefits. The triple issues are too obvious: Avios devaluations, Amex handling fees and annual fees, and the generally declining ambitions of BA to be a first class carrier are all gloom. On the other hand, the Middle East carriers and maybe to some extent Virgin, who cover a lot of popular routes, do a great job (most of all, try Ethiad!). It seems to me they are more conscious of travellers’ expectations. They deserve the business. I don’t feel like that about BA.

    • the real harry says:

      apart from loss of free F&booze, the situation in Europe is pretty good for people not willing to pay CE (me!)

      The only other recent negative afaiac is the small loss in mileage Avios (75% devaluation ISTR) – but they were a tiny % of the Avios we earn because most of our trips are redemptions.

      Vs LCCs, cash tickets are amazing cheap in HBO & competitive in Standard (ie with luggage). Provided you can buy tickets ahead of time, of course.

      It’s easy to get the seats you want, for free, with a few tricks – and families can therefore sit together.

      I’m still very annoyed at the loss of free F&booze on tickets I bought ahead where free F&booze was advertised as part of the deal – still contemplating my position. But going forward (new bookings) – not a major issue.

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.