Why it is worth paying an annual fee for a miles and points credit card

I get numerous emails from Head for Points readers asking for advice on which miles and points credit card they should get.  These often come with the caveat “but I don’t want to pay a fee for a card”.

I don’t agree with this approach.  Let me explain why.

Most credit cards in the UK do not carry an annual fee.  It is very likely, before you became interested in miles and points, that you had never paid a fee for a credit card in your life.

I can see why you wouldn’t want to.  You know that the card company gets a cut from the retailer every time you buy something.  You know that they add a substantial (3%) foreign exchange fee whenever you spend abroad, and whenever you end up withdrawing some cash on it (which, however much you try to avoid it, always happens once or twice a year).  You may accidentally miss a payment date occasionally and run up some interest.  Paying for the privilege of generating all this money for the credit card company seems wrong.

I think you need to look at it differently.  Forget that you are paying for a credit card.  Look at it as simply paying for the benefits offered.

Taking the British Airways Premium Plus card as an example

Some people take one look at the £195 annual fee on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card (representative APR 76.0% variable including £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit) and are put off instantly.

Purely from the point of view of the sign-up bonus this is a mistake, of course.  The card is currently offering 25,000 Avios for signing up when you spend £3,000 within 90 days.  The majority of Head for Points readers would jump at the chance of buying 25,000 Avios for £195 which is basically what you are doing.

The fee becomes even more realistic when you look at the 2-4-1 voucher:

Would you pay £195 to buy a voucher which allowed you to get two Avios redemptions (BA planes only) for the miles of one?  This would save you 180,000 Avios on two Club World tickets to Tokyo for example.

This is clearly a ‘no brainer’ for anyone who understands the value of Avios.  180,000 Avios are worth at least £1,800 if used sensibly.  More importantly, if you wouldn’t otherwise be able to earn enough Avios for two Club World tickets to Tokyo, it lets you undertake a trip that would otherwise be impossible.

You need to spend £10,000 to trigger the voucher each year, of course, but you need to channel your credit card spend somewhere anyway.  The £195 fee also lets you earn 50% more Avios on every purchase – 1.5 per £1 – compared to the free British Airways American Express card (representative APR 22.9% variable) and you get a 2-4-1 voucher valid for two years rather than one year.

If you think that spending £10,000 on an American Express card in a year is tricky, don’t forget about BillhopWe covered this new service a couple of weeks ago – it allows you to pay any household bill (not a mortgage or credit card) with an Amex card in return for a fee.  This is a good way of running up a few thousand pounds of Amex spend if you are short of £10,000.

And some other examples

Here are some other examples where, if you treat the fee as paying for a benefits package, it makes sense:

Would you pay £99 per year for Platinum status (2nd tier) in IHG Rewards Club – which usually needs $4,000 of ex-VAT hotel spending – plus a free night in any of their hotels, potentially worth £250+? Especially if you got £100-worth of IHG Rewards Club points in the first year you signed up?

When you put it like that, the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard sounds like a good deal.  You need to spend £10,000 per year to trigger the free night, but you need to put your credit card spend somewhere.

Would you pay £140 per year for the right to upgrade two Virgin Atlantic economy redemptions to premium economy?  Especially if you also got 18,500 Virgin miles in the first year?

When you put it like that, the Virgin Black credit card also looks good value (you need to spend £10,000 to trigger the two vouchers, or £5,000 for one).  That’s before you factor in the ‘2 miles per £1’ earning rate on the Amex.

Would you pay £450 per year to get full travel insurance for your family and five other nominated people under 70 years old, car hire insurance, Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, Marriott Gold, Carlson Gold, Shangri-La Jade, Melia Gold, Eurostar lounge access, Delta lounge access, two Priority Pass cards each admitting two people for free to 1000 airport lounges, and exclusive benefits at luxury hotels including guaranteed 4pm check-out?  Especially if you got 30,000 Avios or other miles in your first year?

This is clearly more of a ‘heavy hitters’ package, but the American Express Platinum charge card will give you all of the above.

Not all credit cards justify their fee …..

I don’t want to suggest that all fee-bearing miles and points cards justify the annual fee.  I struggle with the Tesco Premium MasterCard (unless you spend £5000 per year in Tesco and earn the 5,000 Clubcard points bonus), the new American Airlines card (unless you are a very heavy spender and maximise the 1.25 miles per £ on a Visa) and the Emirates Elite card (again, it only works if you spend a huge amount to maximise the MasterCard 1 mile per £1).  I did see someone in our office building last week using an Emirates Elite card in the cafe so they are out there!

However, if you can get your head around the concept of paying an annual fee, you will find that many miles and points card do offer value for money.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Great article Rob

  2. Why no mention of the Lloyds Avios card? The upgrade voucher saved me 96000 avios for the price of a £24 fee.

    • Jonathan says:

      …on?

      • Used my voucher for club LHR-HKG for price of PE saving 36k avios (off peak) and club SYD-LHR for price of PE saving 60k Avios (off peak).

        • Michael says:

          I thought the Lloyds upgrade voucher had to be used as a return on the same route (or a one way for two pax).
          Kathy how did you use it on two different routes or did you use two different vouchers?

        • Sounds like Kathy did an open-jaw return??

        • Yes, open jaw. You have to book via the Avios.com call centre to do an open jaw – it took some jiggery-pokery because obviously SYD availability is very hard to get. On routes where the availability is there you can just do it all in one go over the phone, though.

        • When you want to do anything more complex with avios like Kathy has done here I find the avios.com CS to be better in general than BA, and quicker too. Of course with the Lloyds voucher there is no choice but to go through avios. For other flights though there might be a downside if everything goes messy on the day, before or after because then we would probably need to sort stuff out with avios rather than BA

  3. Hi Rob,

    I’m a newbie to UK-based annual fee cards, although I used them previously in my home country. My question here is more about redemption on BA where Club World seats are in short supply. I’d like to get an annual fee card and use the 2-for-1 voucher for a month in Australia. The part I can’t get my head around is how to best secure the return trip when most people are booking the Club World Avios seats as soon as they become available (i.e. 365 days out). So, if I need to book a one month long trip, by the time my return date comes up (let’s say Jan 15th, 2018), the outbound seats (Dec 15th, 2017) will have been already snapped up by someone else. How do I get around this? Can I book the one-way redemption for the outbound to hold it and then convert it to a return redemption once the return flights are available?

    If there’s an article on how to do this, please point me that way.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    • I have done this once by booking a holding return date that is available, and then changing my return booking to the date that I really wanted, if and when it later becomes available.

      • OK, but how would this work if I’m booking the outbound as soon as it becomes available? Let’s say today, I’m able to book Oct, 2nd 2018 outbound, but there’s no return available (as we’re a full 365 days out).

    • There’s definitely at least one article on this…

      Book the outbound online using the 241 voucher, 30 days later (or however long it is), phone up at midnight to get the return booked.

      That’s what I’ve done with my previous trips, inc Maldives, Florida and Oz. For my next Oz trip I’m only redeeming as far as Singapore, coming back via KL. For Asia to/from Oz I’m using redemption on Qantas & cheap AirAsia flights.

      • Cheers – glad this is doable. If you have the link to the article, I’d love to have it for reference.

        Thanks @kevino and @TripRep for your replies.

        • Jean Paul says:

          https://www.headforpoints.com/2015/08/31/how-to-use-british-airways-american-express-241-companion-voucher/

          “If you are booking for a very busy destination, the BA call centre is now happy to add a return flight to an existing one-way flight booking using your voucher. This means that you book your outbound flight as soon as it opens up at 355 days prior to travel. At least four World Traveller and two Club World seats should appear immediately. Further seats in those and other travel classes are likely to appear over time.

          When the return flight opens up, you can ring BA and add the return leg to your existing booking. Recent reports suggest that BA is not charging the £35 ticket amendment fee if you do this.”

    • Yes, you book the outbound at 355 days out (not 365 days) and then ring to add the return. Be very clear, though, that trying to do this trick over Christmas still only gives you a modest chance of success because a few others will have the same idea.

      I also point you to this article on why I don’t think redeeming to Oz is a great idea, albeit Christmas may be an exception – https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/09/19/how-to-fly-with-avios-to-australia-new-zealand/

      • Although if you can manage it the non-Avios options can be good – just sorted SQ Suites EDI-AKL for 265k SQ KF + £325 😀 Last gasp of Amex ICC Dollar-accrued miles – no longer nearly as appealing given GBP:USD exchange rate.

        • you’ll love sq suites… hope you get some time in the private room

        • Haha it’ll actually be my second time with them – I managed on the SIN-AKL segment last time to be the ONLY customer! They set up a double bed for me to sleep in, separate from my actual seat where I dined – don’t think I’ll ever have that experience again, but was amazing 🙂

          Private Room is nice – also very pleasant to arrive at private immigration/security channel which I get to do twice thanks to a night in SIN in both directions! 😛

  4. Has anybody any UK experience of phoning to cancel the BA card, and being offered extra avios to stay instead.

    Apparently this happens often in the USA, but not heard here.

    K

  5. RussellH says:

    Rob, I see the logic in the chance of buying 25,000 Avios for £195. But I have no idea how one would spend £3 000 on an Amex card in three months[1]. The £1 000 for my new SPG card is going to be a challenge, as it was this time last year – the trick then was to use it to top up my Charities Aid Foundation a/c, and I suspect the same will be the case this year.

    [1] Unless one is paying one’s **own** cash for longhaul business or first flights (but is that not what the Avios are for in the first place?)
    🙂

    • Buying gift cards for shops that you might shop from later, such as John Lewis for Waitrose, often helps.

      • RussellH says:

        Yes, I am aware of that one. But I still have a book tocken in my wallet from two Amex signups ago!

      • You have to be careful and not stick them in a drawer and forget about then. I did this with some John Lewis gift cards which had expired once I’d found them!

        • Lady London says:

          I can top that. I once wasted £200 of phone vouchers by forgetting to top up with them in time.

        • @lady London – I found £100 in JL vouchers.. it was painful being told by the checkout girl that they had expired!

          £200 has got to hurt though!

        • I would be surprised if, if you mailed the vouchers in to JL, they would not replace them.

    • How much is your annual council tax bill? That goes along way, as does booking other flights.

    • Buying an annual train season ticket will do it, instead of getting a season ticket loan from work. But you obviously need the money saved up as float so you can pay it off right away and don’t pay interest on it (and you lose the interest from the money sitting in your account – though with interest rates as they are on most accounts it doesn’t work out much).

      • RussellH says:

        Yes, I can see that that would work for some, but being retired, and before that working from home, it does not help me. Even when I did commute, last century, there was no public transport option anyway.

        Thanks for the suggestion.

    • can i get you to speak to my wife! she has no problems – remember tesco, sainsburys and M+S all take amex

      • RussellH says:

        At M+S we have in the past paid with gift cards scrounged from the Daily Mail. If you also read Shopper Points, you will know that that option has now gone, but it just means no more visits to M+S.

        Tesco, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Booths bills all go on Amex, but are seldom much over £10.

        Alsi and Lidl do not take Amex.

    • Give your wife a supp card – does the job quickly!

    • We are not huge spenders but we seem to have no problem doing the sign-ups. Our family grocery bill takes up about £120 a week, fuel for both vehicles adds about another £30 a week. Then there are all of my wife’s ebay purchases (Amex card is linked to the paypal account), Amazon etc

      Seems that the money gets spent quite quickly!

      If you sign up in the run-up to Christmas, it makes the target even easier to reach.

      • RussellH says:

        Yesterday’s grocery bill at Tesco + Morrison’s was <£22 – which is a) on the high side b) included a Sunday newspaper and a 21st birthday card.

        My partner keeps her spending quite separate from mine, and neither of us have ever had any contact with eBay. She also has her own Amex target at present.

        My motor fuel bill is around £30 / month. We do not spend a lot over Christmas either, TBH.

        • you would be better cancelling one card and getting supp. you can seperate spending online. when target reached get new card on cancelled a/c – after 6 months – and supp to another batch of avios.

        • Ah, OK. If your main spend is with Aldi and/or lidl and you are retired so don’t buy much fuel for commuting then I can see how reaching the spend would be difficult. If you don’t spend the money then the CC companies aren’t that keen to have you as a customer I guess.

          I guess you just have to use the money you aren’t spending on fuel and groceries to buy airline tickets!

        • Russell

          First thing is to ask your utility suppliers gas electric, TV licence, council tax, water etc etc to issue you a pay point card. Some do, some don’t. If yes, pay at a local co op which accepts Amex. Again hunt for one that does take Amex. Some utilities even accept Amex directly. Worth sitting down at the phone for a day or so to sort out payment options with them all.
          Also prepay your mobile phone bills.
          If you are close to your spend bonus, it is definitely worth setting up a Billhop account. See recent article from rob. We used this recently to prepay a bill and reached a target spend. Admittedly aiming for two X bonus spends in a tight deadline.
          ATM, all our bills earn towards our target spends apart from our stubborn council. Who remain in the dark ages! And it’s Surrey!
          Plus use linked pay pal option if Amex is not accepted on line, lately that’s works well for us too.
          You definitely need to be referring each other annually for this card, to up your avios bank.
          And spend on each other’s cards Temporarily! when a target bonus needs to be reached. So easy as bills are itemised seperately. You ought to be on a six monthly referral rota to suit each of your requirements. If she needs her SPG or IHG, and you need your SPG. Definitely do able and in retirement. We are heading that way, as are lots of folks on this site.
          It can be a challenge, but timing is paramount. And it’s fun…NOT for the faint hearted tho!

    • Its all about timing, get the card in time for a big spend i.e. a holiday, or furniture purchase (ensuring the retailer takes amex!).

      Stocking up on gift cards is also a good option. I still do this at Tesco, in return Tesco must see me as a big spender and keep sending me money off vouchers, which i buy more gift cards with.

      Likewise you can top up gift card balance on Amazon using Amex (dont actually need to buy any gift cards), i seem to be using Amazon as a current account!

      • I never get money off coupons at tesco! Or actually any coupons at all to be honest.. I think it’s been about 18 months since I last got anything from them.

        • Yep, definitely dried up a lot compared to a couple of years ago. I’ve also found the self-scan tills (the ones where you take your own scanner round with you) don’t seem to offer any till split vouchers at all, when the normal checkouts used to fairly regularly.

      • Agree, haven’t had a till spit in months, probably over a year. And we are big Tesco spenders. They would be a nice bonus now that the 300pts per £100 Tesco gift card spend is possibly?? Back in Mr T. Maybe get some in the run up to Xmas.

      • Amazon is what I do, too… In Germany Amazon top-ups expire after ten years, so unlikely to expire accidentally. Considering all the infrastructure running on AWS I’d also rate Amazon as pretty safe. By now a bankruptcy of Amazon what cause serious disruption…

    • Perhaps… don’t churn as much as it seems you can’t quite make the spend targets… no point wasting ££ on vouchers you are never going to use….

  6. Clarence says:

    I usually get my son to put some spend on my BAPP if I need a boost to get toward my 2 4 1 and he then transfers the money to my bank account

    • RussellH says:

      Thanks, but no children!!

      • Buy a fully refundable PlaneTrain ticket.
        Get the points.
        Refund said ticket.

        • you might be lucky if that works! i returned a recent amazon purchase and points were deducted.

        • I once bought a £650 tv from Asda then returned it 5 mins later claiming it would not fit in the car, slipped in my first direct bank card and got the refund to that. Also done it at Tesco with an all singing and dancing I pad also around the £650 mark. I have low morals but high Airline mileage balances LOL

        • the real harry1 says:

          @Xcalx – Viagogo’s your friend! 🙂

          I must say it got a stinking bad reception when I mentioned that here heh heh – got a bit riskier with certain talent saying they were insisting on no ID/ refused admission (Fatty Dell for starters) so I stopped, seemed fairly failsafe in other respects & a very easy way to generate MS

      • It’s all about being strategic with your spend and applying for cards when you know you have big expenditures you can put on them coming up.

        I am also a relatively low spender, as I’m single. I’ve just been trying to work out this morning whether I can spend enough in the next year to earn a Lloyd’s upgrade voucher, an IHG free night voucher on the premium MasterCard, and hit an Amex sign-up bonus. I think my planned/usual spend is about £1k short but that’s a conservative spending estimate so I might be closer than I think.

        I reckon I’ll give it a go and see if I can put some bill payments that are currently DDs on the MasterCard by making manual payments. Might be able to pay Council Tax and utilities that way.

        • RussellH says:

          I quite agree. I would not try to complete more than one challenge at a time, though!

          £1 000 / three months is – just about – doable, more is not, at least, not without help.

          I am cancelling my TV License DD so that I can pay that by Credit card, but they do not take Amex. For anyone else planning this, it is a two stage process. You have to ring up and tell them to cancel the D/D, then wait 48 hours for the cancellation to get processed, then ring up again to pay by card. In my case, cancelling it last week has still not gone through though…

        • I guess the other thing to do is see if you can put other people’s spend through your credit card, and have them pay you back, by doing things like organizing group outings/activities.
          Of course then you have all the hassle of actually doing the organizing, which can be a proper pain, but some people quite enjoy doing that kind of thing.

        • Kathy, am amazed you haven’t already gone down that route with your bills. ESP easy if targeting a Lloyds upgrade voucher, at least the MC spend goes towards it too. Great use of your U/V tho.

        • Wally1976 says:

          TV License can be paid via PayPoint using Amex at Co-op; I did it last year. Think you just need to cancel DD then when they send you a reminder take it into the Co-op.

  7. Hi, does anyone know if there is a limit on when the return leg needs to be flown by? Can it be 365+ days after outbound leg? Thanks

  8. Does anyone know if you can/ever use the 241 on redeeming for a reward flight saver? My thinking is if in peak season across Europe if you can find flight but the prices are sky high is is a good use if you have a modest avios balance?

    I have the Amex gold and fee free BA Amex and soon abut to churn my gold card again. In fact I would pay for the annual fee just to get my free MR points then cancel for a refund like I did in March this year. It has certainly helped boost the balance and I intend to in the future thanks to rob and his views on looking at the process from a different view.

    • Yes you can – a friend used one on IST flights about 2 years ago.

    • Yes indeed, we used ours for several CE trips to European cities before I discovered HFP and how to get enough avios for long haul. Obviously you’re getting less value out of it, but it means that two of you can fly return in CE for around as little as 16,000 avios plus £100.

      • Genghis says:

        OK for burning a voucher that is going to otherwise expire but ongoing if this is your plan, I’d put some thought into whether obtaining the voucher is worthwhile.

        I.e. if it takes you a whole year to spend the £10k on BAPP, it’s cost £195 in fees to save only a handful of avios. Or on the free BA card, the £20k could be a missed opportunity on spending on other cards.

        • In the days when you got a connecting leg thrown in for free, it was worth it, for example we went to Gibraltar in the school holidays so saved quite a bit of money and thoroughly enjoyed the CE perks (we’re only leisure travellers so it’s still a novelty!). Now I only use the 2 4 1 for long haul though.

      • We will be “wasting” one too on our positioning flights to CE HEL next month. But better than losing it, and it will be a nice start to our trip.

  9. New Card says:

    Slightly off T, slightly on T – On the paid Virgin Black MBNA cards, how do you know when you have earned the vouchers? Do they appear on your Virgin Flying Club a/c, and if so, where? Thank you!

    • Look in your main statement in flying club (not MBNA) – mine have posted as entires there. Just with no points dimension at all. Allow time for them to turn up.

    • NC – Sadly there’s no easy indicator on the MBNA account, your monthly statements should itemise AMEX & Visa spend, you can tot these up.

      My Virgin FFC statemetnt doesn’t tend to add the vouchers until the anniversary date of the card. When I’ve previously cancelled the card on the anniversary date in the past, I’ve phoned them up to time it to ensure the vouchers appear before I get charged for another year.

    • I’ve had to chase them something via online chat for them to post it.

  10. andrew plumb says:

    Can my wife refer me from her American Express gold card account for the Brisish airways premium plus card and receive a bonus? I also have a Gold card account which I will be cancelling shortly. Am I right in believing this wont effect my sign up bonus on the British Airways premium plus card?

  11. Nishant Tharani says:

    O/T, apologies: my 13200 Avios for the Economist deal with Iberia have not yet credited (I subscribed in the first week of September and put my Iberia Plus number in correctly). Tried looking through their site for how to chase them up but the Economist was not listed as an earning partner. Anyone else had this issue/know how to chase up? Thanks!

    • Hi. Can I use the BA lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 if I’m travelling on a domestic route. I have a BA silver card.

    • I would give them a month.
      I tried looking to see how long they took to credit to my Iberia Plus account last October when I took out my subscription. My Iberia Plus account shows the date of my purchase rather than the date they credited. IIRC it was about a month.

      I renewed my subscription mid September, using the same offer. Those points have not yet credited. It did also create a new subscription with an overlap, so I had to email and call them to defer the new subscription to start once the old one expired.

      • For anyone else about to take out a subscription, the offer is now on Avios and BAEC sites which may be quicker or may not but will be easier to talk to.

      • Nishant Tharani says:

        Alright, thanks! I’ll wait another week or so then before trying to chase up with someone. Yours credited automatically I assume?

  12. Anthony Dunn says:

    For those querying whether you could spend £10K within a year to trigger the 2-4-1 offer, just ask yourself how much you will put on your card if you view it as a charge card and so use it for all your food and grocery purchases, meals at restaurants, your petrol, any travel you book on BA.com and so on. It is quite astonishing how it all mounts up.

  13. Relatively new to this so help needed please!! Virgin black is coming up for renewal so thinking of cancelling (and re-registering in a month or so to get the bonus again). I have Virgin white cards to keep Flying Club going in the meantime. Also have AMEX Gold coming up for annual fee so going to transfer points (probably to Virgin FC) and leave it six months before reapplying (to get bonus again). Does this sound like a sensible plan? Also, any other cards that I can consider to boost points whilst waiting for AMEX MR to reset? TIA

    • Nishant Tharani says:

      Hi, I’m also new to this so also interested to see whether you can churn Virgin Black as I did not know that was possible. AFAIK you can churn the BAPP amex card and the SPG amex card simultaneously with the MR card, so you could do those sign up bonuses while waiting for the reset?

      • I’ve read other comments on here that suggest you can churn Virgin black, but haven’t tried it myself yet…sure somebody will know! Will I get the BAPP and SPG bonuses even though I have held AMEX Gold in the last six months?

        • No problem getting the BA and SPG bonuses.

        • I’ve had the Virgin Black card & sign up bonus a few times, but as I tend to dedicate spending to one card at a time, eg Amex Gold or BAPP, its always been a big gap between applying, like a year.

  14. Chris C says:

    I only started collecting miles a few years ago and I fall/fell very much into this camp.

    Having never collected before, I was indeed reticent paying for a credit card but found this site and saw the “value” in the benefits. Not wanting to start with a (then) £150 fee for the BAPP card, I chose the SPG card which at the time was running a 20k points offer which converted into 25k avios. I hit the spend target within 3 months and then cancelled after the points posted. The pro-rata refund definitely helped get my head around paying a fee.

    I then moved onto the Gold Preferred Amex as no fee and 20k points plus 2 PP was a no brainer. Once I found out that you could churn the card every 6 months (remember to keep track of your cancel date), I cancelled after I had used the PPs. This took me to the start of a new (calendar) year and with rail season ticket renewals coming up, I was eyeing up the 2-4-1 voucher and decided to “splash out” on the BAPP.

    Now I do not have a personal spend of £10k in a year so I had to look at other ways to “manufacture” the spend as quickly as possible so I could downgrade/cancel the card ASAP. So I looked at expenditure where I would get reimbursed, either travel for work (booking the flights myself rather than through the secretary etc) or paying for significant purchase for friends and family. This actually worked very well with people happy to oblige (although more of my friends have now started collecting after seeing me!) and I hit the spend target within 5 months. I immediately downgraded to the free BA Amex as I wasn’t sure if the 2-4-1 would be cancelled on cancellation (I understand now that it wouldn’t). Once I used the 2-4-1 voucher (Business to Orlando), I cancelled the card and didn’t carry an Amex for about half a year as I didn’t want to be paying fees on a credit card and was out of cycle for the Gold PR card.

    I didn’t want to pay fees because my expenditure wasn’t, in my opinion, high enough to justify a fee and it would take another 12-18 months to get my avios balance back up for a decent redemption. Unfortunately as I had no amex card, I wasn’t earning any avios and so I reassessed. The Lloyd’s card seemed like a (relatively) cheap way to earn decent avios on my regular spend to keep my balance ticking over as well as 0% FX fee . I didn’t actually anticipate hitting the upgrade voucher target given that I was going to sign up for the gold amex again but managing spend for season tickets and a couple of holidays, I managed to churn the gold card and hit the upgrade voucher.

    I just wanted to share the journey I took as this article describes me three/four years ago and hopefully provides some of thought processes us “beginners” go through with regards to credit cards. I think I now have a good cycle of using the Lloyds card for my daily spend as the cheapest way to accumulate avios on regular spend + spending abroad, churning the gold card for the 20k sign up bonus every six months (plus 2 lounge uses) all whilst I build my avios balance until I have enough to then sign up to BAPP and earn that 2-4-1 as soon as possible. In total I have spent c. £150 in sign up fees and for that I have had a 2-4-1 redemption in Club World, have an upcoming Club World redemption (via Lloyds upgrade) and have used a couple of CE redemptions which has more than justified the fees and are experiences I could never afford if paying cash. Most importantly, my spending has not changed materially since I started collecting. Working in the city, pretty much every takes Amex so I am earning on my grocery shop, lunch, after work beers, computer games, contact lenses, pretty much all my regular spend outside of mortgage and bills. It just takes a little planning and patience for anyone to be able to earn enough points to earn a business redemption once in a while.

  15. I read your article and applied for the BA Premium Plus card, however I’ve just realized the 25k intro offer isn’t available to existing BA Amex card holders. It might be worth mentioning in your article as it’s not immediately clear from the application.

    • Thanks. Will look at this. It is very clear in our main card review.

    • Although it does come up in the comments pretty much daily that you’re only eligible if you don’t already hold a card from the same points ‘currency’. MBNA are an exception. I think Rob’s main card reviews all mention this too?