Credit & Charge Card Reviews (5): British Airways American Express Premium Plus

This is my review of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score.  Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month. You can cancel at anytime.

Please note that this card is not suitable for you if you do not pay off your balance every month, due to the high interest rate.  You are better off with a low interest rate card such as – click for details – the AA Low Rate Credit Card which has an APR of 6.5%.

(EDIT:  This article was updated on 27th December 2017 and is correct as of that date.)

Key links: British Airways American Express Premium Plus application form

Key facts: £195 annual fee

The representative APR is 76.0% variable, including the £195 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.

About the card

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus card is issued directly by American Express. This analysis is focussed on the paid version of the card – I reviewed the free BA Amex credit card in a separate article.

The general American Express rule is that you can hold two charge cards and two credit cards at the same time. Platinum and Gold are the two widely-held charge cards whilst the credit cards include the Starwood SPG, Nectar, Costco and Amex Rewards cards.

Any American Express you may have which are issued by Lloyds, MBNA or any other card company will not directly impact on whether you are accepted for this card.

British Airways Premium Plus credit card review

What is the sign-up bonus?

25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within three months. This is a special offer which began in March 2017 – I do not have the end date. The normal bonus is 18,000 Avios.

A larger bonus of 26,000 Avios is available if you are referred by an existing cardholder. Please e-mail me at rob [at] headforpoints.co.uk if you would like a referral link emailing to you.

Any other benefits?

When you spend £10,000, you receive a voucher entitling you to book two Avios redemption flights for the miles of one. This voucher is valid for two years.

This voucher is the most valuable perk available in the UK airline and hotel credit card sector in my view. It could save you 150,000 or more Avios when used for a long-haul redemption in a premium cabin.

I attempted to calculate the value of the British Airways American Express companion voucher in this article.

What is the annual fee?

The BA American Express Premium Plus card has an annual fee of £195.

You will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee if you cancel. American Express is the only UK card issuer to offer this.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on the card.

You receive double Avios (3 per £1) when booking flights or holidays directly with British Airways.

What is an Avios point worth?

How long is a piece of string!

This article is my best attempt to calculate the value of an Avios.  You should target 1p to 1.75p per point.

Other points to note

You will not receive a sign-up bonus if you have previously held a BA Amex (free or paid) in the previous six months.

You will not have a problem if you have any other American Express card, including Amex Gold – you WILL still get the bonus.

For clarity, you WILL receive the sign-up bonus if you currently hold, or have held, the Lloyds Avios Rewards card – this is not a problem.

You WILL receive the bonus if you currently have a BA Amex as a supplementary card on someone elses account.  American Express treats that card as belonging to the main cardholder and does not treat you as an ‘existing customer’.

If you have the Premium Plus card, you can downgrade to the free version at any time and get a pro-rata refund.  You may want to do this if you have triggered your 2-4-1 voucher but not yet redeemed it, and do not want to continue paying the annual fee.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards.

How else can you earn Avios points from a credit card?

The obvious option is the Lloyds Bank-issued Avios card.

Don’t forget these less-obvious options though:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is FREE for the first year. These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

The American Express Platinum charge card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up. These convert to 30,000 Avios points. It has a £450 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card offers 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for signing up. These convert to 10,000 Avios points. It has a £75 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

Conclusion

The current special sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios (26,000 if I refer you) is a decent offer especially as the card fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel during the year.

The higher sign-up bonus – plus the 50% higher earning rate on your spending – makes the Premium Plus card better than the free card, at least for the first year.

In terms of on-going earning, 1.5 Avios points and the 2-4-1 voucher when you spend £10,000 make the most valuable package on the market for your long-term spending as long as you are confident of hitting the £10,000 target. If you won’t spend £10,000 on the card each year then the value of the Avios earned will not cover the annual fee.

The application form for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card can be found here.

(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.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Has anyone upgraded from BA Basic Amex to Premium to get a referral bonus and then downgraded again? Are Amex funny about this? My wife had the Premium Card but has now downgraded to Basic and I would like to apply for Premium but obviously would like her to earn the referral bonus. Any thoughts?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      You won’t get the bonus if you’ve had a a BA Basic or Premium in the past 6 months.

    • are you asking if she can upgrade to the premium to then get a higher referral bonus if she refers you?

      • yes, upgrade, get the higher referral bonus, then downgrade again.

        • Yeh can’t see how they would object, just have to pay pro rata fee.

          I had the basic, spent 9.5k, upgraded to premium, spent £600, earned the 2 for 1 and then downgraded card before.
          Most recently I upgraded to premium, earned 2 for 1 and cancelled card.

        • Must add both times I upgraded by just applying online, my account switched over within a day or so, and I retained all card offers from basic account

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You get the higher referral even if she’s on the basic doesn’t she

        • Just to be clear (if this is your situation) she’ll get the same referrer bonus of 9k if you get a BAPP card, regardless of whether she holds a BA free or BAPP card.

  2. “You should target 1p to 1.75p per point.” – Anything more is obviously a bonus for a 241 redemption?

    BAPP article also ran in the last month…
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/09/29/why-should-you-get-british-airways-american-express-premium-plus-credit-card/

    Rob – I see you haven’t put a % for the relative savings using the card, in previous reviews I’ve seen 7% & up to 10% mentioned.

    In terms of a couple brand new to BA Amex wanting to raise Avios & 241 voucher as quickly as possible, considering this they could do the following…

    Mrs gets free card quickly spends £1k, gets 5000 Avios
    Mrs refers Mr for BAPP, he pays £195 fee
    Mrs gets a few Avios for referral??
    Mrs cancels free card
    Mr gets 26000 by spending £3k
    Mr hits £10k target in 6 months gets 241 voucher
    6 months later, Mr refers Mrs for BAPP, gets 9000 Avios, cancels and gets £90ish fee back
    Mrs spends £3k for 26000
    Mrs hits £10k spend target in 6 months.
    Etc, etc.

    Anone see flaws in the above, if so I’m hoping master churner Genghis will pls correct me 😀

  3. My wife had the standard BA Amex with circa £15k spend. She upgraded to the BA PP online. Change was quick and card came through in a few days. However the voucher she was issued was a 12 month validity voucher and the email said congrats for hitting £20k spend. Who does she need to contact to resolve this and get the 24 month voucher? BA or Amex?

  4. Amex. They will then contact BA who will update your BA account with the two year expiry date fir the voucher. This happened to me earlier this year.

  5. Just a quick thank you to Rob – last night booked a city break to New York next April. Out in Business , back in First, using a 2-4-1. This is the 3rd 2-4-1 used for long haul since starting this ‘hobby’, and we’ve another one banked.

  6. If I cancel my premium plus now…how long until I can reapply using a referral… will it affect the fact I earned the 241 voucher?

    • Scottydogg says:

      6 months , then you can reapply to get the bonus and start the £10 spend target again

  7. I’m pretty sure the answer is “yes”, but if I trigger a 2-year voucher on the BAPP and then downgrade the card after triggering the voucher, but before using it, does the voucher still remain valid for 2 years?

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I actually managed to get a 30,000 Avios bonus with this card – I started the online application in a lunch break and had to abandon it because I ran out of time, and then a couple of days later I got an email from BA offering me a 30,000 Avios bonus if I applied for the card within a limited period of time (I think it was by the end of that month). I’m not sure if this is standard policy or I was just very lucky, but it might be worth a try!

    • The old “leave the basket full but don’t check out” trick…. Have done this a at a few e-tailers lately… exactly 24 hours later I got an email with a 10% discount code……..

      • i doubt its anything to do with leaving it in the basket because in july/august I got an email from BA with the 30k offer. fortunate, because I had just been thinking of getting my first BAPP (mainly collect with other airlines)

  9. I recently (in June) downgraded my BA Platinum as I didn’t think I’d reach the £10k spend for triggering the 241 voucher . However I’ve just been hit with a tax bill which I am planning to pay before the 13 Jan credit card cut off for HMRC. This will mean I could hit the £10k spend for the year. Does anyone know if there is any restriction on me re-upgrading to the platinum card again? Ps I’m not bothered about the Avios bonus on this occassion

    • That will be fine, and any spend so far will be carried over (along with the card’s anniversary as the £10k deadline). But you’ll get no bonus as you know.
      It might be worth, if an option, referring your partner instead, starting a new account/year in their name and picking up the 26+9k bonuses too.

    • Roger I* says:

      Fran, are you thinking of paying HMRC using an AmEx card? If so, it’s not accepted, only Visa and MC. (Sorry if I have misconstrued.)

      • ah – yes I was. I thought they were still accepting credit cards until Jan and didn’t realise it excluded Amex! In which case I need to rethink! Thanks for spotting that!

  10. Can I get the Starwood Card given that I hold the Amex GC and the BAPP? I’ve hit the bonuses on these cards now so am looking to the next offer.

    How would one convert the Starwood Preferred Points to avios?

    • Yes you can (ask Rob for a referral).
      Suggest you also consider converting to Marriott (but you may need Avios more).

      • Ah thanks – looking to build up our HH avios, should hit 200k by xmas but looking to get a really healthy stash above this for a couple of redemptions next year.

    • Yes. Straight conversion via the SPG website.

  11. Scottydogg says:

    OT , whats everyone tips for collecting points for non Amex spends .
    Bearing in mind that i can’t get the Hilton Honours visa card because of where i live and ive had the IHG card recently and cancelled it
    Any other cards options ? i do hate earning nothing whilst spending in shops that don’t take Amex …………..

    • lloyds duo pack while its still alive? Virgin duo pack again while its still alive?

  12. OT but Amex/churn related…

    Have the platinum card which I don’t churn due to lounge passes which are very valuable. I was thinking of getting the Gold card too. This would be another amex to have for Small Shop/offers/two MR points for flights.

    As it is free for the first year, I was thinking of cancelling right before anniversary and then applying for it the next month/two months later for it to be free again for a year. Can you do this or would they not allow you to reapply that soon after cancelling? As I mentioned, it wouldn’t be churning for sign up bonus as I have platinum that I always keep, so no need in waiting six months.

  13. GnarlyOldGoatDude says:

    I’m not proud of this, but I have a 241 that expires in 10 days and I’m not going to be able to use it.
    I also have 2 more already booked on the card (I must be spending a lot).

    It is essentially the wrong card for me as I have relatively low levels of AVIOS and very few opportunities for travel. I dropped from Silver to Bronze yesterday, but feel righteous that I didn’t go chasing status like I’ve done the past 2 years.

    The only times when I would have wanted to use the voucher were not viable due to the requirement for ex-UK starts on BA metal.

    If you are UK based, and BA fly their own aircraft to a destination that you need, and there is enough reward availability and you can book far enough in advance, then this is the card for you.

    • You are not alone loosing the 241 voucher – we’re letting two slide. To be fair after recently returning on what must have been BA’s oldest 767 from Frankfurt and Mr Cate’s subsequent threat to go back to basic debit cards if I book BA again, they won’t be missed.

  14. Excuse my ignorance but if I hit the £10k spend in few months trigger the 2-4-1 voucher which then hits my BAEC a/c. If I then cancel the BAPP card am I right in assuming AMEX cannot recall the 2-4-1 voucher?

    Thanks in advance

  15. How do you know when the 2-4-1 voucher hits your BAEC account? Do you get an email?

    • Yes you get an email and then it shows as an e-voucher (I’m a newbie to this too and have just received mine).

    • Yes, but the voucher may appear first. It shows on your Exec Club home page. Should be there within 72 hours of the purchase that took you over £10k hitting your Amex account, so about 6 days after making the purchase.

  16. Richard says:

    I may not be able to reach the £3,000 and £10,000 spending levels to trigger the Avios bonus/241 voucher from normal day-to-day spending. Does anyone know if making cash withdrawals (and paying the 3% fee) counts as “spending” to reach these targets?

  17. Is it worth signing up for this card for me and then signing up for the Amex PRG card for my partner, then we can get a total of 46,000 (20,000 PRG + 26,000 for this card), and combine the points?

    • fivebobbill says:

      Dan, if it’s just the initial bonus points you’re after you’d be better off applying for Amex PRG for yourself and then recommending your partner for one as well.
      * You will get 22,000 pts for hitting a £2k spend within 3 months (20,000 bonus + 2,000 for spend).
      * You will get 9,000 pts if you refer your partner and he/she is accepted.
      * Your partner will get 22,000 pts for hitting the same spend as you above.
      * Your partner will also get an extra 2,000 pts from your referral.
      That’s 55,000 pts for a £4,000 spend in 3 – 6 months, depending on when you do the referral.
      The card fees are also waived for the first year, and you will get 2 free Business Lounge passes each. You will also have the option of transferring the points into various Hotel Reward schemes.

      Your PRG + BAPP scenario would actually earn you 52,500 pts btw, but you will have spent £5,000 and incurred a £195 fee for the BA card.