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

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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 Experian Credit Score.

This review was updated on 1st July 2019 and all of the data was 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 BA Premium Plus card

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

British Airways Premium Plus credit card review

What is the BA Premium Plus sign-up bonus?

25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within three months.

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.

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?

The BA Premium Plus sign-up bonus is only available to customers who have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus American Express card in the previous 24 months.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits including the 2-4-1 voucher.

Any other benefits?

Very much so!  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 BA Premium Plus Amex 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.

Is the BA Premium Plus Amex a good card to use when travelling?

As Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

If you want a dedicated credit card to use abroad, take a look at the Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (click here).  This card is free and charges NO foreign exchange fees.  It also offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months and 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months.  Representative APR 21.9% variable.

Other points to note about the BA Premium Plus Amex

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 Lloyds Bank-issued Avios Mastercard is closed to new applicants.

Don’t forget these less-obvious options though:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 10,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is FREE for the first year. These convert to 10,000 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 £575 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card offers 30,000 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.

Bits: Finnair BA tier point run, Virgin / Tesco bonus?, new Mastercard / Be The First promo
A brief review of my Lufthansa A340 business class flight from New York
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Comments

  1. Memesweeper says:

    The 2-4-1 voucher is very useful and I’ve used several. But I’d suggest this card is not the best for a new collector of Avios. It’s best if you already have, or are close to getting, a large pile of Avios. If you’re not there yet, I’d start with Amex Gold, SPG, etc, and get the BA Premium Amex later.

  2. I currently only have a Amex Platinum card which I like and want to keep.
    What Amex card next would you recommend to collect a sign up bonus on.

  3. Could I clarify – currently have a BA premium AMEX. Once i get the 241 voucher, can I just cancel the card for the pro-rata refund and keep the voucher? Or will I lose the voucher?

    • You keep it but Amex will tell you otherwise, so you need to decide who you believe.

    • Or you can drop down to the free blue card while you wait out your 6 months…but self refer for a free gold in the meantime or whatever other card you fancy..

      • But if you drop to the free card you aren’t resetting the 6 month clock before you can qualify for another sign-up bonus on a BA card. If you fancy getting another avios sign-up bonus in 6 months you do need to cancel.

    • flyforfun says:

      I’ve got 2 vouchers now for then next 2 years and no where to go!

      I want to get the Memberships Reward card. If I swap to that, will my vouchers be safe? If in 2 years time I want to go back the PP card, would I get the sign up bonus again?

      Also if I go the MR card, will me Member Since year still appear on there as my original date? 🙂

      • RIchard says:

        1)yes, closing the BAPP doesn’t affect the vouchers
        2)in two years time, if you haven’t held the either the free or fee BA amex in the preceding 6 months
        3) unsure – my gold card doesnt have a member since date on it

      • As far as I can tell, the “member since” date on the account relates to the oldest card you have currently attached to the account.

        • I don’t think this can be the case. None of my currently open Amex card accounts is more than 16 months old but the cards all have my original “member since” date. I have always had at least one card at any time though, so to be on the safe side if you want to keep your original date I would recommend getting your new card before cancelling your BAPP.

        • Probably; I had a Gold card about 1980 but that does not show up.

        • When I applied for a Lloyds Avios Rewards card two years ago to replace my Lloyds Avios Duo card (which they stupidly treat as being a whole new card application with a fresh credit check, even though my Duo card was closed and my spending limit transferred to the Rewards card as part of the process) they reset the Member Since date to the date I got the Avios Rewards card, even though my Duo card was five or more years old at that point

          To my mind that was a total screw up and surely if many of us with Lloyds Avios Rewards cared now also take out an Amex Gold or BAPP card then our Member Since date ought to be the date we first held a Lloyds Avios Duo card?

          Otherwise the Member Since concept with Amex as a body in its own right surely means nothing at all?…………..

        • Lloyds doesn’t care how long you have been a customer and neither should you. Why should Amex care when it is a completely unrelated party? Should Visa have member since dates too? Most people have been a “member” of Visa since getting their first bank account, or first debit card for those whose first bank accounts predated cards.

          I remember sending Amex a secure message asking for some free points after getting my first Amex. They gave them to me and said we hope this is the start of a long relationship.

          My Amex date is that of my first Amex they identify as being held by the same person, on the same online account. My supplementary cards never can be added to my online account and they always have a member since date of the year I was issued the card – I assume they think it’s a different person.

  4. Difficult to value Avios higher than 1.2p. With the 1000 times Groupon has been selling Avios, you could have bought almost 1M points already this year.

    • Bit of a newbie question…if I have the basic BA Amex and am about to hit the £10,000 “target” can I be referred for the BAPP in order for us both to receive the bonus points and a 241 voucher for myself ?

  5. WinchesterLass says:

    Hi, any tips please about speeding up the process of being awarded Gold Marriott status etc after taking out an Amex Platinum card? Having taken an account out over a month ago and having given Amex my old SPG Number and my Marriott Rewards Number (Silver Elite) my account has not yet been updated/upgraded. Have spoken to both sets of customer service and Amex are blaming Marriott and Marriott are blaming Amex so I’m going round in circles!

    • Melhedgy says:

      You have to link the account and status match, this can be done through the app.

  6. To further clarify on the BA premium card

    I have the voucher (2 infact). Spent or redeem them both in July 2018 for travel in June 2019.

    Can I now downgrade to the free card without any issue of affecting my travel plans?

    Areas of concern
    1) I have read before the card must be valid ‘active’ at the time of travel.
    2) If for any reason you cancel your trip. Yes you can have a refund of points voucher etc. BUT if your original BA premium card is not active you forfit the voucher.

    Are both these 2 concerns correct?

    • No, they are nonsense based on lies spread by the Amex call centre.

      You can pay the taxes on ANY Amex card. You will get your voucher back if you cancel your trip after cancelling your BA Amex.

  7. Does the voucher only apply to one way or can it be used for return flights?

    e.g. If I book myself a return flight in club world LHR to SFO for 62500 x 2 Avios, can I use the voucher to take another person both ways? Or does it only apply on one leg?

    • Genghis says:

      Return flights (incl open jaw) ex UK for two people OR single flight ex UK for two people.

  8. Melhedgy says:

    Hi, I am an existing amex platinum charge card, I took out the BApp card only to boost up my avois and get the 2-4-1 voucher. I wonder once I hit the targer of £3000 and furthur £10000 within 6 months, do I get to keep the avois and the voucher if I want to cancel?

  9. Help please! I have a secondary BA Amex PP on my wife’s card. I applied for my own and was refused as I have the secondary card, I think this is wrong, can anyone confirm?

    • Shoestring says:

      Confirm. Your supplementary card would not matter if you applied for a card in your own right.

      Amex could refuse you a card for many other reasons, though. Who told you this is the reason your application was refused?

  10. chris martin says:

    Hi I have the basic ba amex card and about to hit the target can I upgrade to the premium card to get my 2 for 1 to last for two years and then cancel the card and re apply after six months to receive the sign up bonus

  11. Laurent G. says:

    Is the 2-4-1 voucher issued as soon as £10k has been reached or at card year end?

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