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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): 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.

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.

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 Bonvoy 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. It’s worth mentioning that the BAPP gets some Amex offers that don’t seem to pop up on other cards – like spending a certain amount at BA to get an extra thousand Avios.

    • Indeed – my wife (not me!) got an offer that saved us four years of card fees on a hotel booking we’d already made.

  2. If I have a BA free card, can I upgrade surely before 10k so as to trigger the 2 for 1, and then downgrade after for a pro rata refund?

    • Yes you can and it’s clear from the comments on here and elsewhere that a number of people do exactly that. You don’t benefit from the 3 Avios per £ on BA spend with the free card which is worth a lot to me as a regular (GGL) BA traveller.

      • The 3 Avios/£ spend on BA is really valuable. If you only spend £10k a year on the card, but that includes £1k to BA in redemption fees for a long haul 241 in J or F, then you are getting 16500 Avios.

        I think this card is a keeper. Sure, you can save a few nickels and dimes by regularly upgrading and downgrading, but I wonder how long Amex will let people do that for.

        • I’ve thought this for a while since all the changes in amex bonuses etc. Saving 150k+ avois on a redemption by hitting an easy spend target is way more preferable to faffing around resetting 24m timers then taking out multiple cards etc.

          • Anyone reckon the 241 will be the next casualty in the great Amex cull? I can see them increasing the minimum spend on the BAPP or increasing the fee.

          • No, because this is not a real cash cost. More likely to keep the voucher but cut the earning rate on the card.

          • @Rob thanks. Reckon it’s worth keeping the BAPP long term then to lock in the high earnings rate (in case they change the card but maintain benefits for legacy customers), rather than downgrading or cancelling to get the bonus again in 24 months?

          • IF you are earning enough Avios elsewhere to maximise the 241 then yes. Bit of a chicken and egg if you’re not earning a lot of Avios from flying though.

          • Spaghetti Town says:

            The BAPP will be dead if they scrap the 241 voucher

      • I have the BAPP and want to downgrade to Blue. I still have my original blue card and it’s valid for another few years. Will I be able to use this card or will I be sent a new one after downgrading? Thanks

  3. Hi, Rob misleading article for new readers says various Avios for just signing up ?
    on other cards

  4. OT as no bits (but not entirely OT) – I’m looking at using my 241 in F to New Delhi. I’ve never had a problem using it in the past, but I seem to have inadvertently picked easily redeemable destinations – and apparently India isn’t one of them! I don’t suppose anyone has any insight into when seats become available to New Delhi? Is it a midnight on T-355 job?

    • Tickets become available at the same time to all destinations, midnight GMT 355 days before.

    • No F seats are guaranteed to be released for any destination. If you are restricted to when you can fly, I would suggest just booking into J and then setting up an alert with rewardflightfinder in case F becomes available.

      …if you’re not so restricted date-wise, then use rewardflightfinder to find availability (May/June currently look like they have good availability in F, but nothing much for the rest of the year)

    • Thanks both. I was wondering more whether anyone had noticed any pattern of when any reappear – fanciful I know.

      We’re pretty set on New Delhi in November next year. Midnight calling it is!

  5. How long does it take to receive the 241 after hitting the spend target? I hit the target this morning and am wondering if I’ll receive the voucher before the redemption sale ends. Thanks!

  6. I’m surprised there’s no mention of the travel cover offered on this card also? I’ve never looked into it as I have other insurance in place, however I’d be interested in opinions on how useful it is.
    I also have this card and can’t be bothered to get downgrade and upgrade it every time. I upgraded it from the blue card just before the £10k spend and got the voucher the next month, but they check your eligibility for the card when you do this. If Amex decide they don’t like your cycle of up/downgrading they might say no, which would leave you with a problem!
    I’ve already managed to spend the voucher for a return to Singapore (back from KL) next year in club, saving me 175000 avios. Well worth £200.

    • Do you get the bonus when you upgrade from the Blue card?

      • I got a 6000 avios bonus when I upgraded from blue to black.

        • You don’t get the signup bonus, as mentioned sometimes people seem to get 6k, but it seems very hit and miss, think I have had once from three, and it certainly is not guaranteed in my experience, so I wouldn’t factor it in to a decision

        • Was this 6k bonus spend related or just upon upgrading? Also if you downgrade after triggering the 241 do you lose the 2 year benefit?

          • Most people get a secret, unpublished 6k bonus when upgrading to BAPP. We can’t write about it though, because it is secret and unpublished and not everyone gets it.

        • aDifferentSimon says:

          How do you upgrade anyway? Call or online?

          • Apply for BAPP and put the BA number in the current card slot.

          • Word of warning – I tried upgrading online using the trick of inputting your BA Blue number in the current card slot – my application got rejected. I phoned to query, and was told that my application had been treated as a ‘duplicate’ application rather than an upgrade. They upgraded me over the phone in 15 minutes instead. (And I got the mysterious 6,000 avios bonus)

  7. I just upgraded from the free card to the premium plus card after having spent just over £10,000. I received the companion voucher in my Executive Club account 2 days later. However, the voucher I received is valid for 1 year only. Furthermore, the email I received from BA states “Congratulations, you’ve earned a Companion Voucher by spending over £20,000 on your British Airways American Express® Credit Card within your Card anniversary year.”
    Any advice please?

    • Go back to Amex. This is not an unusual thing to happen.

      • globetrotter says:

        Had a similar situation, upgraded on same day I went over £10k as Amex told me a 2 yr 241 voucher would be triggered immediately on approval of the upgrade.
        Been upgraded now but still no voucher 😱 even though the Amex account says I have been awarded a voucher. Amex seem stumped.
        Anyone else heard of similar issue and were they able to manually fix it? (Quietly panicking now)

    • yorkieflyer says:

      Is it not better to upgrade before spending the 10k to ensure you get a 2 year voucher?

  8. Not that fussed for avios points but useful that this card can be churned whilst also holding other amex cards.

  9. When should we expect changes to this card Rob?

    • Nothing planned that I know about.

      I just can’t help thinking that Avios can’t be so confident that they are going to smash their published target of 9% CAGR in Avios issuance over the next 3 years without some radical new finance products.

  10. If I cancel once I’ve earned the voucher, will I keep the voucher and get the refund?

  11. Is there a case to have one of these and an Amex Platinum? I currently spend approx. £100k per year on my platinum, but due to a young family and living in NW I don’t fly long haul very often.

    • More flexibility with Amex MR, especially if you’re unlikely to use the Avios for flying

      • But poor earning rate on Plat. At £100k spend I’d put it to the SPG card (which still keeps points pluripotent, though to a slightly lesser extent).

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