Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Nine good reasons to get the no annual fee British Airways American Express® Credit Card

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Why should you get the British Airways American Express® Credit Card?

For the benefit of new readers to Head for Points, I want to run through the benefits of the British Airways American Express Credit Card in this article. Even though it is aimed at newcomers to the card, it is possible that existing Cardmembers may also have forgotten some of the perks.

The serious legal stuff about the British Airways American Express Credit Card:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

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Other information:

  • Receive a companion voucher, letting you book two flights for the Avios of one, when you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 22.2% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5,000 Avios sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus on the free British Airways American Express card if you spend £1,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s British Airways American Express account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the British Airways American Express card even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the companion voucher and the other card benefits.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £20,000 on the British Airways American Express card, you receive a companion voucher entitling you to book two Avios redemption flights for the miles of one.  This voucher is valid for one year.  (Full taxes and charges need to be paid on both tickets.)

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.

You receive your voucher within a few days of reaching the spending target.  You need to fly the outbound leg of your 2-4-1 flight before the expiry date of the voucher.

If you want more flexibility, the voucher issued with the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is valid for two years and only requires 10,000 of annual card spend.  The Premium Plus card also has a higher earning rate of 1.5 Avios per £1 on general spend and 3 Avios per £1 on spend with British Airways and BA Holidays.

All applications are subject to approval. Applicants must be 18 years or older and UK residents.

Nine good reasons to get the British Airways American Express Card:

1.  You receive 5,000 Avios for signing up

The no annual fee British Airways American Express Credit Card comes with a generous sign-up bonus worth 5,000 Avios.

You qualify for the bonus as long as you haven’t had a personal American Express Card in your name (Supplementary Cards do not count, cards from Lloyds or MBNA do not count) in the previous 24 months.

You need to spend £1,000 within the first three months of Cardmembership to receive the bonus.

5,000 Avios plus £12.50 is good for a one-way off-peak economy flight to domestic destinations or cities such as Hamburg, Zurich, Prague, Nice, Milan Amsterdam, Dublin and Brussels*. Before you go, please check all Government Guidelines to ensure you’re OK to travel.

However, with the extra Avios you will earn from your day to day spending, you may soon have enough for a return trip, a trip in business class or a trip to a long-haul destination.

2.  You receive one Avios for every £1 you spend on the card

You will collect 1 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend on the card. The exceptions generally relate to cash and pseudo-cash transactions, such as using your card for cash withdrawals **.

1 Avios per £1 is a generous Avios-earning rate for a credit card which has no annual fee.

3.  You receive a companion voucher for Avios redemptions when you spend £20,000 within your anniversary year

Within 10-15 working days of spending £20,000 in your current card year, a companion voucher will be deposited in your British Airways Executive Club account allowing you to book an additional Avios flight fare, on the same flight and cabin, for the points of one. You must pay full taxes and charges on both tickets, however. ***

Your companion voucher flights must be on British Airways, not a partner airline, and must start in the UK. If you book a one-way flight, it must be a one-way flight FROM the UK.

You must book AND FLY THE OUTBOUND LEG of your companion voucher flight within 12 months of receiving the voucher. 

Note that the voucher awarded with the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card lasts for two years, which is one reason to consider the paid British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card instead.

4.  The card has no annual fee

Whilst the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card has a £195 annual fee (but many excellent benefits), the ‘no annual fee’ British Airways American Express Credit Card has, well, no annual fee.

5.  You can give Supplementary Cards to others at no extra cost, so you can receive your companion voucher more quickly

American Express will let you issue Supplementary Cards at no extra cost to someone else, subject to approval, allowing their spending to earn Avios for you and count towards your companion voucher.

You are responsible for paying the charges on the Supplementary Card which are added to your monthly statement.

6.  You can earn 1,000 bonus Avios by adding someone to your Account

American Express will offer you 1,000 bonus**** Avios for issuing your first Supplementary Card if you add it via this page of the American Express website, subject to approval.

Adding a Supplementary Card***** allows you to collect Avios, get your companion voucher quicker and ultimately flights more quickly by allowing more of your family or household spend to be put on the card. Remember that the primary Cardmember remains liable for all charges on Supplementary Cards.

7.  American Express runs regular great cashback and Avios offers

Once your Account is up and running, you can take advantage of great cashback and Avios offers from American Express.  These are typically on the lines of ‘Get a £10 statement credit when you spend £50 at Tesco’.

I find that it is relatively easy to save over £100 per year with these offers, especially during the regular ‘Shop Small’ promotions to encourage you to visit local independent retailers. I recently received £50 cashback for spending £200 at Hilton hotels, for example, although as offers are targeted you can never be certain what you will get.

Even better, many of the offers are also available to your Supplementary Cardmembers. This means that you can benefit more than once across your household.

8.  You can earn bonus Avios by inviting your friends

Via its long established ‘Invite a Friend’ programme, British Airways American Express Cardmembers can earn at least 4,000****** bonus Avios for each friend they invite to American Express if they are approved for a card. This puts you even closer to your next reward flight.

Your friend benefits too, receiving a higher sign-up bonus of 6,000 Avios if they spend £1,000 within the first three months of Cardmembership. This puts them even closer to their next reward flight (terms and conditions apply). Note that they are not eligible for any Welcome Bonus if they have held or hold any personal American Express Card in the past 24 months.

9.  American Express has a well-designed App

You can monitor your balance and make Account payments via debit card at any time from your smartphone.  The core business of American Express is credit cards, and they know how to run them properly.

You can also sign up for Amex’s exclusive cashback and Avios offers directly from the App as well as easily check which offers you have already signed up for.

Conclusion

With no annual fee, the British Airways American Express Credit Card is a good package for someone looking for a low risk entry into travel rewards.  You get a decent bonus of 5,000 Avios for signing up and the earning rate of 1 Avios per £1 spent is excellent for a card with no annual fee. 

You can sign up for the no annual fee British Airways American Express Credit Card, or find out more information, on the official website here.

*To be eligible for Reward Flight Saver, you need to have collected at least one Avios in the past 12 months.

**Avios are not earned on Balance Transfers, Cash Withdrawals, American Express Travellers Cheques purchases, Foreign Exchange, interest, any spending in excess of your credit limit, charges for returned payments, late payment or referral charges and American Express Credit Card finance charges

***See more details here: https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/collecting-avios/credit-cards/uk

****The bonus Avios offer is valid for the first approved Supplementary British Airways American Express Credit Card only. Please note, in rare circumstances it may take up to 90 days for the 1,000 bonus Avios to be applied to your Account. You may apply for several Supplementary Cards but you will only receive the 1,000 bonus Avios for the first approved Card. You will not receive this bonus if you have ever received it before. This offer is subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time.

*****Up to 99 Supplementary Cards are complimentary on the British Airways American Express Credit Card, subject to approval. Supplementary Cards can be requested for anyone aged 18 or over. If approved, you will be responsible for any spending on your Account made by the Supplementary Cardmember.

******Terms and Eligibility Apply. Log in to your American Express Account or App to see the latest referral offer available.

American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Please note that certain servers may render the above links inactive. If you are experiencing problems please right click the link to copy and paste the chosen URL into the address box of your web browser to view the page.

Copyright © 2020. American Express Company. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Comments (112)

  • Paul says:

    Disappointing to see the editorial position of the site being swayed by paid articles like this. Head for Points frequently writes about why to not get the free BA card (in favour of the paid one) but for the right price it looks like views change.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/09/21/why-no-one-should-spend-20000-on-the-free-ba-amex/

      • Doug M says:

        One is an opinion piece and the other an advert. You take information from them both and then make your own, hopefully informed, decision. Incidentally your first link states why no one should spend £20K on the free card, not that you shouldn’t get the card.

      • Chris says:

        My wife has the free one, she does not spend £20k per year on it.
        So both articles are correct.

    • Craig says:

      It doesn’t bother me, Rob has to pay the bills and the article is marked as an advert?

      • Nick_C says:

        Precisely. How do you expect the site to make money for Rob after paying for hosting and three staff.

        • Kevin Major says:

          But then it does raise questions when you have the recent posts about everyone being able to get the Amex £400 credit for Marriott. This was simply not the case.
          Its a bit like how some sites promote Virgin so much. It is clear that they are being paid to do so – hence why they rarely feature negative comments. Why would they? They wouldn’t want to upset their paymasters. 🙂

          • Doug M says:

            Let it go. It’s £400. If you can afford a Platinum card you can afford to miss out on £400 worth of Marriott stay and food that you wouldn’t have otherwise wanted.

    • AJA says:

      Yes the BAPP card is the better of the two cards to hold as the article you link to demonstrates but that doesn’t mean that the 9 reasons listed for the free card aren’t valid.

      The biggest plus point for the BAPP is the companion voucher valid for 24 months after spending ‘only’ £10k instead of £20k. But you pay £195 annual.fee and it only works if you spend £10k per year.

      If you aren’t going to spend £10k or are single why pay £195 for the privilege? Stick to the free card for all the other benefits listed in the article.

    • DT says:

      Clearly marked as an advert, not an opinion piece. Just because the BAPP is better doesn’t mean there are NO good reasons to get the free version. The point about the 241 in this article clearly states that the BAPP is superior in this aspect which is Rob’s main reason to not get the free version in his other articles, so his opinion has not been swayed.
      Complain all you want but until Rob can pay his staff and overheads with your disappointment, we’re going to see ads

      • james says:

        To be honest I didn’t see the ‘advert’ statement ustil I read the thread, so it’s not particularly prominent. No problem with running adverts, but I think, like others, that they should be in a different section from the news and conversation topics.

      • Tom says:

        Agree on the need to pay the bills, but think it had been written in more HfP house language/style, it would seem more authentic. This just reads like a press release from Amex.

        As a free BA Amex card holder, I’m genuinely interested in Rob/Rhys’s views on benefits of the card (which have featured on the site before), notwithstanding the argument the 241 is better on the BAPP card.

    • Ian says:

      Completely agree, but sadly a reflection of the downward spiral this site appears to be on.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Moreover, blue card recently had a better earning rate than the black one, but this has probably ended now as the article didn’t mention. The best thing is start with blue, then upgrade to black when you are near 10,000 to get a voucher, and then revert to blue after a while

  • Olly says:

    Didn’t it used to be 9,000 points for recommending a friend to take out a card? Looks like that has been quietly cut to 4,000

  • Billy says:

    I was also a bit confused by the title having read multiple articles on here saying to avoid the free card.

    I currently have the free card and wanted to find out if I spend over 10k and decide to upgrade to the paid card will that retrospectively trigger the companion voucher or would I have already missed the window and have to spend the extra 10k?

    • Number9 says:

      You need to upgrade BEFORE you hit the 10k spend.

    • AJA says:

      My understanding is that it is better to upgrade before you hit £10k as that guarantees that the voucher is valid for 24 months but you can upgrade after you’ve spent £10k and it will immediately trigger the voucher which might initially show as valid for 12 months. You then call Amex CS and they will amend the validity

  • Nicola Walton says:

    Slightly off topic, We have the fee paying card and currently have 2 companion vouchers sitting in our account. We also have a refund voucher for a flight cancelled due to COVID. I tried to book a flight using both and was told by BA I couldn’t. Even though the refund voucher was for a flight I had paid cash for. I am so angry if it wasn’t for the fact BA have £1200 of our money I would never fly with them again.

    • AJA says:

      I think it’s a case of HUACA. You should be able to use a FTV towards the taxes and fees on a companion voucher booking. And get a further FTV for the balance not used. I think the problem is finding an agent who is able to book for you. Some are very inexperienced. Also the value of your FTV is fairly large so that might put some agents off.

    • Anna says:

      +1, I’ve used a cash voucher to pay the taxes/fees on a new award booking.

  • Jonty says:

    I don’t think there are any losers here. You can read the article and decide to get the card, you can read further through the links and comments and decide a different card is more to your liking, or if you are already familiar with this hobby you’ll already have an opinion. There are also people who have always had an opinion that Amex is not for them, and might be pleasantly surprised by the customer service and the number of places Amex is accepted. I’m currently watching my 24 month egg timer, but have no regrets about this card being my introduction to Amex.

    • Freddy says:

      Think an individual who opts for this card off the back of this advert/article will be a bit disappointed when they later realise that it’s a bit of a lame duck

    • Mikeact says:

      Maybe, but it still doesn’t seem quite right to me, whether it’s paid for or not. I must admit that I was a bit surprised when I first saw it having had it drummed into me why it wasn’t necessarily the right card to get.

    • Polly says:

      Anyone who reads this site will see through the article. BA wanted this a card advertised. We even got an inv]creased referral bonus offer this week. Obvs people are not applying for enough BAPP S atm, so perhaps they need to push the bacc.
      We also know to upgrade to the BAPP before the 10k spend, to get the 2 yr 241 voucher.

  • James. says:

    I assume there are no options to MS with Amex?

    • Genghis says:

      It’s possible but a niche space with higher risk IMO.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Finding MS routes isn’t the problem. By nature they are more scarce than Visa/MC routes because they’re accepted at less merchants but you can find them if you look.

      The challenge is not to get shut down when Amex pick up on it and conduct a financial review as MS is against their terms and conditions!

  • NickC says:

    I couldn’t believe this after all of the articles regarding why it is better to get the fee based card. Then I realised it was an advert – I think that could and should have been made much clearer. Better still, the article should have appeared elsewhere to clearly differentiate it from the normal high quality opinion pieces, I have to say that it has tainted my hitherto high opinion of the site.

    • Doug M says:

      To be fair HfP is a business, and slipping in adverts like this is now pretty much the norm in newspapers, never mind websites. It does say it’s an advert, the info is there. I think in the current situation it’s completely understandable. The other travel sites of a similar nature are much much worse for this sort of thing, and clutter their pages with a lot more obvious adverts too.
      HfP is the one site I try to read daily, and this certainly won’t change that or my opinion of the quality of this site.

  • ChrisW says:

    Being ineligible for the sign-up bonus for the premium BA Amex for 24 months would also be a big reason not to get this card!

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