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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This article is an advertisement feature by American Express

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

Bonus: 5,000 Avios

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Receive a companion voucher, letting you book two flights for the Avios of one, when you spend £12,000 in a card year
  • The companion voucher is only valid on Economy flights
  • It can be used on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 29.7% 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 £12,000 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.)

The voucher on the free British Airways American Express card can only be used on Economy flights.

The voucher can be used for Avios bookings on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus.

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, only requires £10,000 of annual card spend and is valid in ALL cabins including Business and First.  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 as our full BA Premium Plus Amex review shows), 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.


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:

****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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (110)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • MikeL says:

    Just downgraded our two premium cards. I’ve had mine for 14 years. Sitting with 4 companion vouchers and 500k Avios. I can’t justify the £390 fees at this time. Hoping to get back to some form of normality next year. In the meantime, happy to tread water with the blue cards. Amex did not offer any fee reduction when I spoke to them about the downgrade.Asked them about it but my request was declined.

    • Genghis says:

      You’re better off with using the free for one year Amex Gold (assuming you’re not waiting 2 years to get Plat bonus).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Agree with Genghis. Dump one of the BA cards anyway you can start a 2 year wait for the bonus. Then switch between the two of you.

  • Sam wardill says:

    Is head for points really suffering so much that it has to resort to this?

    • Nick_C says:

      How do you think HfP should be generating revenue? How much would you be prepared to pay for a subscription?

      Do you complain about adverts in newspapers and magazines that you have already paid for? Get real.

      • Freddy says:

        I’d normally be of your mindset but this article is a new low. It’s completely at odds with all other articles on the website all because a bit of £££ was put on the table

        • Tim says:

          I was waiting for the article to mention the need to weigh this card up versus the AE gold which has a better sign up bonus and is also free for the first year. If it had done that I would have been satisfied that the article was still journalism

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’s not. Just because it’s a bad idea to spend 20k for the voucher it doesn’t make the card a bad idea. Some people have no interest in getting a companion voucher.

    • ChrisW says:

      How interested are you in earning points right now? I have hundreds of thousands I can’t use.

      • Freddy says:

        You’ll be able to do so in the near future so may aswell continue collecting points unless you believe international travel is never to return

    • DV says:

      The article is clearly labelled “This article is an advertisement feature by American Express”. It is not misleading anyone, or pretending to be editorial when it is not. What is the problem?

      • Freddy says:

        Clearly labelled once you click onto article itself. On mobile on the home page there isn’t any mention that it’s an advert. At least other websites mention ‘sponsored ad’ before you click through

    • Alex Sm says:

      Rob had to get a 50% cut on his salary. So, readers, don’t complain. Most of you must have kept 100% of yours or close to that

  • A270 says:

    This card was genuinely the only one that suited my niece. She was very scared of having an Amex somehow, hasn’t got much of a spend as she’s a single mum but does like to travel every few years. I looked at the all the cards and most required £2k+ spend. She is so pleased with this one as before that she used a debit card. She did a referral and that’s brought her over 10,000 Avios including the sign up bonus in just a few months. It will enable her to book a ticket to Turkey some time next year once she’s collected enough. So no, I don’t think it is a misguiding article just because its PAID as the fee paying ones are not suitable for all. Not everyone can afford CW or F and some just want a card that would subsidise their holiday cost.

    • Polly says:

      Same with my daughters. Got the younger one to use the bacc, then the upgrade at 9.5k spend to gain the better 241. Then referred her for gold, after which she cancelled the BAPP. But no big fees, that’s the point.

  • Dan says:

    Reading the various comments here and I do agree the point about times being difficult and bills need to be paid etc… BUT It does seem very odd (advert or not) that the site is promoting a card that they have always advised against.

    If you read the articles on free BA vs BAPP, the language there is strong pushing people away from the free version, so to start now is strange and hopefully not a sign to come with future articles

    • RussellH says:

      The advice against the fee-free blue card simply does not apply to everyone. I believe that Rob has said in the past that the blue card is, by a huge margin, the most widely held Amex in the UK. Just because they mostly do not read HfP does not mean that they are necessarily wrong.
      And, IIRC, Rob only advises against using the fee-free card if you spend over £10000 / yr on the card. I would be surprised if more than about 15% of card holders could do that.

      In the current climate I would NEVER take out any fee-charging credit card: even in better times the only one that ever made any sort of sense was the old SPG Amex where one had to spend £1000 in the three months (usually only achievable with the aid of Billhop and a donation to CAF) and then cancel immediately. That card cost £6.25 a month, the points were typically worth 1½p each, so you got nothing for the first £416.67 spent on the card each month. Spend less than that and you are out of pocket.
      There is no way that I could spend that much on Amex in a month – at present it is typically less than £200, and that is with just about everything that can be paid for by card going on Amex rather than Visa/MCard.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Have to start exploring those things that can’t be paid on card easily 🙂 direct debits can be easily swapped to credit card spend.

        • RussellH says:

          Did all that once I started reading HfP. I can pay electricity on Amex, not phone bill (M/Card). Mobile yes, but that is only about £15 per year. Gas (LPG) is D/D only, or the price goes up significantly. Council Tax is M/Card, as are all insurances. The only person I pay in cash is my cleaner. I have used cash in a shop once in the last 9 months. I paid tradesmen with Billhop as long as I had fee-free use of the service, but that has finished, and 3% surcharge for 1% off in points makes no sense at all.

          I am not going to start messing about with Curve – far too many reports of it only working irregularly, and it does not work with Amex anyway. Further, it would require a lot of cash spent on an Android or iOS device that I would not otherwise use.

  • James M says:

    One good reason not to get this card: it says British Airways on it.

    After the way I and likely so many others were treated with getting refunds for flights they cancelled, I can’t see myself using them again, perhaps ever.

    The standard of service has been in decline (free fall?) for years, the “oh yeah, here’s a voucher” when a cash refund was required nonsense lead to a S75 chargeback (obviously successful, as they were in breach of law).

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Let’s be honest you probably will because going direct is better than switching planes in the middle of the night and no one has as big a network as BA from the UK.

      • Phil W says:

        Unless you don’t live in London. When you live north of the Midlands, you quite frequently have to connect anyway… why not do it in AMS, CDG, FRA or DXB?
        Actually the only time I use BA now is when I’m using my 2-4-1 Voucher from the BAPP card, which, ironically, I took based upon the advice I read on this site.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          OK so why did OP go out of his way before?

          What puts me off connecting in CDG and AMS is AF-KLM I’ll give you FRA. What would put me off connecting in DXB vs in LHR is that I’d much rather do 1hr + 13 hrs than 6+7 etc

        • Polly says:

          BAPP 241 voucher the best value out there, with its 2 yr validity…so previous advice still excellent.

    • Doug M says:

      @James M. Which airline will you be using instead that had a better attitude to refunds than BA, and provides reasonable connections. Because the airlines that connect in CDG, FRA and AMS made BA look like refund angels.

  • Tom Murray says:

    It is sad I agree but an understandable route for Rob to attempt to keep HFP afloat. Like many small businesses in a niche market, the rug has been pulled out – and to be fair there isn’t much meat or good news that HFP can write about. Our appetite for multi holiday travel or business flights is at rock bottom. If HFP is to continue – and who knows – I think this ‘advertorial’ type content will increase.

  • Tom Murray says:

    ps I’ve just cancelled one of our two BAPP cards. We had two; me + Mrs M and Mrs M + me. Sitting with unused companion vouchers in the bank with no real hope to use them on any meaningful journeys – and airline tickets and car hire were major purchases for those cards to achieve the £10k spend. It’s a different world now 🙁

    • Polly says:

      Hope one of you referred the other for a free Amex gold, to keep earning MRs, for hotels etc.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Amex cards always have a member since year on them. So say if you joined Amex in the past, cancelled for a couple of years and then signed up again will the member since year be the year you first joined Amex or the year you rejoined?

    • Tariq says:

      The member since year reset for me. But the gap was at least 5 years I think.

    • Genghis says:

      Mine’s when first joined and not always held Amex. Largest gap about 7 months.

      • Jonathan says:

        I’ve got 3 different member since dates on my cards despite same address & online account. Didn’t help me get additional signup bonuses either

        • Jonathan says:

          The first Amex card I had my wallet was a Lloyds TSB Airmiles duo card, when I got an Amex issued Amex card, the member since number was the year they issued the card. It was approximately 2-3 years or so gap between the two cards

          If you were born in the early 1950s or so, and got an Amex card when you were old enough to have a credit card, you might have a 1970s number on it! I think the earliest card was 1969

          • Joe says:

            When I did my global transfer to US they set my member since to my birth year – made me chuckle everytime I used my cards.

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