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)

  • 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.

  • RussellH says:

    Year you re-joined, I think.
    I my case, my Amex cards bear the year I first took out an Amex card by Amex (I have always since held at least one Amex by Amex) , though long before that I had both an MBNA Amex and a Lloyds Amex each with different joining dates on.

    Neither of those dates carried over to Amex by Amex, nor did the date on the supp I have on my partner’s blue BA Amex, which long pre-dates any of the others.

    I have no idea if Amex set any value on the joining date.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      My first Amex was a corporate card in Australia in 1999. I later got a personal card as well, which also had the 99 joining date as well. I swapped my Australian Gold card for a British gold card in 2005, and that was enough to reset the joining date to 05. All my Amex cards since have had 05 on them. (I have had at least one card at all times since then).

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Hmmm Rob I must admit i’m torn here, yes you have/must pay bills or make your dosh.
    But (i didn’t notice it was an advert, i know i should have) all regular HFP readers would know “Not” to get this card unless
    1) they are single travelers
    2) down-grading for their personal reasons
    3) not a lot of income to spend to hit any bonus
    But (a big BUT) Any “NEW” visitor to your site would easily be fooled that this card is the one HFP is recommending as the “ONE”
    Which of course it is far from it
    I’M sorry Rob but i have to put it down as bad form, although i do understand why it would be impossible to refuse

    • Sean says:

      Or being referred so partner gets a referral bonus
      Or with the intention of upgrading only when approaching 10k spend in 9 months time etc…

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Sean Agree except your first comment
        (or being referred so partner gets referral bonus)
        referred partner for Platinum with my Platinum (thought would have been denied, but went through)
        We had 2 Platinum Cards (Partner and i) at same time although 1 of them just for 1 month, until more referrals came good, thought 1 months fee worth it for referrals.
        Both of us down graded now partner to Gold, me to BA Premium,
        Another down grade due Partner July after extra 10k posts she got just over 20k June offer. I’m waiting for 241 to hit then downgrade

  • Bob says:

    After years of telling me I was dumb to get this product, it’s now the product I should get? Lights out for my daily routine of checking this blog.

    • Freddy says:

      You’ll miss out on tomorrow’s new article – ‘why cash is so much better than points’ sponsored by Bank of England and ‘cancel your amex cards’ sponsored by MasterCard

  • Pangolin says:

    Even though I only use this card a couple of times a year, for some reason it’s the only Amex card I get decent offers on. By decent offers I mean travel-related things like Hilton and Marriott. I only care about travel offers and ignore everything else, but I don’t know why the only Amex card I virtually never use is nearly always the one that gives the offers I’m interested in.

    Considering it’s free I’m glad I have it. I had the PRG for 3 years and that was basically useless for Amex offers.

  • David Lawton says:

    I wish Amex would have a 3rd BA card offering above the black premium card, BA Platinum? I’m more than happy to pay around the fee Amex charge for the standard Platinum card if it came with maybe 2 Avios per £1 and the ability to earn more than one 2 for 1 Voucher per year, maybe a second voucher at £20,000 or some other incentive. Seems many downgrade from Black to Blue once they have hit their £10,000 spend target for the year, a 3rd card with with additional targets may keep people from downgrading.

  • ChasP says:

    tomorrow’s article
    10 reasons why you should get a BAPP ?

  • Patrick says:

    Most importantly, does it prevent resetting the RFS counters thus keeping the opportunity to do an RFS even if no flights have been taken?

    • Jonty says:

      I think you only need to earn 1avios in the previous 12? months to be eligible for RFS, no need to fly anywhere, so just having the card doesn’t help, but spending £1 on it would

    • AJA says:

      Yes it does. You need to collect 1 Avios in the last 12 months to be eligible for RFS. 1 Avios collected via the free BA Amex counts.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        AJA Correct but you can just go through BA shop and pay with any card and get Avios (Amex isn’t needed to get an Avios)

    • Genghis says:

      Anything that earns 1 avios in a BAEC works. Not particularly a reason to keep this credit card. A few transferred from MRs / HSBC, from a shopping portal (BA or otherwise) etc.

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