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Review: the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card

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This is our review of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Card Offers‘ area in the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

This article was updated on 1st March 2021, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

IMPORTANT: Until 9th April 2021, the stand-out UK card offer is with American Express Business Platinum (100,000 points, apply here, review here). American Express Business Gold, which is FREE for your first year, is offering 50,000 points. You can apply here and our review is here. If you qualify, you should take these offers very seriously.

Key links: British Airways American Express Premium Plus application form

Key facts: £195 annual fee

The representative APR is 74.7% variable, including the £195 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 22.2% 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 British Airways American Express credit card in a separate article.

Review British Airways Premium Plus American Express credit card

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.com 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 companion 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 point. 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.

Another option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than Amex charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

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.

Review British Airways BA American Express Premium Plus credit card

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:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is FREE for the first year. These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card offers 20,000 Bonvoy points for signing up. These convert to 6,666 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 Card Offers’ 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.

Comments (37)

  • Jim says:

    Is this card still valuable, even if one doesn’t generate enough Avios for the super long haul trips (e.g. LHR -> SYD J)?

    • Rob says:

      Even a 241 to Corfu in Club saves 30k Avios which justifies the card fee.

    • Alan says:

      Last year I saved more than the fee from the AMEX offers, £400 from the 10% off at Morrisons (JL/Waitrose gift cards), plus another £100ish from a few other offers.

      • Freddy says:

        Could you have got those offers on one of the free cards though

        • Alan says:

          I don’t know perhaps another reader could tell us.

          • Dan says:

            Yep I got the Morrisons Offer on my free ARCC – so can’t really factor into the BAPPs Cost benefit Analysis

  • Oliver says:

    If one has two companion vouchers, is it possible to book 4 flights using only one set of Avios or would it be two separate “buy one get one frees” (+ taxes)?

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Rob Can you still have the Amex Gold (Or Cancel) and get the BA Premium Plus Bonus it seems to be missing from your main article ?

  • Freddy says:

    Do you get a new card with a new card number if you downgrade?

    • FFoxSake says:

      Recently downgraded from BAPP to free free BA. Was sent a new card but you can continue to use old card until activating the new one. Card number stayed the same (different expiry and CCV of course). Partial refund of BAPP annual fee was automatically applied to account within 3 days.

      • Alex Sm says:

        Not true. The card number is different but the app and the online account details remain the same

      • The real John says:

        In my experience the card number will be incremented.

        The final number is a check digit and the previous two numbers are 00 for main cardholder and 01 for first supplementary; the number before that is increased by 1.

    • elt says:

      I upgraded from Blue free to Prem plus and then downgraded from PPLus to blue all with same card no. Amex brighton said lots of people v pleased at this as eg amazon saved card logins dont have to be changed.
      Sadly the last card was then rejected by merchant “as had been cancelled”
      Amex now say they have to send me a new card so I am without access to spending until it arrives. Which is really inconvenient.

  • Roger Wood says:

    Do you have to continue to have a BA Amex card to retain the 2-4-1? I intended to refer the wife and cancel my card so that I can start the 2 year cycle before re-applying with bonus etc. I see the 2-4-1 sits on the BA website separate from Amex website.

    • Number9 says:

      No but you do need Amex to pay for taxes surcharges etc. But doesn’t have to be in your name.

    • Rob says:

      No. Ignore Amex if they tell you otherwise. We cancelled my wife’s and she still has 2 vouchers.

    • Genghis says:

      When we churned cards heavily and wanted a 241 we’d cancel the card soon after earning. Never had an issue.

      There’s only one case I know of where there’s been an issue which was reported by reputable FT poster Karfa.

  • David S says:

    Can you have both the legacy Marriott Credit card issued by Creation and the Marriott Amex card referred to in the article and get 25 days credited to your account (10 plus 15) . Seems a good way to boost status without even booking a stay ?

    • Harry T says:

      Some people reported receiving elite nights from both cards last year, which made me very jealous as someone who wasn’t in the game when the older Creation card was about! If you’ve got the Creation card, I would definitely take out the Marriott Amex and try your luck.

      • Capt Hammond says:

        I can confirm that I got a total of 25 nights credit from having the two cards last year.

        • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

          Same here – The Amex Bonvoy card elite night credit has already posted this year for me. However, last year the legacy Creation Marriott card elite nights credited in March/April, which I think is on the anniversary of my card issue (which is confusing as I always receive the 2,000 annual points for also holding that card first thing in January!). Anyway, yes, it seems you DO get a double dip if you are lucky enough to have both…

  • Ian says:

    Has anyone tried the Currensea card please? The low foreign exchange fee would be interesting to me. Looking round for advice on money forums, a lot of people were sceptical at start-up but no recent comment. There were questions around the security implications of giving online banking login details. I’m still living in the 20th century and don’t use online banking (I have telephone banking) which might seem to exclude my having a Currensea card?

    • Alex says:

      Yep – have used many times. I think its a great addition to my travel wallet.

      I know a there’s talk of it costing 0.5%, but that is against interbank rates. They say on the website that Mastercard rates are generally 0.4% above interbank .

      Whilst there is a comparison of charges etc against other travel cards on their website
      it is of course designed to the best case against Starling/Revolut etc. I would love someone to do an independent comparison of all the travel cards in real world setting ie spending / cash to see if their claims stack up

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Wouldn’t trust anyone with bank account login details.
      I use TransferWise and highly recommend it.

      • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

        I think that Currensea is more a potential substitute for fx cards like Revolut and Caxton for daily spend abroad rather than for a fx transfer service to send money abroad like Transferwise?

      • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

        Also, you are not handing over your bank login to Currensea as they use the Open Banking platform. You are never asked to share your password or login details with anyone other than your own bank or building society when setting up the link.

      • Rob says:

        They don’t have your login details! A direct debit is set up and the money is pulled that way. Exactly the same as you’ve given to all your card and utility providers.

  • flyforfun says:

    So, I have 3 241 vouchers in my account and even in lock down on my way to hit my target for this year.

    What’s the odds of the vouchers being extended again? I’m certainly going to lose one at this rate. I triggered last years one with the bonus months on it. I did make a booking with the 1st voucher, as I managed to get seats to Sydney! But then cancelled the next day when the Australian gov’t said no international flight arrivals until towards the end of the year. Didn’t want to tie up £1000 in fees and then risk them on a flight voucher I couldn’t use.

    • Alex says:

      The voucher which has the shortest amount of time left on it. You could book a one-way flight to Scotland and then cancel it for a FTV which will extend its date with minimum taxes&avios tied up. Only issue with this is your +1 is locked in, may or may not be a deal breaker

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