Why the changes to the British Airways Premium Plus Amex could be better than we thought
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We ran two articles yesterday on the changes to the two BA Amex (British Airways American Express) cards.
The changes to the free British Airways American Express are outlined here.
The changes to the £195 British Airways Premium Plus American Express are outlined here.
If you are one of the very few people to still have the Silver-coloured British Airways Premium American Express, there is no article. However, you need to know that your card is being closed on 31st August.
Full details of the companion voucher changes are on this page of ba.com.
It seems that we may have been too hard on the Premium Plus changes.
American Express sent us a mass-market press release about the BA Amex changes. This did not go into the levels of detail which are important to Head for Points readers. After the original article went up I spoke with a senior Avios person and we clarified some of the details.
The key change is this:
For companion vouchers earned from 1st September 2021, it appears that you will be able to redeem for ‘I-class’ (‘discounted Business Class’) Club World seats as well as standard Avios availability.
Your chances of getting Club World seats are, in theory, much improved if you have a voucher (issued after 1st September 2021) from a Premium Plus American Express card.
For clarity, this does NOT apply to existing 2-4-1 vouchers or any vouchers earned between now and 31st August.
This is a logical but potentially valuable change
We have been banging on for years on HfP about how it made zero sense for British Airways to be selling Club World seats for £1,299 or £1,499 in a sale, but not making them available for 120,000 Avios plus £550 of taxes.
From BA’s point of view, the maths is virtually the same, so why didn’t they do it?
Going forward, if there is a very cheap British Airways Club World cash ticket available to be bought, it should be bookable with Avios using a 2-4-1 voucher.
The devil is in the detail, of course
British Airways is very capable of moving flights around inside different ticket buckets. I-class is one of two discounted business class ticket buckets, so BA could very easily pop seats into R-class instead if it didn’t want to release them for 2-4-1 redemptions.
We won’t know how this works until 1st September when people start receiving the new vouchers. We can then compare Avios availability with I-class Club World cash availability to see if there is a true match.
It is promising, however. What is even more promising is that, if this is only made available to UK holders of BA credit cards, it creates a pool of seats which can’t be accessed by US credit card holders or those who have frequent flyer miles with oneworld partner airlines.
You may want to slow down your Premium Plus spending
If, like me, you are currently close to triggering a Premium Plus 2-4-1 voucher, you may want to hold on for 3 months.
There may be substantial extra value in triggering it after 1st September. This isn’t guaranteed, and it may turn out to be a damp squib, but it would be a shame to miss out. If it is as good as promised, it will justify the £250 annual card fee.
You can find out more about the BA Amex changes on this page of ba.com.
PS. The ba.com link above highlights an annoying quirk. You will not be able to combine an ‘old’ and ‘new’ Premium Plus 241 voucher in one booking. This throws up even more issues as I will discuss tomorrow.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.
Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card
1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review