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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

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

PS. The 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? – May 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.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. Apply here.

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

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) 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:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (194)

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

  • Reney says:


    Yesterday someone mentioned there was an uplifted BAPP sign up bonus for selected cardholders, can someone tell us what the uplift is? Thanks

    • Mark J says:

      On mine, I would get 12,000 avios and the friend would get 26,000.

    • James says:

      I have an exclusive offer of:

      I get 14k
      You get 30k

      £3k spend in 3 months. Let me know if you’d like my referral URL.

      • James says:

        That didn’t come out how I wrote it, but I’m hoping you got the gist?

  • Paul Pogba says:

    Does the 241 voucher trigger on pending transactions or once posted? I have to complete my £10k spend by 5 September and it looks like I’d be better off timing it after the first to get the additional availability.

  • Ali says:

    So when you redeem a 2 for 1 on I class club World, do you pay cash or still the equivalent avios + taxes/fees/charges?

  • pigeon says:

    I don’t see the changes as bad news at all – paying £65 a year for access to I class redemptions is worth it for me.

    Almost everyone does well out of this I think – even the person who uses the extra availability only once every five years to tweak their redemption by a day or two can potentially recoup their costs on hotel savings or through better use of annual leave.

    • pigeon says:


    • Jonathan says:

      I guarantee that I class availability post September 1st will not be the same as I class prior. No way BA will be letting 9+ CW seats go to 241 redemptions for eg. CPT over Xmas. I class will be like V class for Gold redemptions-carefully managed rather than available on every flight.

      • pigeon says:

        Yes if you want CPT at Christmas you’ll need to book one of the four seats released a year out. But if you wanted to redeem in near-peak season, e.g. early December or late January, and to do this ~3 months out, you’ve now got a fighting chance.

  • Anuj says:

    Not being able to combine new and old vouchers is very rude of BA tbh. However maybe this will result in the upside that BA may let you convert old vouchers to new ?

  • Terry Semmence says:

    My wife has an HSBC world prem elite with me as supp card holder. They waived the annual fee for this year (£260 I think) because holders can’t use all the benefits of the card.

    • Andrew says:

      Was thinking of ditching bapp for 2 yrs as am about to have 4 x 241 vouchers in the household. Is this hsbc card any good for collecting avios (I read the hfp article and it didn’t inspire me to get the card)

      • Memesweeper says:

        Yes, it’s excellent, but you have the pain of getting, and maintaining, an HSBC prem current account to make it work.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Brings the policy in-line to that of GUFs. In two minds about it however, as I find GUFs invaluable booking into I and A class. Now more people will be taking up those seats. Mmmm.

    • Steve says:

      Correct, more people vying for those seats, plus BA may well reduce I / A class inventory so it may lead to the same status quo we know and love.

    • Doug M says:

      The loss of I revenue seats was my concern. I don’t think any of us know how this will work in practice until 1st September.

      • Babyg says:

        AVIOS held by people isn’t a limitless supply, so it would stand to reason that over time people will run out of AVIOS eventually and reward booking will become easy in the future, im guessing thats the point, e.g. BA have crunched the numbers and they want people to be able to spend their AVIOS (and pay the taxes/fees) whilst buisness travel is down. I know most people who are new to avios/rewards think its easy to get a reward seat to anywhere they want, hopefully that will soon be the case?

        • Rob says:

          There is some logic in this, although the 241 changes will take a long time to flush through the system – earn, redeem, fly is a long cycle.

          • Doug M says:

            Didn’t you run an article saying BA planned to increase the Avios in circulation? I don’t see logic in what Babyg says. The Avios redeemed are replaced by those issued, it’s not like BA are running it down to 0. Whilst business customers are down and so is their earning from flying, it’s equally true that few Avios are being spent on flights, well flights actually taken.

  • George K says:

    Out of curiosity, Is the grandfathered fee waiver still in place for legacy Plat holders?

    • A says:


      • Rob says:

        Oh yes. And now £55 more valuable …

        • Henry says:

          Are we sure about that A & Rob, the T&Cs I received today state: “4. Introduction of an annual Cardmembership fee of £250, which will be the standard Cardmembership fee for the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card, and the removal of the clause that allows you to hold the Card for free if you hold an Amex Companion Card. ”
          But no clarification anywhere I can find – I have the Platinum Amex and not been charged for BA Prem Plus since inception..

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

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