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