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If you get a free grandfathered BA Premium Plus Amex, it’s over – but you saved £3,000+

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There was one final twist yesterday in the story of the changes to the British Airways American Express credit cards.

We have already covered:

Here’s the last bit of news – and it’s not good.

American Express ends free British Airways Premium Plus credit cards

When the British Airways American Express cards were launched in 2001, American Express was keen to encourage its existing charge card holders to get one.

Offers were made depending on what charge card you had. In my case, as a holder of The Platinum Card, I received a Premium Plus card for free. Others paid a heavily reduced fee of £30.

I have never, ever, paid a penny for my Premium Plus credit card. I have saved 15 years of £150 and 5 years of £195, so £3,225. I know that many HfP readers are in the same position.

This is now over.

It was hidden away somewhat in an email sent out by American Express yesterday. I have not received it, so they are either being staggered or some people are being saved – I am assuming the former.

This clause takes effect from 1st September unless you cancel your Premium Plus card before then:

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. This is to ensure we can continue to offer the existing range of rewards and benefits linked to your Card. The Cardmembership fee charged to your Account from 1 September 2021 will be the new annual fee and will be charged on the statement following your Card anniversary.

I can’t really blame American Express for this. In some way, I am amazed that this perk has continued for so long.

The good news for Amex is that I doubt many people will cancel their British Airways Premium Plus card due to the change.

The bad news for Amex is that I DO think that some people will cancel The Platinum Card instead. It is effectively a £250 increase in their Platinum card fee, net of the discount attributed to getting a free British Airways Premium Plus card. It probably won’t be enough cancellations to wipe out the extra revenue on the Premium Plus card, but it will make a dent in it.

For the record, it is unlikely I will cancel mine. The maths still works. It won’t work for many other people.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 10th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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 Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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 (76)

  • David Cohen says:

    I’ve got the Gold Charge and the BA PP and last month just got charged the renewal for £30. As soon as I get to April next year, the card will be gone. Dead. Closed. Not worth it.
    When did you say Chase were entering the UK market?

  • JoshC says:

    Bye bye Amex.
    Ever rising fees, deteriorating service, increasingly irrelevant promotions (unless you shop like a chav), increasing trend (again) where many vendors won’t take it and irrelevance and cost of the 2-4-1 means it’s just not worth it. A year into Drew Crawley being there and it’s been gutted.

    • Rob says:

      Er, no. Drew went to Amex GBT which actually has nothing to do with Amex, except that Amex is a minority shareholder.

  • Stu N says:

    I wonder if Amex will do an offer on Kleenex for all the wingers who need to dry their eyes?

    You had a free ride for over a decade, good things end.

  • CarpalTravel says:

    Have to say, only the other day I was criticising people for switching to the BAPP card to trigger the 2-4-1 to then quickly swap back to the free card again.

    Not that I benefit from the grandfathered scheme and those who have should merely have counted themselves lucky. But this “suite” of changes feels a lot more like Amex just grabbing cash wherever they think they can.

    Coupled with the fact that despite multiple promises that my 100k bonus has not been added and that my other half got a reduced 25k sign-up offer applied to her BAPP last month, I am feeling much less charitable towards Amex and perhaps will pursue methods to optimise my points earnings .

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Just as I clicked submit on the above, the Amex email advising me of the price increase landed in my inbox. How amusing…

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