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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? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 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

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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)

  • Tony says:

    I got this email and am currently on the £30 rate. It says it goes to £250. Something has to give here especially given the lack of value in the platinum card with travel as good as suspended.

    Perhaps I dump both the platinum and bapp cards?

  • Simon says:

    Yes it’s goodbye to Platinum now for me, fortunate to have status with airlines and hotels I use normally anyway – only held onto it while the BA card was free. Suspect I won’t be the only one…

  • Baji Nahid says:

    This card has been absolutely annihilated by Amex. I cant see any benefit for UK card holders apart from the I class tickets and extra reward seats. Its just not worth £250 at all

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Really? I paid around £50 total in card fees to get two 2-4-1 vouchers that have just saved me £2k worth of Avios. An extra £4/month card fee doesn’t even move the needle; but I suppose the maths for everyone will be different.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Rob quotes that it is only chargeable to companion card holders, not the main card (Platinum / Centurion) holder. So that just means that you only get one free BAPP card per Centurion / Platinum card account and if a companion on the Centurion / Platinum account wants one too, they have to pay £250 for it. Seems OK to me….

    • Andrew says:

      No that’s not what he’s saying. “Companion card” is the name Amex uses to refer to the Platinum card which triggers the BAPP being free. Additional or Supplementary card is what you’re confusing it with here. So it’s bad news for anyone who used to get the BAPP annual fee free as it’s now the standard £250.

  • Andrew says:

    Yep the party is finally over for us – 10+ years of getting the BAPP free ends here. So I’ll be downgrading to blue once I get to my anniversary in February. I’m assuming that the anniversary date is the date I have to achieve the voucher by – never having paid an annual fee I don’t know when the fee is due otherwise.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      What’s the point of keeping a free BA if you’re not interested in a voucher and you have a platinum that earns at the same rate anyway?

      Start a 2 year BAPP churn …

      • Andrew says:

        Yes maybe that’s the best strategy for me. So as long as no BA card is held for 2 years I can still get BAPP signup bonus?

        • Andrew says:

          And I guess just have nectar in the meantime as my second card.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Yep

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Even hold a free Gold credit which earns double on airline spend and 10k bonus after 15k spend.

          • Andrew says:

            Thanks – I think this is actually a good shakeup for me to be more savvy about the products I hold, I’ve just kept BAPP all these years because it was free and I got 3 Avios per £ spent with BA.

      • kitten says:

        plus it’s a good message to Amex/BA if people dont downgrade just exit the card instead

  • Erico1875 says:

    Thats a bit OTT.
    Its only went up £55 for most of us

  • Anne says:

    I really can’t get too upset about this. I’ve been hugely fortunate to benefit from the £30 rate since 2005. At the time I took out the BAPP I held the old Amex Blue card (which eventually turned into the Platinum [email protected] card) and this qualified me for the reduced rate.

    So 15 years of £30 fees for holding a free companion card plus huge value out of the BAPP in the meantime. No complaints from here – I’ve had a great run with it and I’ll almost certainly hold onto the card. The only constant in this game is change!

  • Jonathan says:

    Would the FCA entertain a complaint on this. ?

    • Andrew says:

      No, Amex have the right to change the terms of the agreement, as long as they give you fair notice which they have and give you the option to end the agreement. It’s the same as they can increase the fee or change the benefits as they want.

      • LEWIS says:

        If its hidden in small print of an email as Rob said. The FCA might have a problem with that

        • Dominic says:

          They’ll write to people before the increase happens.

    • Sloth says:

      Complaining about no longer getting something for free?? Oh dear

      • NFH says:

        It’s not “getting something for free“, but conditional upon paying £575 per annum for the Platinum card.

        • Sloth says:

          Of course it was free. Plenty of others also paid £575 for the platinum card and didn’t get a free BAPP…

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