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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 9th 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)

  • EvilDoctorK says:

    Just checked and my annual fee bills on the August statement which would seem to be optimal for this change !

  • NFH says:

    Other customers’ BAPP annual fees are increasing by only £55 (from £195 to £250). Therefore I don’t understand why grandfathered Platinum card holders’ BAPP annual fees are increasing by £250 (from £0 to £250). Such a large fee increase is disproportionate and lacks objective justification, particularly for very loyal customers who are most likely to persuade friends and family to become customers.

    • Dominic says:

      It isn’t disproportionate. It’s charging the going rate after an exceptionally good sign-up offer two decades ago.

      • NFH says:

        A £250 jump in the annual fee (from £0 to £250) is indeed disproportionate. It could have been done more gradually – perhaps first £55, then £95 and then £100. If they had done it this way, then they might lose fewer customers of the Platinum and/or BAPP cards.

        • Justin says:

          Objectively, its entirety, it’s not disproportionate – everyone has the same product, everyone pays the same fee. Anyone not happy can simply walk away or downgrade.

          As someone else has mentioned, those who have the grandfathered rates are getting their ‘perks’ off the backs of members who pay the full fee. These members should be grateful AmEx let this go on for such a long period of time.

  • Tim R says:

    Ah. All good things must come to an end, even though I mentioned the other day I’d never paid for my BA Card.
    I’ll probably retain both. I’m an avid Avios collector (Card Tart may be more appropriate), and I like the extras the Platinum card gives me.
    A shame all the same.

  • DBS12 says:

    I’ve held a Platinum Amex and a BA Premium Plus card for 8 years and have been paying both fees in full for the duration. I’ve never heard of a clause offering the BAPP at a discounted rate (£30)? I have just called Amex and they said they know nothing about this and there is no discount on fees for existing Amex card holders. Does anyone have any further info on this or where I can find this clause?

    • Rhys says:

      The offer was available in 2001 – Rob has been grandfathered in. You haven’t been able to get it for years (potentially decades!)

      • Andrew says:

        I think I got it about 15 years ago at £0 annual fee and has continued since for me. Then maybe about 10 years ago it moved to £30 annual fee for new signups. And then it went completely. And now they are removing it for everyone with legacy agreements.

    • Anne says:

      I never knew it existed before they gave it to me back in 2005. I held the old free blue Amex (not the BA free card) when I applied for the BAPP and it was a very nice surprise to get the reduced fee. It’s carried on ever since despite one abortive attempt by Amex to remove in it, I think, 2017. I don’t ever recall seeing the £30 version of the fee as an advertised benefit in the way the free BAPP with Plat was for a while.

  • Babyg says:

    Shame, but people should just dollar cost average the card fees… points is a long term game IMHO, sometimes the rules change, but the goals don’t.

    • Genghis says:

      I disagree. My approach to minimise card fees where possible has worked out well. I guess I lost out on all the Plat offers over the past year but average it out longer term and I’m well up.

  • Andy Peek says:

    Be good to see a comparison against the Virgin Atlantic Card. Especially now Virgin offer tier points on redemption flights. Also point redemption seems better value in Virgin for most routes, London > HKG seems to be approx 40,000 points less.
    Plus you can exchange Clubcard points to VA.

  • A says:

    The £0 fee was a huge incentive for me keeping the platinum card, with its already significantly watered down benefits over the years.
    Disappointed in Amex with this – they are usually exceptionally good at keeping grandfathered things – I have others still on cards that are long discontinued.

    Personally, the 2-4-1 wasn’t much use since my divorce, and given I now live in the US, unusable for the most part anyway. I always use virgin points ex- JFK and only used to redeem on BA in F coming back from the UK, due to the stupidly BA high award fees ex-JFK. Now F has been culled, and availability will be harder, even that isn’t so much of an option now.

    I may cancel the BA PP when my is due to go up in August of 2022 switch BA countries and take out the US Chase BA card, which gives me 60,000 avios after $3k spend, 5 avios/$1 BA spend, and $95 fee. Companion voucher at $30k spend but, again, not much use right now.

    Poor form by amex (cue incoming comments from people who have been paying for years and resent long standing loyalty customers).

    • Jayne says:

      Getting something free is not really the definition of a loyal customer. You’re jogging on now, by the sound of it, which speaks volumes.

      • A says:

        Well I’m certainly not cancelling my platinum on either side of the Atlantic, my centurion, or numerous other cards with them, so yeah, in terms of spend and fees I’m what I imagine Amex would perceive as a loyal customer.
        The other grandfathered stuff hasn’t gone either – just this, which screams of an easy cash grab attempt.

        This, on the other hand is almost a net 45% overnight fee increase for no additional product, far in excess of the £55 (28.5%) fee increase for the majority of customers….and remember that in order to have had this £0 fee grandfathered, the customer has had to have BOTH cards continuously for 15, 20 years – no churning here – so yeah this increase is taking the piss a little. They are totally free to change it, just as I am free to walk away from that particular product and they will consequently lose the % of the significant spend put through that card annually.

        By your argument, BA gold card holders should still have to pay for their seat choice, as they shouldn’t get it free with their loyalty.

  • Ramsey says:

    All you grandfathered people should be ashamed at subsidising every other regular customer who was actually paying the real fee. I’m guessing the fca probably had enough of this and is cracking down like they have been in insurance between customer classes that should be equal but paying different rates for the exact same financial product.

    They should have ended this a long time ago and frankly sounds like a case for a lawsuit.

    • Justin says:

      Exactly.

      Sadly there too many comments on this page which exude entitlement. For those not wanting to pay, they can walk away or downgrade…. simple as that.

      • Rob says:

        Totally bizarre. You know that if you join a private members club in London, convention is that your membership fee is fixed for life at what you paid in your first year – so anyone who is member for 40 years ends up paying a fraction of what a new member pays?

        In the B2B market it is pretty normal for customers to insist on zero or RPI-only price increases for software products (not Microsoft, obviously, but the niche industry-specific products that every sector has) so over time new customers end up paying much more than you.

        I agree it is odd that Amex let this ride for so long, but only in the B2C market does every customer tend to pay the same.

        We even do it ourselves at HfP. There is, nominally, a price list for ads and sponsored content but in reality everyone pays a different rate. At one point we aggressively increased our pricing – with no impact on demand – but it took 3 years to bring existing customers up to the same levels.

    • QFFlyer says:

      A lawsuit, take a look at yourself. A company can offer whatever product it wants to anyone. It was a benefit offered at a certain point in time, which was retained for those who signed up at that time. New signups accepted the terms which were offered when they signed up themselves.

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