Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

A positive suggestion for improving the British Airways American Express cards

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Over the last 18 months, British Airways and American Express have done a lot of fiddling with the two British Airways American Express credit cards.

You can see the current features in our British Airways Premium Plus American Express review here and our free British Airways American Express review here.

On the whole, this has been positive – in particular the ability to open up additional reward availability in Club World for British Airways redemptions when using a companion voucher. Adding Aer Lingus and Iberia to the 241 was handy for some, as is letting solo travellers fly for half Avios.

There is one change that I still feel is overdue, however.

How to improve the British Airways Premium Plus American Express credit card

Both my wife and I have our own Premium Plus cards, meaning we generate 2 x 241 companion vouchers each year. Because we have two children, this works well as it covers a family holiday.

Whilst the renewal dates on the two cards differ by three months, we try to time our spend so that we trigger the vouchers at roughly the same time.

This year we have got a little carried away. Whilst the membership year on my own card only started a few weeks ago, due to some spending on our home I am almost at the £10,000 cap to trigger my voucher.

Due to a trip to Scotland over New Year, amongst other things, my wife is also nearly at her £10,000 cap after three months.

But we don’t want to trigger our vouchers now ….

Here’s the snag. I have no interest in triggering our vouchers now.

We already have two unused vouchers, probably for October 2023 half term use.

We only really have two opportunities in the year for long haul holidays, which are over Easter and over October half term. With GCSEs looming next year, I don’t see us doing much next Easter so my next set of vouchers is likely to be used in October 2024. It could be even later, given that I have a lot of Lufthansa miles and Virgin Points to use too.

How to improve the British Airways American Express credit card

What this means is …. our two British Airways American Express Premium Plus cards are now going to go into a drawer. I will probably dig them out in November and put through the last few hundred pounds on each to trigger our next vouchers, which will allow us to use them as late as half term in October 2025 if necessary.

Where is the value in this for British Airways and American Express? I will now be moving our family spending to other cards, even though I would be perfectly happy to keep picking up 1.5 Avios per £1 on my Premium Plus card.

There seems to be a very simple answer to this problem

Your 2-4-1 Premium Plus companion voucher should be valid for the rest of your current Amex membership year plus two years.

At the moment it is valid for two years from the date of issue. I believe it should be for the rest of your current card year PLUS TWO YEARS. The expiry date should not be impacted by when you trigger the voucher.

If this rule was currently in place, I would happily keep spending on my Premium Plus card. Because it isn’t, I won’t.

I don’t see who loses under my proposed scenario. Cardholders don’t have to mess around juggling their spend to ensure they trigger their voucher to maximise its life. American Express and British Airways profit from additional card spend. Let’s get it done!

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

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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.

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American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

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Comments (194)

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

  • Chas says:

    Completely agree with all of this. I had done the same with both mine and my wife’s cards, switching spending to the Barclaycard until after the summer when I wanted to trigger them. Except I had forgotten about a repeat payment that was set up on my card so I have now accidentally triggered the voucher. As a result I’ll now cancel the card which surely can’t be what Amex really want.

  • Stephen E says:

    Completely agree. I tend to time my spending so I hit the 1st voucher at the very end of one year and then spend up at the beginning of the next year so I get two vouchers on my account that are valid for 2 years and only a few months apart. This means I tend to have a card that is near the limit that is dormant for 9 months and then hit the limit and get the voucher. The year resets for me in November and then all the Christmas spending and holiday bookings mean I can easily trigger my second voucher within a couple of months and I have a pair of vouchers valid for nearly two years. I then tend to flip my spending to another card (such as my wife’s) and repeat the process, or use a non-Amex card.

  • Stephan says:

    Tbh I think situation only applies to handful of people (not a problem I have) so don’t see why Amex would make that change. They have the data so they could see how many people make this calculated effort to put their card in a drawer just to avoid hitting the target, but must ppl I know who have the card don’t care.

  • Michael Lenihan says:

    I have the same issue and have raised this with AMEX. I have £33 left to trigger my Companion Voucher, and have frozen the card to avoid triggering the voucher. I lose out as I’m now no longer collecting Avios, and AMEX loses out as I’m not spending on the card.

  • JW says:

    I stop using my BA Amex about 4 months in when I’m close to 10k, start spending on Barclays avios card instead and then top up the Amex spend in the final month to have the longest possible expiry on the companion voucher. The only inconvenience for me is monitoring my spend towards the target, which is easy enough, but Amex lose revenue on the interchange fees from anyone who does this so it would be in their best interest to implement this suggestion

  • BobM says:

    For me the problem is that I always fly Club. Then I get a voucher that’s only good in Economy. So it doesn’t matter when it expires since I won’t use it anyway.

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

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