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BIG NEWS: BA Amex annual fee AND voucher qualifying spend to rise sharply

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American Express has announced some unwelcome changes to the two British Airways American Express credit cards today.

The fee for the Premium Plus card will increase to £300. This is effective immediately for new applications.

The annual spend required to receive a 2-4-1 companion voucher will increase to £15,000 in November. This applies to both cards.

BA Amex fee AND voucher qualifying spend to rise sharply

The British Airways Premium Plus fee will rise to £300

This is the easiest change to get your head around.

The fee for the Premium Plus card will increase from the current £250 per year to £300 per year.

The fee increase will apply:

  • from today, if you are a new applicant for the card
  • for your next renewal after 1st August, if you already have the card

This means that if your renewal date is in April, May, June or July, your card will renew at the current £250. You will not pay the higher fee until your subsequent renewal in 2025.

If your next renewal date is after 1st August 2024, you will pay £300 from your next renewal.

The 2-4-1 companion voucher will require £15,000 of spending

This change is more complex because it is NOT linked to your current card year.

From 1st November, you will need to spend £15,000 to receive a 2-4-1 companion voucher. This applies to BOTH the free British Airways American Express card and the Premium Plus version.

The change will kick in on 1st November for both new and existing cardholders.

This means that you are now under pressure to hit your current membership year spend target by 31st October. If you don’t, you’ll need to spend £15,000 instead.

Here’s an example. Let’s assume that you have the Premium Plus card and that your card year runs to 1st February. You will need to either:

  • spend £10,000 by 31 October 2024, or
  • spend £15,000 by 31 January 2025

…. to earn your next voucher. From 1st February 2025, when your membership year renews, you will need to spend £15,000.

BA Amex fee AND voucher qualifying spend to rise sharply

As a reminder, this is how the companion vouchers currently work:

  • the free British Airways American Express card awards a 2-4-1 companion voucher when you spend £12,000 in your membership year. The voucher is valid for one year for an Economy flight redemption on British Airways, Aer Lingus or Iberia.

What do we think?

The increase in the annual fee is not easy to justify. American Express is pointing to improvements in card benefits (the ability for a solo traveller to use it for a 50% Avios discount, the ability to use it on Aer Lingus and Iberia) but for 90% of cardholders these changes have no impact.

(The solo traveller benefit IS valuable, but by default most existing cardholders applied when the voucher was only usable by two people and don’t need this functionality. The ‘value’ in the solo traveller discount is all for the benefit of Amex, since solo travellers are now applying for the card when they wouldn’t previously.)

It will be interesting to see how many people decide that the maths no longer stacks up.

I am more amenable to the increase in annual spend. The card is now over 20 years old and the spend target for the Premium Plus voucher was £10,000 from the start. £10,000 in 2004 is equivalent to over £17,000 in 2024, so it is hard to argue with £15,000.

What should you do if you can’t spend £15,000 per year?

We’ll look at this in a separate article later in the week.


  • there is little value in having the free British Airways American Express card if you can’t spend £15,000 per year on it – it makes more sense to have the free American Express Rewards credit card or the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
  • there is absolutely no value in having the Premium Plus card (beyond the first year and the big sign-up bonus) if you can’t spend £15,000 to earn the voucher. This isn’t up for discussion.

best travel rewards credit cards

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2024 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 2nd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points 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 sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (626)

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

  • ChasP says:

    That’s me out – with my 250k pot of MR/Avios (mainly from signup Bonuses I have enjoyed 2 241s but I won’t be able to put £15k through the card
    So its back to Virgin for me – especially as I can use it (via Curve) to pay £3k Council tax/water etc Which makes a big dent in the annual £10k

  • Doug says:

    moving the goal posts while the game is still being played and not after the final whistle is blown will make people find another sport to watch ..

    • David says:

      For those that leave the game will leave more entertainment for the rest who stay.

  • Nick N says:

    Re Council tax payments with Amex. My local council stated they dont take it, payment made today at local Co Op using paypoint

  • Kevin says:

    Paypoint can also be used to pay “Household Rates” in Northern Ireland. Similar to Council Tax in England. Just find a shop or garage that has Paypoint (most Spars, Eurospars, Centra etc.) and also accepts Amex and you can pay in full or at intervals throughout the year.

    • Roy says:

      Many independent convenience stores, too, IME – at least in London.

      It’s mainly used to allow people to pay cash for their utility bills, I think, so it makes sense that many councils would use it to provide an option to pay your council tax in cash.

  • David says:

    I wonder if the recent offer of TP for 15k+ spend was a test to see how much further spend could be readily unlocked from cardholders who have either hit their 10k and stopped, or are stopping just short of it (i.e. is there more spend on the table)

    A bit like we said with that TP offer, there should be more and lower rungs on the ladder.
    Perhaps a lower spend voucher that you can use economy only, and a higher rung voucher for all cabins, but on one card product.

  • MrMcBurger says:

    not sure how someone in a current year can be forced to spend more. Surely paying an annual fee should have locked in the spend & not see the goalposts moved until the next renewal date.

  • vlcnc says:

    It sure feels like Amex wants to lose customers these days…

    • tw33ty says:

      I think they are more trying to force out the less profitable customers

      • Roy says:

        In part, I’m sure, but I think a big part is that they know that many customers in their target demographic are are running multiple cards, either BAPP plus Barclays or BAPP plus Virgin (or all three!) and they’re trying to push more of that spend over to their cards. To the extent that some of those customers have difficulty meeting £25,000 spend across two cards and will cancel one, I think they’re hoping that most will keep the BAPP and cancel (one of) their other cards. Because, frankly, the BAPP 2-4-1 is rather more valuable than the Barclays or Virgin vouchers to many.

        • Rob says:

          Very likely to be correct. It’s a trade off between how many cancel (because they can’t hit £15k) and how many of those who now stop at £10,001 (or £9,999) will spend another £5k.

          • Roy says:

            Better than that (for Amex). If you currently spend, say £22,000 across two cards – hitting £10,000 spend targets on both cards, then you are putting at most £12,000 in the way of Amex. If you cancel the other card because you can no longer meet the spend target on both (and you decide that the BAPP is more valuable to you than the Barclays or Virgin) then you may well be putting £22,000 on your BAPP in future. So it’s an increase of £10,000 in your Amex spend, not just £5,000.

            At least, I guess that’s what they’re hoping.

  • David says:

    This is nothing short of scandalous. £10k to £15k spend on the BAPP is a 50% increase – 50%! I get fed up of posters saying this is ‘easily achievable’ or ‘justified as the original spend was 10k and inflation etc etc has changed the game. We are in a cost of living crisis and I do not want to HAVE to spend another 5k a year just because Amex decides it wants us to spend more on their cards at a time when most of us should be cutting back.

    Unless you are lucky enough to rack up lots of company expenses you can claim back, for the average consumer £15k is a real stretch. Many of us held the Amex and the Barclaycard, this will mean you’d have to spend £25k now to obtain both vouchers. What with the fee increase as well, and the near-impossibility of obtaining tickets on some popular routes, it gets really hard to make a good return out of it. I have been trying to book a popular route and when you think about how ridiculous it is that the advice is to phone a US call centre one year advance, book one leg and then have to wait x days to book the second leg with no guarantee of success, it’s a whole load of stress on top of the fees.

    Then there is BA’s seeming drive to make Avios more like an airline currency than a reward scheme, which apparently is attracting the gaze of HMRC so there may be further pain to come there as well. For the standard free card, it’s barely worth the bother as who wants to spend years saving up to travel long haul economy?

    For the fee of £300 this card should come with automatic Bronze status with a reduced silver point target, if not de factor silver status itself. Let’s face it, everyone has lounge access these days anyway, so it’s hardly the perk that is used to be.

    • Freddy says:

      Not sure if the bapp was suited for the ‘average consumer’ in any event. If your yearly amex spend is 10k pa then how long would it take to have enough for a redemption

      • Rob says:

        Er, that would be all those business travellers flying for work?

      • Roy says:

        But remember that for every 1 Avios you earn, Balance Boost allows you to buy 3 more at _very_ attractive rates – i.e. less than the 1p valuation that most of us apply. So take whatever number of Avios you think you can earn from credit cards plus flying, and quadruple it – that is the figure that you should be at, IMO.

    • Roy says:

      Free miles and points cards are rarely attractive IMO. They exist to satisfy those who would never pay a card fee.

      • Rob says:

        Correct, and also as a free top-up for someone who gets Avios via work and realises that the free BA Amex / Barclaycard are FAR better value than a reward card from John Lewis etc.

        • Josh B says:

          some of those also appear to believe that the ability to leverage work travel for personal benefit and a pair of cheap biz flights a year is a basic human right rather than a commercial enterprise…

    • Nick says:

      “wE aRe In A cOsT oF lIvInG cRiSiS” If this is how you feel then this card wasn’t suited to you even before the rise…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Should check out the Avios store plenty of opps to boost the Avios balance via everyday shopping.

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