Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

This is our review of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards‘ area in the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: British Airways American Express Premium Plus application form

Review British Airways BA American Express Amex Premium Plus credit card

Key facts: £300 annual fee

The representative APR is 139.9% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 31.0% variable.

Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.

About the BA Premium Plus card

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus card is issued directly by American Express. This analysis is focused on the paid version of the card – I reviewed the free British Airways American Express credit card in a separate article.

What is the BA Premium Plus sign-up bonus?

You receive 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within three months.

A higher bonus is occasionally available via ba.com to logged-in members of British Airways Executive Club so check there before applying.

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?

The BA Premium Plus sign-up bonus is only available to customers who have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus American Express card in the previous 24 months.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits including the 2-4-1 companion voucher.

Review British Airways BA American Express Amex Premium Plus credit card

Any other benefits?

Very much so!  When you spend £15,000 in a card year, you receive a companion voucher entitling you to book two Avios redemption flights for the miles of one. This voucher is valid for two years.

This sum is reduced to £10,000 until 1st November 2024.

The voucher can be used on:

  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • Aer Lingus

This voucher is the most valuable perk available in the UK airline and hotel credit card sector in my view. It could save you 150,000 or more Avios when used for a long-haul redemption in a premium cabin.

If you are a solo traveller, you can use the voucher to get a 50% discount on the Avios required for a flight for one person..

On British Airways, vouchers get you access to a wider pool of Club World long-haul business class seats than other Avios members. This should make them substantially easier to redeem for Club World flights.

Note that taxes and charges are due at the standard rate on all tickets booked with a companion voucher. The discount only applies to the Avios element.

The voucher will show in ba.com within 3-4 days of passing the £15,000 spend threshold.

To summarise the key benefits of the voucher:

  • you get ‘book one, get one free’ when you book two Avios seats in any cabin, although the full taxes and charges are due on both
  • alternatively, a solo traveller can get a 50% Avios discount on one return ticket (there is no discount on the taxes and charges)
  • you can fly on British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus
  • extra British Airways business class seats are made available to people redeeming a 2-4-1 voucher which are not available for other Avios users
  • you have two years to travel after receiving your voucher
Review British Airways BA American Express Amex Premium Plus credit card

What is the BA Premium Plus Amex annual fee?

The BA American Express Premium Plus card has an annual fee of £300.

You will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee if you cancel. Amex will be removing the ability to obtain a pro-rata refund at some point in late 2024 but until then (the exact date is not yet known) you can cancel for a refund of your unused months.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on the card.

You receive double Avios (3 per £1) when booking flights or holidays directly with British Airways.

What is an Avios point worth?

How long is a piece of string!

This article is my best attempt to calculate the value of an Avios point. You should target 1p to 1.75p per point.

Is the BA Premium Plus Amex a good card to use when travelling?

As Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.)  One option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than Amex charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more about Currensea by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

Review British Airways BA American Express Amex Premium Plus credit card

Other points to note about the BA Premium Plus Amex

If you have the Premium Plus card, you can downgrade to the free version at any time and get a pro-rata refund. You may want to do this if you have triggered your 2-4-1 voucher but not yet redeemed it, and do not want to continue paying the annual fee.

This ability to get a pro-rate fee refund when downgrading will be removed at some point in late 2024 but the exact date is not yet known.

You can apply for the card with a minimum personal income of just £35,000. This is low for a premium credit card.

Is this card better than the £240 Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard?

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched a premium Avios Mastercard (apply here) with a generous sign-up bonus:

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

This is fundamentally the same package as the Premium Plus American Express card. You earn 1.5 Avios per £1. Both have a 25,000 Avios bonus. Both trigger an annual voucher (£10,000 of spend with Barclaycard, £15,000 with Amex). On the upside, Mastercard is accepted more widely than American Express and the Barclaycard annual fee is £60 lower.

The key difference is in the terms of the annual voucher. The Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard gives you an annual upgrade voucher for an Avios flight on British Airways. You can upgrade a return flight for one person or one leg of a return flight for two people. Read our Barclaycard Avios Plus review for the full terms.

For most couples, the British Airways Premium Plus American Express will be more valuable than Barclaycard Avios Plus. The 2-4-1 voucher is more valuable than an upgrade voucher.

Importantly, remember that even if you do get the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, nothing stops you also getting Barclaycard Avios Plus and then cancelling it once you have the 25,000 Avios bonus. If your credit card spending is high enough, you may want to get and keep both cards.

What is best Visa or Mastercard to use alongside the British Airways Premium Plus American Express?

American Express is widely accepted, but not everywhere takes it.

We recommend the brand new FREE Barclaycard Avios Rewards Mastercard to use where American Express is not accepted:

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 apply for the Barclaycard Avios Rewards Mastercard here.

How else can you earn Avios points from an Amex card?

Don’t forget the less obvious options.

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is FREE for the first year. These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

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

The American Express Platinum credit card usually offers 40,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up. These convert to 40,000 Avios points. It has a £650 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios on the British Airways Premium Plus card is an excellent offer especially as the card fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel during the year.

The higher sign-up bonus – plus the 50% higher earning rate on your spending – makes the Premium Plus card better than the free BA Amex card, at least for the first year. Remember that the 2-4-1 voucher on the free card can only be used on Economy flights, however.

In terms of on-going earning, 1.5 Avios points and the 2-4-1 voucher when you spend £15,000 make this the most valuable package on the market for your long-term spending as long as you are confident of hitting the £15,000 target. If you won’t spend £15,000 on the card each year then the value of the Avios earned will not cover the annual fee.

Solo travellers can also now benefit from the 2-4-1 now that British Airways has started allowing vouchers to be used for a 50% discount on one ticket. If you are a solo traveller, you should also consider the upgrade voucher that comes with the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard.

The application form for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (71)

  • Imag says:

    I’ve got the 241 voucher on my card. Is there anything to stop to cancelling my card getting my pro rata refund and getting my wife to open the card to achieve another 241?

  • Paul says:

    Have just earnt my 241 voucher and used it to book a flight to Asia next year. About to cancel card for a pro-rata refund and understand there is no risk to my booking from doing this. One minor query re that pro-rata refund…text taken from article…. “You may want to do this if you have triggered your 2-4-1 voucher but not yet redeemed it, and do not want to continue paying the annual fee.” I don’t understand the point about “but not yet redeemed it”…? Why is that relevant? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      You need AN Amex to redeem your 241 voucher, to pay the taxes. No need to pay £300 per year for the privilege of that Amex being a BAPP Amex.

  • john says:

    Does the 60k BAPP offer that several have mentioned on the thread include the usual rule about not holding any personal Amex for the previous 24 months?

  • Vit says:

    Hi Rob, a bit late to this article but was hoping you may be able to provide some insight.

    Currently, £40 short of £10k. Plan to upgrade to BAPP start of October, as anniversary card year is 14th Oct, and trigger the BAPP Amex voucher. A bit concerned about pro-rata if I leave it to sept/oct, or better lose out a few month of longer expiry date and upgrade/trigger the voucher now?

    Thanks so much.

    • Rob says:

      I’d suggest the key driver is when you plan to use your voucher. If you’re 99% certain you’ll use it within 18 months – and not end up going to the full 2 year window – then no reason not to trigger now.

      • Vit says:

        Thanks Rob and as far as I read in the forum we can still cancel to set up 24 months clock once voucher is within BAEC?

  • ElSemm says:

    My BA account showed the 60k bonus expiring 11th June. Unfortunately wasn’t eligible until next week when my 24 months are up. Think I’ll hang on in the hope a larger bonus comes along again. Any ideas when?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.