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  • masaccio 740 posts

    What Amex cards can I hold and still start the 2 year timer to get the sign up bonus for another BAPP? Reason being when me and OH agent our 241s this year, I plan to cancel our BAPP cards but I will want to spend those within the 2 years and I understand that I need an Amex card in our names.

    Normally I don’t bother cancelling, but I plan to try and get Qatar to Oz and there’s no way we’ll accumulate enough Avios for that plus 2 long haul 241 redemptions given we travel school holidays and need to book way in advance.

    Maples 223 posts

    You should be fine to use any non-BA card, so it’s just the free BA card you can’t have. Someone else can confirm for you if you need a particular card but I think any Amex card is fine.

    You could get the free MR card to still get MR points for Avios or Gold card if you make use of Deliveroo credit.

    SteveJ 991 posts

    You need an Amex card. Any amex card. Doesn’t have to be your name, doesn’t have to be your address. Consider if there is some other way you can meet the above criteria. That way you can have a 2 year break from ALL Amex to maximise your options (Barclaycard a good option in between).

    Other than that, as Maples says, an no BA card you’ll be fine for a BAPP in 2 years. If you want an Amex the Platinum CC has an enhanced SUB right now.

    Biki 118 posts

    Or get the nectar card and you can still get BA and the platinum card bonus’s when 2 years have passed?

    JDB 4,532 posts

    You need an Amex card. Any amex card. Doesn’t have to be your name, doesn’t have to be your address. Consider if there is some other way you can meet the above criteria. That way you can have a 2 year break from ALL Amex to maximise your options (Barclaycard a good option in between).

    Other than that, as Maples says, an no BA card you’ll be fine for a BAPP in 2 years. If you want an Amex the Platinum CC has an enhanced SUB right now.

    I assume you must have an inside track to be quite so definitive about this. You may not be wrong today or tomorrow, but the past in the credit card world isn’t necessarily a good guide to the future and we have seen a great many of these dodgy activities being shut down at short notice across the industry.

    The BA Amex voucher upgrade/downgrade charade is the cause of a growing number of complaints of conflict of interest and unfairness so nobody should be advised that it is a permanent route without some risk.

    SteveJ 991 posts

    @JDB no one is talking about upgrades and downgrades. This is about card cancellation.

    JDB 4,532 posts

    @JDB no one is talking about upgrades and downgrades. This is about card cancellation.

    Yes, I was aware of that, but actually the terms are even more against you on cancellation rather than downgrade. In either scenario, any advice you purport to offer should either be more nuanced or based on specific knowledge of how this issue will be treated in the future.

    SteveJ 991 posts

    Ok @JDB

    The real risk is remaining loyal to a faceless credit card provider for a long term and missing out on opportunities as a result. It’s no different to not shopping around for insurances when it’s time for renewal IMHO.

    But I like loyal customers, they help subsidise the rest of us.

    Reney 781 posts

    My fav card to reset the timer is nectar, it doesn’t (based on current rules) interfere with Plat or BAPP SUB. It is only £25 per year which is cheaper than the marriott card and still earn avios (indirectly), and stops my nectar points expiring. I think it actually earns more points per £ than the BA blue card. Otherwise the free plat cashback card is an alternative.

    JDB 4,532 posts

    Ok @JDB

    The real risk is remaining loyal to a faceless credit card provider for a long term and missing out on opportunities as a result. It’s no different to not shopping around for insurances when it’s time for renewal IMHO.

    But I like loyal customers, they help subsidise the rest of us.

    While I don’t discern being loyal as a risk, you hit have the nail on the head – the current subsidy will cease as it has various aspects that are increasingly untenable.

    masaccio 740 posts

    Thanks all. Glad to hear there are a few options.

    Matt 342 posts

    “cause of a growing number of complaints of conflict of interest and unfairness”

    By whom? To whom?

    I don’t disagree that everything is subject to change, or even that Amex might be pissed off and want to clamp down in some way. But other than your complaints on here I’m not sure who else is complaining?

    JDB 4,532 posts

    “cause of a growing number of complaints of conflict of interest and unfairness”

    By whom? To whom?

    I don’t disagree that everything is subject to change, or even that Amex might be pissed off and want to clamp down in some way. But other than your complaints on here I’m not sure who else is complaining?

    I’m not sure why you would wish to put your hand into this hornet’s nest – presumably you have some ulterior motive, but it’s difficult to identify. Anyway, thank you for the invitation.

    I am one of close to a hundred people who have complained to Amex about their acquiescence to the absurd upgrade/downgrade process and the selective failure to enforce terms relating to this or those who cancel their BAPP cards. Any sensible person who pays the full fee, now £250/year, should urgently be writing to the new UK Country Manager to complain and seek an explanation as to why the firm offers the voucher at up to a c. 90% discount to a minority willing to abuse the product, effectively subsidised by the full fee payers and one of the reasons for the fee increase in the first place. Affected cardholders should also be seeking a fee rebate. The voucher is a valuable commodity and we now see a growing number of complaints about how difficult it is to use, so handing out say just 1500 extra ones p.a. (i.e. 3000 premium seats) for almost no fee is highly detrimental to the regular fee payer but also palpably ridiculous.

    While people here are very quick to wave the ‘unfair’ flag when firms even vaguely infringe their rights are you unable to see that giving the voucher to a small group of dodgepots at a massive discount is unfair to the majority and sets up a conflict of interest between cardholders – breaches of FCA Principles 6 and 8. It isn’t entirely clear why Amex allows people to do this year after year but the ineluctable conclusion is that it is somehow in their or BA’s interest, but as it cannot be in the majority of cardholders’ that sets up the second conflict of interest. Amex facilitates this as a fairly seamless process allowing spend to be carried over from the free card (contrary to the terms of the BAPP) usually keeping the same card number, the pro rata refund etc. etc.

    There is another big problem – the management of a regulated firm instructing its customer service agents to advise cardholders wishing to cancel or downgrade that their voucher will be downgraded, it can’t be used without the card that earned it etc. while that same management is simultaneously briefing its friendly partners who happily pass on that any old Amex will do, even that of a friend, that the voucher is guaranteed safe etc. That is untenable.

    My original comment related to the definitive advice someone provided about this problem based on zero knowledge of how things will develop. Anyone who wishes to advantage themselves at the expense of the majority needs at least to be aware that things might change. One could also hope that people might also appreciate the anti social nature of their actions, but greed is a powerful motivator.

    JDB 4,532 posts

    “cause of a growing number of complaints of conflict of interest and unfairness”

    By whom? To whom?

    I don’t disagree that everything is subject to change, or even that Amex might be pissed off and want to clamp down in some way. But other than your complaints on here I’m not sure who else is complaining?

    I’m not sure why you would wish to put your hand into this hornet’s nest – presumably you have some ulterior motive, but it’s difficult to identify. Anyway, thank you for the invitation to explain.

    I am one of close to a hundred people who have complained to Amex about their acquiescence to the absurd upgrade/downgrade process and the selective failure to enforce terms relating to this or those who cancel their BAPP cards. Any right minded person who pays the full fee, now £250/year, should urgently be writing to the new UK Country Manager to complain and seek an explanation as to why the firm offers the voucher at up to a c. 90% discount to a minority willing to abuse the product, effectively subsidised by the full fee payers and one of the reasons for the fee increase in the first place. Affected cardholders should also be seeking a fee rebate. The voucher is a valuable commodity and we now see a growing number of complaints about how difficult it is to use, so handing out say just 1500 extra ones p.a. (i.e. 3000 premium seats) for almost no fee is highly detrimental to the regular fee payer but also palpably ridiculous.

    While people here are very quick to wave the ‘unfair’ flag when firms even vaguely infringe their ‘rights’, are you unable to see that giving the voucher to a small group of dodgepots at a massive discount is unfair to the majority and sets up a conflict of interest between cardholders – breaches of FCA Principles 6 and 8? It isn’t entirely clear why Amex allows people to do this year after year but the ineluctable conclusion is that it is somehow in their or BA’s interest, but as it cannot be in the majority of cardholders’ interests, that sets up the second conflict of interest. Amex facilitates this as a fairly seamless process allowing spend to be carried over from the free card (contrary to the terms of the BAPP) usually keeping the same card number, the pro rata refund etc. etc.

    There is another big problem – the management of a regulated firm instructing its customer service agents to advise cardholders wishing to cancel or downgrade that their voucher will be downgraded, it can’t be used without the card that earned it etc. while that same management is simultaneously briefing its friendly partners who happily pass on that any old Amex will do, even that of a friend, that the voucher is guaranteed safe etc. That is untenable.

    My original comment related to the definitive advice someone provided about this problem based on zero knowledge of how things will develop which is never a good idea.

    Scott 248 posts

    @JDB, it’s clearly an issue you feel strongly about, having mentioned it on a number of occasions.

    While I don’t think Amex would be unreasonable in insisting that the full year’s membership fee must be paid in order for the voucher to remain valid, the term that seems really unfair to me is the one saying the card used to earn the voucher must be the one used to pay the surcharges on redemption.

    Given the voucher is trumpeted as having a two-year validity, this means paying 3 * £250 to get full benefit from the voucher. Leaving aside the upgrade/downgrade/cancellation question, do you consider that this term, if enforced, would be treating customers fairly?

    Scott.

    ed_fly 229 posts

    @jdb “Amex facilitates this as a fairly seamless process allowing spend to be carried over from the free card (contrary to the terms of the BAPP) usually keeping the same card number, the pro rata refund etc. etc.”

    As someone pointed out the other day The Amex website has specific guidance re upgrading from BA blue to BAPP “8. If you have already reached the £10,000 spend threshold, you may receive a Companion Voucher that is valid for 12 months, rather than 24 months. If you would like to extend the validity of the Companion Voucher to 24 months, please contact British Airways customer service directly and they will look into extending the validity of the Companion Voucher for you.”

    So in that sense, I assume (and I don’t currently have any skin in this game) that Amex would be required to fulfill the implications of that to those who are upgrading.

    In terms of the holding the card the voucher was eared upon until travel is completed. The wording at any rate could benefit from some tightening up, as there is definite room for interpretation, re being a “cardmember” (holding one of the BA cards) at point of travel, as opposed to holding the particularity BA card the voucher was earned upon.

    What would you’re take be on how the t&c’s would apply to someone who earned a voucher on the blue card, and upgraded to BAPP prior to travelling on the £12k, economy only, voucher. Is your view that they would not be eligible? Based on the wording in the t&c’s?

    JDB 4,532 posts

    @ed_fly that’s an interesting question! The wording of the terms is incredibly poor even though it has been slightly changed in recent months that make it better for upgraders/downgraders than cancellers who are in clear breach and thus entirely reliant on the ‘blind eye’. More specifically on your Q the terms of the voucher per Amex (not the BA ones) seem to make your scenario OK whereas the terms of the BAPP make it clear you need to spend the £10k on that card so the transfer from the free card is a concession, not a term. None of that shouid make the whole process more acceptable. If more cardholders knew, they would be up in arms. Doing it once might be OK but annually and people expecting that as of right?? When I comment on this issue, it is in response to people giving false reassurance that all will be fine forever which is very unhelpful. Best to say nothing and for people not to post about doing it if they want to continue the scam.

    ed_fly 229 posts

    @jdb fully agree that no-one should be certain that what is ‘allowed’ today, in terms of upgrade/downgrade, not having a BA card at point of travel, using any Amex to pay etc will still be possible in the future.

    memesweeper 1,269 posts

    @jdb “Amex facilitates this as a fairly seamless process allowing spend to be carried over from the free card (contrary to the terms of the BAPP) usually keeping the same card number, the pro rata refund etc. etc.”

    Amex might consider stopping doing the upgrade-and-keep-the-spend thing — but if it means the free card is an attractive “gateway” to the paid card it might be in Amex’s interest to carry on with the policy, even if a small minority game the system. But to stop the process wouldn’t be tricky.

    The pro-rata refund seems fair to me, and Amex do it on all their products (according to @Rob, a global policy). The refund has caused me to sign up for Amex products I might not have done (and then kept then for far longer than I imagined, just as Amex hopes suckers will). Stopping the pro-rated refund could easily cost Amex more than it saves.

    However, demanding that the card remains live in order to use the companion voucher — and is indeed the card used to pay the fees — is not only technically difficult, as it requires coordination with BA, it is almost certainly going to run foul of law and regulation. I’m not even sure the current rule — that you have to use any Amex — would stand up to scrutiny from a regulator, given the non-trivial amount of money YQ on a family redemption long-haul in club is, the YQ is just invented by one of the parties to the agreement at will, and the far, far better rates available for borrowing on non-Amex cards. And it is not a reasonable term, IMHO. I would certainly challenge it if I was on the wrong side of enforcement of it.

    Amex could also institute a 24 month rule for account openings and changes within the BA Avios family of cards (not just on the SUB). But this would — I imagine — involve some conversation with, and agreement of, BA. Would pretty much close the door on abuse I imagine.


    @JDB
    , you seem motivated by the belief that, if some people game the system, and get a benefit for less spending, things end up more expensive or less beneficial for everyone who doesn’t. This is a fallacy in the context of these products and incentives.

    A much more practical concern, affecting millions more consumers than the receipt of some (possibly useless probably valueless) upgrade vouchers, is that the funding of things like S75 protection for the wealthy who smartly pay off their cards in full each month is, effectively, paid for by the borrowing costs imposed on poorer members of society (plus some absent minded ones). Did you write to your MP about the uneven cost burden this regulation places on lenders and consumers? Because it’s several orders of magnitude more significant than who does or doesn’t get some stupid BA upgrade vouchers.

    Matt 342 posts

    “cause of a growing number of complaints of conflict of interest and unfairness”

    By whom? To whom?

    I don’t disagree that everything is subject to change, or even that Amex might be pissed off and want to clamp down in some way. But other than your complaints on here I’m not sure who else is complaining?

    I’m not sure why you would wish to put your hand into this hornet’s nest – presumably you have some ulterior motive, but it’s difficult to identify. Anyway, thank you for the invitation to explain.

    I am one of close to a hundred people who have complained to Amex about their acquiescence to the absurd upgrade/downgrade process and the selective failure to enforce terms relating to this or those who cancel their BAPP cards. Any right minded person who pays the full fee, now £250/year, should urgently be writing to the new UK Country Manager to complain and seek an explanation as to why the firm offers the voucher at up to a c. 90% discount to a minority willing to abuse the product, effectively subsidised by the full fee payers and one of the reasons for the fee increase in the first place. Affected cardholders should also be seeking a fee rebate. The voucher is a valuable commodity and we now see a growing number of complaints about how difficult it is to use, so handing out say just 1500 extra ones p.a. (i.e. 3000 premium seats) for almost no fee is highly detrimental to the regular fee payer but also palpably ridiculous.

    While people here are very quick to wave the ‘unfair’ flag when firms even vaguely infringe their ‘rights’, are you unable to see that giving the voucher to a small group of dodgepots at a massive discount is unfair to the majority and sets up a conflict of interest between cardholders – breaches of FCA Principles 6 and 8? It isn’t entirely clear why Amex allows people to do this year after year but the ineluctable conclusion is that it is somehow in their or BA’s interest, but as it cannot be in the majority of cardholders’ interests, that sets up the second conflict of interest. Amex facilitates this as a fairly seamless process allowing spend to be carried over from the free card (contrary to the terms of the BAPP) usually keeping the same card number, the pro rata refund etc. etc.

    There is another big problem – the management of a regulated firm instructing its customer service agents to advise cardholders wishing to cancel or downgrade that their voucher will be downgraded, it can’t be used without the card that earned it etc. while that same management is simultaneously briefing its friendly partners who happily pass on that any old Amex will do, even that of a friend, that the voucher is guaranteed safe etc. That is untenable.

    My original comment related to the definitive advice someone provided about this problem based on zero knowledge of how things will develop which is never a good idea.

    I was asking purely out of interest about who on Earth was complaining, and who they were complaining to. You’ve certainly answered that!

    Do you by any chance know all of the “close to a hundred people”? Sounds like a fairly dull dinner party. I’ve complained to a reasonable number of companies and never been told “oh yes, you’re the 73rd person to have complained about that”

    SteveJ 991 posts

    @Matt you didn’t get the memo? We’re all meant to trust implicitly that @JDB has inside knowledge of the Financial Services complaints industry based on their undisclosed profession.

    Say what you like about Amex’s systems, if anyone has ever spoken to anyone in BA IT they know their system “enhancement” to do list is an embarrassment. Credit Card name verification is not even within the realms of something they will be trying to attempt in our lifetime.

    The other potential risk is Amex work with BA to retract unused vouchers when a card is cancelled. Another one not high on BA’s list to facilitate.

    NorthernLass 7,965 posts

    If financial institutions want to clamp down on practices which lose them money, that’s up to them, Amex is obviously fully aware of its own policies. It’s been clear for some time now that there are people mining these forums for this kind of information to feed back to them!

    JDB 4,532 posts

    If financial institutions want to clamp down on practices which lose them money, that’s up to them, Amex is obviously fully aware of its own policies. It’s been clear for some time now that there are people mining these forums for this kind of information to feed back to them!

    This isn’t about Amex necessarily losing money it is about their covert practice of supplying the enhanced BAPP to free cardholders for a fairly nominal sum (card fee for a short period and forgone Avios) when most people have to pay £250. Obviously this is something you consider fair, but I’m not sure how many full fee payers would agree if they became aware of the issue. Amex should either offer the facility officially or reimburse people.

    As for the BA name check you have mentioned before and also cited by others above, you are barking up the wrong enforcement tree.

    NorthernLass 7,965 posts

    I don’t view this in terms of fairness or otherwise, that’s down for the card companies to decide, frankly. I do find it bizarre that people spend their time getting angry at and lobbying banks etc to change their policies in respect of a handful of customers they are fully aware of. I’ve been a full fee payer on the BAPP for 12 continual years but I don’t waste my time and energy resenting that fact – there is genuine suffering in the world to be alleviated way beyond those who choose to use their credit cards in different ways.

    You also say:
    **”There is another big problem – the management of a regulated firm instructing its customer service agents to advise cardholders wishing to cancel or downgrade that their voucher will be downgraded, it can’t be used without the card that earned it etc. while that same management is simultaneously briefing its friendly partners who happily pass on that any old Amex will do, even that of a friend, that the voucher is guaranteed safe etc. That is untenable.”**
    I have to smile at this as it sounds very much like a criticism of the people who actually run this site! But do enlighten me if I have totally misinterpreted this.

    I’ve no idea what the “BA name check” is though!

    memesweeper 1,269 posts

    This isn’t about Amex necessarily losing money it is about their covert practice of supplying the enhanced BAPP to free cardholders for a fairly nominal sum (card fee for a short period and forgone Avios) when most people have to pay £250. Obviously this is something you consider fair, but I’m not sure how many full fee payers would agree if they became aware of the issue. Amex should either offer the facility officially or reimburse people.

    It’s not covert, it’s been extensively written about here. Amex choose not to publicise it, which is a long way short of covert. Lots of products are offered at different prices to different customers. Many would not consider this “fair” in the common sense of the word (my sister, for instance, thinks all airfares should be fixed per route as price gouging at school holiday times “isn’t fair”). If we managed to create an entirely fair system of pricing financial services and travel products I would need a new hobby and @Rob would need a new job!

    As for the BA name check you have mentioned before and also cited by others above, you are barking up the wrong enforcement tree.

    I can’t comment on what is proposed for a proposed future enforcement mechanism for the rule, but I think requiring a “live” Amex BAPP to use the companion voucher would fall foul of legally “fair” contract terms; and requiring to be actually used for paying the ludicrous YQ is even less likely to be deemed acceptable, if not in consumer protection law, but by regulation.

    Along with others, I think any enforcement that requires an IT change at the BA end is vanishingly unlikely to happen unless the required work has been in train for > 1 year already.

    ℹ️ Full disclosure: I no longer hold a BAPP or any other personal Amex, I do hold a companion voucher in my BAEC, and I have no plans or expectations of using the voucher due to high additional charges. IANAL.

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