This article is part of a refresh of our reward credit card reviews. Over the next few months, I’ll be revisiting, adding to and updating all of our in-depth credit card features. You can read the current series here.
There are two British Airways credit cards issued by American Express that allow you to earn Avios points from your day-to-day spending.
- British Airways American Express Credit card – Free
- British Airways American Express Premium Plus card – Paid
This article focuses on the paid version.
An updated review of the free card will follow next week. (You can find my previous review here).
You will receive 25,000 Avios upon spending £3,000 in your first three months of card membership.
This is a boosted offer with the regular bonus on this card being 18,000 Avios. In the past, Amex has run a higher offer on the BA Amex cards for relatively short promotional periods. Interestingly, this raised bonus has now been available for almost a year and you wonder whether this is now a permanent offer.
Where can 25,000 Avios take me?
After completing the minimum spend and triggering the sign-up bonus you will be sitting on at least 29,500 Avios*.
If you are new to Avios, I recommend taking a look at our complete guide to the Avios scheme here.
The points earned from this sign-up bonus alone, are enough for return flights to New York, Dubai or Bermuda. They can also secure you return Club Europe tickets to the likes of Malaga, Rome or Prague using the excellent Reward Flight Saver scheme.
You could also choose to redeem your Avios via BA’s Oneworld partners, which offer some of the most lucrative ways of using them.
Here’s an example of business class flights with American Airlines from New York to Miami:
Miami can be a very tricky destination to pick up business/first class availability using miles. New York, with so many direct flights a day, is considerably easier. You could choose to use your 2-4-1 voucher (more on that below) to book return flights to New York and then book separate tickets on to Miami.
Business class for just 15,000 Avios and £4 one-way is a bit of steal.
*Based on 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus plus £3,000 spend required to trigger bonus, earning a minimum of 1.5 Avios per £1 = 29,500 Avios.
2-4-1 Companion Voucher
I have no qualms saying this voucher holds the key to keeping this card in the long-term. Use it right and it can be worth thousands of pounds – fully justifying the annual fee.
It allows you to book two Avios reward flight redemptions, for yourself and a companion, only requiring enough miles in your account for one.
The 2-4-1 companion voucher is awarded upon spending £10,000 on your Premium Plus card in a card membership year.
For example, you could book return business class flights for two people to New York for just 100,000 Avios* instead of the regular 200,000 Avios that would be needed.
The voucher earned on the Premium Plus card is valid for two years. The two-year validity is probably a good enough reason to take out this card rather than the free BA card which only offers a voucher with a one-year validity.
There is no doubt in my mind that if you are able to put through the £20,000 on the free BA card required to trigger the voucher, you would be better off if both you and your companion were to each get this card. You could then put £10,000 of spend through on each one thus earning two vouchers.
Overall, this is the most lucrative perk for ongoing credit card spend in the UK travel credit card market bar none.
Day-to-day earnings rate
You will earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on your card.
You will also receive 3 Avios per £1 for purchases made directly from British Airways.
If your focus is collecting Avios, this card offers the best rate for accruing these points directly via credit card spend.
Following the closure of the Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card to new applicants, the British Airways Premium Plus card also happens to offer the most generous ‘airline miles per £1 spent’ ratio in the UK.
This card carries a £195 fee.
Like all Amex-issued American Express cards, the card fee is refundable on a pro-rata basis should you choose to cancel your card at any point during the year.
This is a feature unique to American Express.
Representative 76.0% APR variable. Based on annual fee of £195 and assumed credit limit of £1,200. Interest rate for purchases: 22.9% p.a. variable.
Am I eligible for the welcome bonus?
You are eligible for the sign-up bonus UNLESS you hold or have held one of the two British Airways American Express cards in the last six months.
You WILL still receive the sign-up bonus on this card if you hold/have held either of the Gold or Platinum charge cards, SPG card, Platinum Cashback card, Nectar Card or any other Amex issued by Barclays, Lloyds, TSB or MBNA.
Amex will generally allow you to hold two of their charge card products and two of their credit card products at any one time. Platinum and Green are the other charge cards available while credit cards include the two British Airways cards and the Nectar credit card.
The above isn’t a hard and fast rule. I’ve held the British Airways Premium Plus, Starwood and Nectar credit cards at the same time without issue. It is one to be aware of though, as some have reported being declined for cards after exceeding those limits in the past.
There are NO minimum income requirements to be eligible for any cards issued by American Express. That restriction was removed a number of years ago.
This card performs strongly on all fronts and personally is a mainstay in my wallet for the following reasons:
- The 2-4-1 companion voucher has huge value and is the best perk currently available in the UK travel credit card market for ongoing spend.
- The day-to-day earnings rate is the best available from any UK credit card if your earning preference is Avios points.
The current sign-up bonus is also an excellent way of earning a large chunk of Avios points to boost your balance.
How do you value the British Airways Premium Plus card?
Disclaimer: The information provided by Tricks of the Trade is intended solely as a helpful guide to relevant travel rewards card products and their various features and offers. You should always conduct your own research as recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.
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