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Review: the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card

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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: £250 annual fee

The representative APR is 113.1% 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.

This article was updated on 1st January 2024, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

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.

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.

Any other benefits?

Very much so!  When you spend £10,000 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.

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.

I attempted to calculate the value of the British Airways American Express companion voucher in this article.

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.

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 £250.

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 after 29th February 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 after 29th February 2024 but the exact date is not yet know.

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. The fee is virtually the same and you earn 1.5 Avios per £1. Both have a 25,000 Avios bonus. Both trigger a voucher after £10,000 of annual spend. Mastercard is accepted more widely than American Express.

The key difference is 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes 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


The sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios 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 £10,000 make the most valuable package on the market for your long-term spending as long as you are confident of hitting the £10,000 target. If you won’t spend £10,000 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 (39)

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

  • s879 says:

    *sorry meant ‘link to upgrade’.

  • dominic says:

    Personally I don’t value to 2 for 1 as much as I used to. I used one of mine recently and was downgraded , I suspect because it’s a cheap option to downgrade a 241 rather than a cash passenger. They also make it extremely difficult to claim reimbursement once they have downgraded you and mislead you and fob you off at every stage. Fortunately a few people on the forum have explained my rights to me but it seems I’m going to have to go all the way to CEDR in order to get the reimbursement I’m due

    • JDB says:

      It’s a little odd in that per CEDR scheme rule 2.1.1 downgrade reimbursement isn’t specified as being one of the airline issues they can consider – just denied boarding, cancellation and delay so unless it is caught under 2.1.5 or BA agrees to arbitration of the issue, it might be necessary to go to MCOL.

  • flyforfun says:

    “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”

    For some reason I thought it was almost ANY AMEX card. So if I want to swap to the free Gold card, should I open that up first and then cancel the BAPP? Then what free card can I sit on for a year after that? I’m earning point on the Barclaycard in the mean time.

    • Rob says:

      You won’t get a Gold bonus but you can do that, then do a year of the free Amex Rewards. You are then 2 years in and able to get a new BAPP bonus.

      • flyforfun says:

        Is there a plain old Amex I could swap to for a year and then go to the gold for the bonus and then go back to the BAPP, or do I need to leave completely for a year or two to get a bonus. I hate to say I’m kind of sentimental of my 30yr+ “member since” status! 😀

        • Rob says:

          No, because you can’t get the Gold bonus if you’ve got any other personal Amex.

  • John says:

    Question – my partner signed up to the £70k deal on 26th Jan and has since spent his £3k, but has received nothing into his Avios account. Is this typical and, if not, is it Amex or BA to call to complain please? Appreciate any help. Thanks and happy Easter!

    • Rob says:

      Bonus should trigger immediately you pass the spend target (ignoring the annual fee). What does the bonus countdown indicator say?

      If nothing has been dropped in – as opposed to the standard 35k – this would suggest that they have had a BA Amex in the previous 24 months are are disqualified from the bonus.

      Another possibility would be that some transactions don’t count towards the bonus, eg casino / gambling, ATM withdrawals etc.

  • jonny says:

    Is one eligble for this if they’ve had a BA business card within 24M? Or is it only personal that counts? thanks

  • NR says:

    I got the 70k bonus when that went through – is it worthwhile waiting around to get the companion voucher?

    • Rob says:

      If you’ve got a companion, yes. And even if you don’t, a solo traveller gets a 50% Avios discount.

  • Polly says:

    My partner and I have both received the 70k bonus. I’ve cancelled my card and will use his to trigger companion voucher.

    During cancellation chat, Amex indicated:
    – If you have earned a British Airways Companion Voucher, please be aware that Companion Voucher bookings must be made using the British Airways Card they were earned with. This is set in the Terms and Conditions on the Companion Voucher. Cancelling this Account may mean you are unable to redeem your Companion Voucher.

    does it mean my partner can’t cancel his card until we use the companion voucher?

    • Rob says:

      That is a lie. It’s what the rules say, but it is not enforced. Online any old Amex is fine. If you call to book you may get some pushback but I’ve never seen anyone refused for using another Amex.

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

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