This article provides a full guide to the American Express British Airways Premium Plus (BAPP) credit card, the benefits it brings and how to maximise its value.
This review is the first in a series of several looking at UK credit cards and comparisons between them to give you an idea of which one is best suited to your needs, and how to maximise the benefits they bring to provide you with the most value. All articles can be found under the ‘Credit Cards & Air Miles’ tab on the menu bar.
What does the card offer?
Here are they key features of the BAPP credit card:
Annual Fee – £250
- 1.5 Avios earned for every £1 spent
- 3 Avios earned for every £1 spent on British Airways
- 1 ‘Companion Voucher’ per membership year upon reaching £10,000 spent
The companion voucher is valid for 2 years, and you must travel on the return leg before the date of the expiry. The voucher gives you a couple of different options depending on your preferences:
- Redeem the voucher as a reward booking on British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus airlines, and get a ‘2-for-1’ redemption, meaning that you get 2 tickets for the price of 1 Avios fare, plus carrier charges, taxes and fees.
- Redeem for a ‘solo traveller discount’, giving you the option to receive an Avios redemption of 50%.
What’s great about the companion voucher is that its applicable in any cabin – even first class!
Sign-up Bonus – 28,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of membership.
That’s enough for a full Avios redemption from London Heathrow to Athens in economy off-peak, with 500 Avios to spare (see below):
Cardholders also get travel insurance and inconvenience protection when travelling on journeys booked using the credit card. There are conditions that need to be met for this, so be sure to refer to your policy for more detail.
Purchase and refund protection also guarantees protection for eligible purchases using your credit card. An excess may apply so once again, refer to your policy.
Is it worth the annual fee?
For £250 pounds a year, it’s important to weigh up the benefits the card brings. For first time members, it’s worth noting that the annual fee is refunded on a pro-rated basis shoud you decide to cancel within your membership year.
For example, if you elected to sign up to the card to receive the welcome bonus of 28,000 Avios and cancel after 3 months, you would be refunded the remaining amount of £187.50 (what would equate to 9 months’ worth of membership fee).
It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to wait 3 months to receive the welcome bonus.
You receive this once you meet the threshold of £3,000 of eligible spend, so if you are already planning on a larger purchase such as a holiday, home renovation or other anything else, signing up to the credit card may be worth it just for that.
With the ability to convert Avios to Nectar points at roughly 0.8p per Avios, this means that the sign up bonus is worth an extraordinary £224! That alone covers most of the annual fee, leaving the companion voucher and various Avios collection methods free of charge for the first year.
Is there a cheaper alternative?
The BAPP is the paid-for ‘premium’ card that Amex offers for Avios collection. If you still feel that you cannot justify the cost of the card, there is a free version offered by American Express.
It carries less benefits but with the upside of no annual fee. You can read my review of it here along with a comparison between the two here.
What do I think of the card?
The BAPP is my go-to card for everyday spend, wherever the merchants accept American Express (if not, I opt for the Barclaycard Avios card, where I can stilll earn 1 Avios per £1 spent as it’s a Mastercard and more widely accepted).
Here in the UK we are not blessed like our American counterparts with incredible deals on membership reward points when shopping for groceries, buying petrol at the station, and so on.
With merchant fees capped due to regulation, American Express are less incluned to give such offers in the UK, making our choices less plentiful, and arguably easier.
Because of this, it makes sense to consolidate all your spending into a single, high-earning card such as the BAPP card.
In doing so, you can work towards achieving the companion voucher that, when used correctly, can be worth thousands of pounds! It’s one of the few ways you can land a long-haul first class return ticket for the price of an economy fare.
Personally, I have used the premium companion voucher to get a first-class return ticket from London to Dubai for as little as 68,000 Avios + £740! An incredible deal when considering that a cash fare can go for around £4,000 and I earned the Avios from simply using my credit card on my daily spending.
For a step-by-step guide on how to redeem a British Airways Premium Plus companion voucher, head to my guide on it here.
All in all I think the BAPP is an excellent credit card with unrivalled benefits for UK residents. For those who travel frequently, or would like to experience life in the skies in premium cabins for a bargain, it does not get much better than this card.
There are other options available for collecting Avios as well as other frequent flyer points. For more reviews, guides and comparison articles, head to the ‘Credit Cards & Air Miles’ section on the menu at the top.
Do you hold a BAPP or are thinking of getting one? What is the best companion voucher redemption you have managed to land so far? Let me know in the comments below.