American Express Gold v BA Premium AMEX
If you are new to the air miles game in the UK, you might find the selection of cards a little overwhelming. However if you want to earn big, it really comes down to a choice between the American Express Gold and the British Airways Premium card. This post gives you the rundown on both, so you can decide card which is best for you.
The American Express Gold card carries an annual fee of £140, whilst the British Airways Premium card charges £195 annually. However, Amex Gold waives their fee for the first year, so if you follow my churn and burn strategies, you will never pay a penny for this card.
Sadly, there is no way to avoid the BA fee.
Winner: Amex gold
Sign up bonus
The Amex Gold rewards members with a 20,000 sign up bonus after spending £2,000 in three months (22,000 if you use this referral link). The BA Premium card rewards with 25,000 (26,000 if you use this referral link), giving this card the slight edge over the gold card.
Winner: BA Premium Card
The BA Premium card is the hands down winner here. For every £1 spent, you earn 1.5 AVIOS, compared to 1 membership reward for the AMEX Gold. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a whopping 50% more!
In addition, for every £1 spent on British Airways, you earn a magnificent 3 AVIOS on the BA Premium card. The AMEX Gold offers no such uplift. Just 1 point for every £1
Winner: BA Premium Card
The BA premium card rewards holders with a companion ticket once they spend £10,000 in a year. Amex Gold has no such offer, and this perk is a gem! This voucher is what allows Jason and I to fly business for less than economy. Using only enough AVIOS for one flight, you can book seats for two people to travel. You still have to pay the extortionate fees and taxes, but this is the way to bag flights in Business and First for less than what you would pay for two flights in economy.
The AMEX Gold does not offer a companion voucher, but does offer access to Lounge Club. It also grants members two free passes to a lounge of their choice. I estimate the value of this to be at best £100, yet I have saved thousands using the companion voucher so that perk wins the day here. Plus, if you use it to fly in style, as I do, you won’t need Lounge Club access anyway. You will be sipping champagne in style!
Winner: BA Premium Card
The downside to the BA Premium Card, is that it can only be used to collect AVIOS, which can be redeemed in the OneWorld alliance. Furthermore, the companion ticket can only be used for redemptions with British Airways.
On the other hand, the American Express Gold membership rewards can be transferred to a variety of Amex airline partners. This provides much greater flexibility when you decide to redeem. Of course, without the companion ticket you may need many more points to book for two.
Winner: Amex Gold
Now, here’s the thing, if you pay off the balance in full each month, you don’t need to worry about charges. In fact, the AMEX Gold is a charge card, and therefore you MUST pay off the balance each month.
That said, the APR for the BA Premium Card is a whopping 76%, so you should always pay off the balance in full each month.
If you pay both in full each month, the situation is neutral. One downside might be that you have to pay off the AMEX Gold each month, but you really don’t want to allow a balance to remain on the BA card either.
Now this is a hard one to call. I would be likely to say the BA Premium Card by a tiny margin simply because I can save so much more money if I use a companion ticket to fly Club or First class.
But why choose?
However, in reality you don’t really have to choose. Using my churning strategy, to achieve maximum sign up bonuses, you could apply for the American Express Gold card now, satisfy the minimum spend and then close the account. Assuming you spend £1,000 a month, you could close the account after just two months. Don’t forget to transfer your American Express reward points before closing.
Churn and burn
Then you can apply for the BA Premium Card, satisfy the minimum spend and bag the sign up bonus. Once you have obtained the companion ticket, downgrade the card to Blue which is free. You will then obtain a partial refund of the annual fee. You can then continue using this card to accumulate points on a 1:1 basis until six months have passed since you closed the Gold account.
Now apply for another Gold, and earn a further 22,000 on their card. My churn and burn post (above) explains this in more detail.
I almost always have both of these cards on the go at one time. My husband and I regularly open and close the Gold account and refer one another before closing. This is how we managed to earn over 332,000 miles in a year. That’s enough AVIOS to fly First Class to any global destination!
Admittedly, if you think you are limited in what you can put on the cards, I recommend the BA card first, but if you can spend enough to achieve the sign up bonus on both cards, and earn the companion ticket, go for both.
What do you savvy bunch think?
Maybe you have one of these cards. If so, what do you think?