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How has the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card become more rewarding?

The high annual fee of £250 puts many people off the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card. However, changes to the AVIOS redemption options now mean that even if you choose to use your companion voucher to fly economy class, you can easily recoup the cost of the annual fee. Read on to find out how the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card has become more rewarding.

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Use your credit card to travel more and save big!

British Airways American Express Premium Plus card

In recent years, British Airways have changed their redemption options to allow you to reduce the taxes and fees if you use more AVIOS. This means that you can now book flights at a relatively modest cash price in economy and the savings on one flight alone can cover the cost of the annual fee.

Economy class reward flights

For instance, British Airways offers the following options for an economy reward fight to Las Vegas:

  • 70,000 Avios per person and £150 in taxes and fees or;
  • 60,000 Avios plus £ 300.00
  • 50,000 Avios plus £ 420.00
  • 40,000 Avios plus £ 500.00
  • 27,000 Avios plus £ 580.00
  • 17,500 Avios plus £ 660.00

Savings on economy class reward flights

The cheapest flight on Kiwi is £1,011 so the 70,000 AVIOS fare saves you £861. This works out at a value of 0.0123p per AVIOS. The equivalent figures for the remaining options are:

  • 60,000 Avios plus £ 300.00 (overall saving of £711 equal to a value of 0.0118p per AVIOS)
  • 50,000 Avios plus £ 420.00 (overall saving of £591, equal to a value of 0.0118p per AVIOS)
  • 40,000 Avios plus £ 500.00 (overall saving of £511, equal to a value of 0.0127p per AVIOS)
  • 27,000 Avios plus £ 580.00 (overall saving of £431, equal to a value of 0.0159p per AVIOS)
  • 17,500 Avios plus £ 660.00 (overall saving of £351, equal to a value of 0.020p per AVIOS)

If you use your companion voucher, you will pay double the taxes but the same number of AVIOS for two people. You would therefore pay 70,000 in Avios and £300 in taxes. This saves you £1,722 giving you a value of 0.0246p per AVIOS.

Save money on economy class flights using your rewards
Use AVIOS to save money on economy flights

Business class reward flights

These rates definitely look more attractive than redemptions analysis I have done in the past. https://frommilestosmiles.com/avios-redemptions/ Here are the same potential cost savings for Club class.

The same flight to Las Vegas in Club Class needs 150,000 AVIOS plus £852.64 or;

  • 135,000 Avios plus £ 1,192.64
  • 112,500 Avios plus £ 1,582.64
  • 90,000 Avios plus £ 1,972.64
  • 84,000 Avios plus £ 2,122.64
  • 75,000 Avios plus £ 2,242.64

Savings on Club class reward flights

The cheapest direct fare on Kiwi is £3,003 with British Airways. If you use 150,000 AVIOS and pay the taxes of £852.64 you will save £2,150.36. This works out a value of 0.0143p per AVIOS. The equivalent figures for the remaining options are:

  • 135,000 Avios plus £ 1,192.64 (overall saving of £1,810.36 equal to a value of 0.0134p per AVIOS)
  • 112,500 Avios plus £ 1,582.64 (overall saving of £1,420.36 equal to a value of 0.0126p per AVIOS)
  • 90,000 Avios plus £ 1,972.64 (overall saving of £1,030.36 equal to a value of 0.0114p per AVIOS)
  • 84,000 Avios plus £ 2,122.64 (overall saving of £880.36 equal to a value of 0.0104p per AVIOS)
  • 75,000 Avios plus £ 2,242.64 (overall saving of £760.34 equal to a value of 0.0101p per AVIOS)

As you can see the best option is the highest AVIOS and lowest taxes and fees combo. If you use a companion voucher to pay for two it costs the same amount of AVIOS and double the taxes. You now save £4,300.72 giving a whopping value of 0.286p per AVIOS.

Dice in a cocktail glass in Las Vegas
Use your AVIOS to book flights to Las Vegas

Economy or Club class

It still looks marginally better value to use your AVIOS for business class when you compare the value per AVIOS. However, there is much better value to be had now in economy if you simply compare the potential savings on your flight with the cost of the card.

I am quite pleasantly surprised by this outcome. With inflation in double figures and people desperate to travel after two years of restrictions, using your AVIOS rewards to fly economy looks more appealing. As you can see from the above, even one flight will recoup the cost of the annual fee, although you obviously need to spend a substantial amount to earn the AVIOS.

If you sign up for my newsletter however you will learn lots of tricks for earning more points in the starter series of emails.

Travel planning using a credit card
Get ready to travel on the cheap!

Other things you need to know

Given that economy class redemptions look more attractive than they have for a while, you may conclude that you should opt for the British Airways American Express Credit card and save the £250 annual fee. However do not be fooled.

Although you will be able to achieve the same savings as those shown above, it will take you much longer to acquire the AVIOS.

With the British Airways American Express Premium Plus, you earn a better sign-up bonus, and more AVIOS per £1. The standard sign up bonus is 25,000 when you satisfy the minimum spend requirements but if you use this link, you will earn 26,000. By comparison, the British Airways American Express Credit card offers a paltry 5,000 bonus when you satisfy minimum spend.

Plus, you reserve the option to fly in any class should you wish to travel in style. Here are the other factors which highlight why you should still pay the annual fee for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus.

American Express Card comparison

British Airways American Express Premium Plus card British Airways American Express Credit card Comments

Earnings rate

1.5 AVIOS per £1

3 AVIOS for any £1 spent on BA flights or holidays

1 AVIOS per £1 To earn 70,000 AVIOS, you will need to spend £65,000 on the British Airways American Express Card compared to £29,333 on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card assuming you qualify for the sign up bonus

Annual fee

£250 per annum £0

Sign up bonus

25,000 when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of membership** or 26,000 if you use this British Airways American Express Premium Plus link 5,000 when you spend £1,000 in the first 3 months of membership** Considerably more attractive for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus

Companion voucher

Get a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 in a year on the Card.

You can use the voucher to take a companion with you in the same flight and cabin or, if travelling solo, a 50% discount on the Avios price.

You can redeem vouchers in any cabin.

Get a Companion Voucher when you spend £12,000 in a year on the Card.

You can use the voucher to take a companion with you in the same flight and cabin or, if travelling solo, a 50% discount on the Avios price.

You can redeem vouchers in economy only.

As you can see you get more value on some of the Club class

Companion voucher validity

24 months from issue 12 months from issue

Referrals

9,000 for every friend that signs up that you refer 4,000 for every friend that signs up that you refer

** Note, you will not be eligible for this bonus if you have held a British Airways American Express card at any time in the last 24 months.

A couple travelling with a suitcase
Use your companion ticket wisely

Companion ticket warning!

That extra years’ worth of validity on the companion voucher may make all the difference as to whether you actually book a reward flight. You often need to book 355 days in advance to get reward flight availability so if you do not plan ahead there is a strong possibility you may fail to use your ticket at all losing the value of this perk.

With the British Airways American Express Premium Plus, 24 months gives you a much better chance of redemption which means you double the value on your AVIOS.

Final thoughts

It is safe to say that American Express have been tightening the screws on AVIOS rewards in recent years, but you can still get good value using the cards. The £250 fee on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus is worth it in my opinion as it gives you more valuable perks. Note also if you cancel the card part way through a year you get a pro-rata refund of that fee. More on that next time though….

I would love to hear your thoughts though so feel free to comment in the box below.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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