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How Best To Upgrade To The British Airways Premium Credit Card

Lately, a number of people have asked me about an upgrade to the British Airways Premium Credit Card from the British Airways standard card. There’s several reasons why this is not a good idea but I’m going to give you the pros and cons of each option in today’s post so you can make an informed decision.

The blue British Airways Credit Card is pretty useless

Unless you are prepared to be super flexible, and can spend £20,000 on a credit card, the British Airways blue card or standard card is pretty useless. Yes, you can earn AVIOS, but unless you want to wait years before you have enough points to fly business class you really need a companion ticket.

You have to spend £20,000 on this card to earn your voucher, and then it is only valid for 12 months. I’ve heard far too many stories of people earning the blue companion ticket only to not be able to redeem it within the measly expiry period. If you want to know exactly why I think this card is a waste of time, you can read the full post here.

Upgrade options

So, assuming you have decided to take the plunge and opt for the British Airways Premium Plus Card, what’s the best way to go about it?

Option one: Direct upgrade

You can call American Express directly to ask for an upgrade. This is the easiest option, however the big downside is that you miss out on the attractive sign up bonus.

However, any spending on the blue card counts towards the minimum spend for a companion ticket on the Premium Credit Card. Let’s assume that you spent £6,000 on the blue card, to secure a companion ticket you would need to spend a further £14,000. If you upgrade directly with British Airways, you would only need to spend a further £4,000 to meet the minimum spend of £10,000 for the companion ticket on the British Airways Premium Credit Card. That companion ticket also lasts for 24 months.

Pro: spending carries over to the upgraded card

Con: you miss out on a potential 26,000 sign up bonus if you use this referral link to sign up and spend £3,000 within three months.

Option two: Indirect upgrade

The indirect upgrade method allows you to get an immediate British Airways Premium Credit Card and still earn the sign-up bonus.

It does however, require that you have a significant other with whom you intend to travel when you use the companion ticket

In this scenario, you simply cancel the blue card and instead apply for a British Airways Premium Credit Card in the name of your spouse or partner. You can still have a card each, providing your other half applies and opts for an additional card for you.

This will allow you to earn the sign-up bonus of 26,000 (use this referral link or you will only earn 25,000) when you spend £3,000 within three months.

You will not be able to carry over any existing spend in this scenario, but let’s consider the above example. If you upgrade your card, you only have to spend an additional £4,000 to get the companion ticket. However, if you get the black card using this method, you will have to spend £10,000 on the card.

However, £4,000 spend would earn you 6,000 AVIOS whereas the £10,000 spend would earn 41,000 including the sign-up bonus. That extra 35,000 AVIOS can make a huge difference!

Pro: you earn an extra 35,000 AVIOS when you spend enough to earn a companion ticket.

Downside: you need to spend more to achieve the companion ticket, but it’s a damn sight easier to spend £10,000 per annum on a credit card than £20,000.

Option three: opt for Gold AMEX

If you are determined to get the sign-up bonus on the Premium Credit Card, and want the card in your name, you can simply cancel the blue card. You will then need to wait six-months before you can reapply for a British Airways Premium Credit Card. This leaves you in a pickle, as you don’t want to waste six-months of potential AVIOS earning.

During that period however, you could apply instead for the AMEX Gold Card (use this referral link to earn an extra 2,000 points). This gives you a total sign of bonus of 22,000 when you spend £2,000 within two months.

computer and travel map
Planning your travel with an upgrade to British Airways premium credit card

You can retain this card for the six-month waiting period before you can apply for the British Airways Premium Credit card. Essentially AMEX allow you to reapply for the same cards multiple times but only with a six-month break between cancellation and the new application.

You will earn one membership reward point for every £1 spent on the Gold AMEX, which is the same as you would earn on the blue card. At the end of the six-month period, cancel the Gold Card and apply for the British Airways Premium Credit Card. This way you can earn 22,000 plus 26,000 AVIOS I’m sign up bonuses.

Read more about the AMEX Gold Card:

Is American Express Gold The Best Air Miles Credit Card In The UK?


Which Is The Best Airmiles Credit Card In The UK?

My recommendation

For maximum AVIOS and maximum redemption potential, I would go for option three. Clearly, you will need to take into account any specific plans you have for redeeming AVIOS and plan accordingly, but this gives you the opportunity to earn the most AVIOS.

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


  1. This is not really correct. If you are already a client of Amex (BA Amex for example) and you apply for Gold Amex, you won’t get the bonus cause you have been an Amex client in the past 24 months.

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