Credit Cards & Avios

Below is my mini review of some of the top credit cards in market for collecting Avios – or in some instances, reward points – that can then be converted to Avios (or other airline reward programs).
There are a whole plethora of cards in market, but have limited this review to ones that are more obtainable for the average spender.

British Airways Avios Credit Cards

BA American Express Credit Card
This the most common ‘free’ Amex that links directly to your BA Executive Club account.

Pros: No annual fee. Earn 1 avios for every £1 spent. Work towards a 2-4-1 voucher (£20,000 annual spend)

Cons: APR isn’t great for a credit card if you aren’t paying it off straight away. £20,000 annual spend for companion voucher is likely unobtainable.

  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Welcome Bonus:
    5,000 Avios  (or 6,000 if you have been referred by an existing card holder) when you spend £1,000 within 3 months of opening card.
  • Spend Ratio:
    £1 : 1 Avios
  • Representative APR:
    22.9%
  • Things to consider:
    1. Spending £20,000 in a year from card opening triggers the 2-4-1 voucher. A benefit, but the annual spend is obviously very high. The Premium Plus Card may be a better option2. Cashback bonuses when joining via Topcashback (often £10 but does vary). This can be converted to Avios from Topcashback gaining a £1:100 Avios ratio. i.e. your £10 sign up cashback is worth a further 1000 Avios.
    The usual warning applies – you won’t be entitled to cashback if you have been referred. Don’t try to cheat the system, it won’t work and you risk not getting either bonus.
    Check the latest cashback rates here.

BA American Express Premium Plus Card
This is arguably the best card for rewards due to the high welcome bonus and comparitively low spend required to unlock the 2-4-1 voucher.

Pros: High welcome points bonus. Lower amount of annual spend required (£10,000) to hit the 2-4-1 voucher.

Cons: APR is painfully high. Value only gained by paying off payments straight away. Annual fee is also high.

  • Annual Fee:
    £195
  • Welcome Bonus:
    25,000 Avios  (or 26,000 if you have been referred by an existing card holder) when you spend £3,000 within 3 months of opening card.
  • Spend Ratio:
    £1 : 1.5 Avios or £1 : 3 Avios on bookings via British Airways.
  • Representative APR:
    76%
  • Things to consider:
    1. Spending £10,000 in a year from card opening triggers the 2-4-1 voucher. If you are able to hit this spend quickly and trigger the companion voucher you can then apply to downgrade from the Premium Card to the Free Blue version. The annual fee is then refunded back to you pro rata. So for example, if you did this after 6 months, you would only pay half of the annual fee of £195 (£97.50).
    Doing this is essentially like opening a new account, you would then actually be entitled to the welcome bonus on the Free Blue card you have downgraded to.
    2. Cashback bonuses when joining via Topcashback (often £40+ but does vary. As per above this offers an additional sign up bonus.
    Check the latest cashback rates here.

American Express Platinum Card
Very incentive rich card, with an annual fee to match. Note this is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card, so the balance you put on it must be cleared in full every month.

Pros: The highest welcome bonus across any Amex cards at 30,000 points (or 35,000 if referred). Loads of added perks, such as Lounge access, Hotel Benefits and Travel Insurance.

Cons: High annual fee of £450. Charge Card, not Credit, therefore balances have to be cleared in full every month. Average £ to Avios ratio given the high annual fee.

  • Annual Fee:
    £450
  • Welcome Bonus:
    30,000 Avios  (or 35,000 if you have been referred by an existing card holder) when you spend £2,000 within 3 months of opening card.
  • Spend Ratio:
    £1 : 1 Avios
  • Representative APR:
    n/a
  • Things to consider:
    1. Spending £10,000 in a year from card opening triggers the 2-4-1 voucher. If you are able to hit this spend quickly and trigger the companion voucher you can then apply to downgrade from the Premium Card to the Free Blue version. The annual fee is then refunded back to you pro rata. So for example, if you did this after 6 months, you would only pay half of the annual fee of £195 (£97.50).
    Doing this is essentially like opening a new account, you would then actually be entitled to the welcome bonus on the Free Blue card you have downgraded to.2. Cashback bonuses when joining via Topcashback (often £40+ but does vary. As per above this offers an additional sign up bonus.
    Check the latest cashback rates here.

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