Amex & BA Master Thread

Old Dec 29, 09, 3:27 am
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Arrow Amex & BA Master Thread

This thread is for questions related to the BA American Express Cards that are available to people in the UK. (Sorry to all those US users of the BA Visa, but you never seem to generate enough questions! BA in Germany offer a Visa, in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland there are Diners Club cards - also available for corporate cardholders in the UK.

To summarise the benefits of the BA Amex cards, here is an updated extract from ‘The Ultimate BA Guide’ sticky:

There are two types of AmEx card current available:
Basic – no fee
Premium Plus - £150 annual fee

(The ‘middle type’ called Premium is no longer offered, but still valid for existing holders).

Miles earned
The Basic card will earn you 1 BA mile per £1 spent, the Premium Plus 1.5 miles (and historically the Premium 1.25 miles).

If you a Premium or Premium Plus card (but not the Basic) holder and purchase something from BA which appears as ‘British Airways’ on the credit card statement, these amounts will be doubled i.e. 2.5 miles per £1 for the Premium and 3 miles per £1 for Premium Plus – this applies to flights as well as Duty Free purchases onboard. You do not earn double miles when purchasing BA Miles online as these show on your statement as points.com, not British Airways.

It’s also worth noting that on Travelocity and Expedia at least, normal BA tickets appear on your card as 2 transactions; first as BRITISH AIRWAYS for the fare itself and then a second one for the site’s booking fee. These post with triple miles automatically ^ (Note this does not apply to special/negotiated fares such as ones which appear on Expedia as ‘Expedia Special’ from time-to-time).

The 2-4-1 voucher

The primary benefit of these BA AmEx cards is the voucher you get a voucher that offers you a second free ticket when you redeem your BA Miles for a flight. You need to spend £20K on the Basic, £15K on the (no longer offered) Premium, and £10K on the Premium Plus before you can get this. All of the spend must occur in one year. This is the year from the date of your AmEx card’s anniversary – not a calendar year.

However much you spend on the card, you can still only have one voucher every 12 months. If you’re really spending and it takes you three months to get to the £10K (for the Premium Plus), the next nine months of spend will NOT count to your next voucher, although you will continue to earn miles.

If you do spend heavily on the card, you may want to consider getting a separate (NOT a supplementary) card for your partner so that your household can generate two vouchers per year. You can then get a supplementary card in your name on your partners card, with the spend going towards their voucher and the miles into their account.

Using the voucher

The voucher is issued to you as soon as you hit the spend threshold, literally within a couple of days of your spending hitting the £10k / £20k level. A physical voucher will be posted to you, usually within a week of receiving the statement that put you over the spending threshold, but before that it will appear online in your BA account’s homepage. You will also receive an email from BA confirming your qualification. The physical voucher contains a numerical code which you need to give to BA when you ring up to book your flights (if booking offline).

So, once you get the voucher, what is it? Well when you redeem your BA Miles for a ticket, it will give you a second one for free. Simple as that! You still have to pay all the airport taxes and fuel surcharges for both tickets though.

As of July 2009, the voucher is valid for twelve months if issued on a Basic card and 24 months if issued on a Premium Plus card. This is a substantial improvement for Premium Plus card holders.

The expiry date is the NOT the last day for booking – it is the last day by which you must have flown ALL outbound segments of your trip. (The old trick of flying MAN-LHR and then doing LHR-BKK six months later will no longer work.) BA/Amex will also not extend vouchers any more.

Stopovers are allowed but do remember the voucher only applies to bookings solely with BA Miles. You can NOT use the voucher for:

Flights paid for with money – Miles ONLY
Part Cash / Part Miles – this means no MFU’s
Partner Airlines – BA Flights ONLY
oneworld Flights – BA Flights ONLY
Code-shares – BA Flights ONLY
Flights starting from outside the UK – the flight MUST originate in the UK

In the T&Cs it says you may not use it for flights operated by franchise partners. However, people have been successful in using it for this, notably, Comair in South Africa (though this is a mistake on the part of the booking agents not a valid exception).

You can now book your voucher flights online – there will be an additional option on the miles booking engine which lets you ‘pay’ for a flight with the voucher. Simply select this, set the number of travellers to ‘2’ and book away – once you find the seats you need, it will check the validity of the voucher matches that of the journey dates and quote you the total taxes/charges for two people and the miles for one person ^

Unfortunately, however, the online booking system only works for simple bookings (i.e. out and back to/from the same airport in the same class both ways) If you want to do something more complex (i.e. open jaw, mixed classes) you still have to call up BA. They levy a £15 per person charge on all mileage bookings made on the phone – this used to be waived just for Amex bookings but now you can book online (even if you can’t book what you want online ) they will charge you it again

Two other restrictions to keep in mind – your AmEx card must be valid at the time of travel (so you can’t cancel it after booking to save the annual fee for next year). Additionally, you cannot combine your AmEx voucher with a Gold Upgrade Voucher.

The T&C's for the Amex 2 for 1 voucher are here:
http://www.britishairways.com/travel...ntc/public/en_

The T&C's for the cards are here:
http://www10.americanexpress.com/sif...1,12707,00.asp

Who can travel?

If you are only redeeming one voucher, then the primary cardholder must travel. If you are redeeming two vouchers at once (this only applies to Premium Plus cardholders who can earn 1 voucher per year but have 2 years to use them) then – as long as both vouchers are redeemed at the same time – they can be used for the primary cardholder and three other people.

The Other Big Benefit – Travel Cover

Aside from miles earning and the voucher, another big benefit of the Premium Plus card is the travel cover it offers you – if you are travelling alone, it’s actually better cover than the Platinum/Centurion card. Here is a summary for the most-used issue (sadly) – lost/delayed baggage:

1. IF you booked the tickets (on any airline, not just BA) with your Premium Plus Card
2. AND your baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours (at your first/intermediate destination NOT on the way back home)
3. THEN you can spend up to £750 on purchasing ‘essential’ items (e.g. clothes, suit for a meeting, toiletries).
4. FURTHERMORE if the bag still has not turned up in 48hrs you can spend an ADDITIONAL £1,000 too.
5. PROVIDED that ALL purchases are charged to the Premium Plus card

For holders of the Platinum card, the cover kicks in after 4 hours not 6 BUT it’s only up to £300 and then a further £300 after 48 hours… (Centurion is £400 after 4 hours, then a further £400 after 48 hours). HOWEVER, both are per person on the booking so with several people it can work out better. Also, for these cards you do NOT have to have paid for the tickets on your Platinum/Centurion, you’re covered regardless.

Two further very important notes:

1. You MUST get the ‘Property Irregularity Report’ (PIR) from the baggage company when it first goes astray
2. You MUST get a date/stamp/confirmation from the courier/delivery person when the bag (hopefully) finally arrives with you (to prove the length of the delay)

Card Fees

There is no annual fee for the Basic card. The Premium Plus card carries a £150 fee. The serious mileage collector will usually take the Premium Plus card regardless, as the higher level of mileage earning cancels out much of the fee – i.e. spending £20,000 pa would get you 10,000 more miles on the Premium Plus card.

However, since the fee for the Premium Plus card went up to £150 and the basic card became totally free, this decision is not as clear cut as it used to be. Here is a rough guide to help you decide which is best:

a) If you and your partner can easily spend £20,000 pa on the card and only earn enough BA Miles to use one Amex 2-4-1 per year, then you may find the Basic card is good enough for your needs. Decide if paying £150 for the additional 0.5 BA Miles per £1, plus any initial sign-up bonus, makes the Premium Plus card worth it for you.

b) If you and your partner can easily spend £20,000 pa on the card but have so many BA Miles that you could happily use TWO Amex 2-4-1 vouchers per year, consider getting the Premium Plus card for yourself and a separate Premium Plus card for your partner. You then split your £20k annual spend between the two cards.

c) If you can easily spend £10,000 pa on the card but will struggle to hit £20,000, then get the Premium Plus card – at least you can be certain of triggering the 2-4-1 voucher after £10,000

d) If you cannot spend £10,000 pa on the card, then either don’t bother (get a BMI Amex instead since the miles go further!) or get the free Basic card and simply earn BA Miles without worrying about the voucher.

e) If you may struggle to use your voucher within 12 months of it being issued, you are better with the Premium Plus card because of the 24 month validity period.

Historically, holders of another Amex card, such as a Blue credit card, Green charge card, Gold charge card, found that the annual fee for the Premium and Premium Plus was reduced to £30 pa. This policy was abandoned in 2008 and now all new applicants need to pay the full fee regardless of what other Amex cards they hold.

Note you can get cash back when applying for most Amex cards, including the BA Amex, through sites such as quidco.com and greasypalm.com. Amex is also usually offering a sign-up bonus of a few thousand BA Miles for both the Basic and Premium Plus cards – see americanexpress.co.uk/ba for details of any current promotions. There is also usually an promotion for existing cardholders to refer a new member, with both the referrer and the referred member receiving a few thousand miles as a bonus – ask an FT’er to refer you.

Domicile

Your BAEC must be registered in the UK for you to hold the BA American Express card. If you move your account to a European address to benefit from the lower tier point thresholds, your card will be cancelled as soon as Amex attempts to make the next miles transfer. However, if you simply do not use your card during your time in Europe then you can retain it as long as you don’t use it.

With some planning, it IS possible to benefit from the European tier point thresholds and the Amex 2-4-1. You would need to squeeze your £10k on Amex spending into part of the year, and then (once the voucher is issued) move your BA account to Europe so it is EU registered when your membership year comes up for renewal. If this is too complicated, you may prefer to have your partner get the BA Amex on a UK BA account and then get a supplementary BA Amex issued in your name. This allows you to use the card day-to-day whilst having your own personal BA account domiciled in Europe.


The BA Corporate AmEx

There is also a BA AmEx Corporate Card available - full details can be found at http://corp.americanexpress.com/gcs/...oratecard.aspx. If you have your own business you may find this useful, or you may find that your employer gives you one. It earns miles at the rate of 1 mile per £1, and also accrues 50% bonus OnBusiness points for the sponsoring employer for BA flights booked using the card. Only BAEC accounts domiciled in the UK will receive miles - if you move your account to Europe you will no longer receive miles although, unlike the standard BA AmEx, your Corporate Card will not be cancelled.

Last edited by Shuttle-Bored; Apr 7, 10 at 5:02 am Reason: add little green arrow icon
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Old Jan 1, 10, 7:07 am
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paypal application and other questions

I just applied for a Paypal topup card. Went through all the peonal details and got as far as the topup funds screen, where it would not let me to top up using my BA Amex, only my bank account. It gave me a message something like you cannot top up using a credit card. Then off I came to FT to search for clues. Then it logged me me out, so now I cant see if the card had been aproved and will be sent to me, then will need to topup.

Does anyone know if I need to re-apply?

Secondly, why wont it let me topup from my BA Amex account? Option is there but greyed out, saying that I cant use a crdit card?

Sorry for grammar mistakes, keyboard on this PC is terrible.
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Old Jan 1, 10, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by arpiuk View Post
I just applied for a Paypal topup card. Went through all the peonal details and got as far as the topup funds screen, where it would not let me to top up using my BA Amex, only my bank account. It gave me a message something like you cannot top up using a credit card. Then off I came to FT to search for clues. Then it logged me me out, so now I cant see if the card had been aproved and will be sent to me, then will need to topup.

Does anyone know if I need to re-apply?

Secondly, why wont it let me topup from my BA Amex account? Option is there but greyed out, saying that I cant use a crdit card?
It is a security issue. I assume you haven't had a PayPal account before? Give it a few days and see what happens.

Go into PayPal and set up the process of 'verifying' your credit card. (PayPal charges a few pence to your card and puts a code on your Amex statment. Input this code into PayPal to confirm you own the card.) This may also open it up.

I also got this message once, despite having done numerous card top-ups. Next day it had gone and all was normal. PayPal is a weird beast.
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Old Jan 1, 10, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
It is a security issue. I assume you haven't had a PayPal account before? Give it a few days and see what happens.

Go into PayPal and set up the process of 'verifying' your credit card. (PayPal charges a few pence to your card and puts a code on your Amex statment. Input this code into PayPal to confirm you own the card.) This may also open it up.

I also got this message once, despite having done numerous card top-ups. Next day it had gone and all was normal. PayPal is a weird beast.
Weird beast? Definitely it is.

Thanks Raffles. Forgot to say in my initial post, that I have had the paypal account for years, am Verified and a Premier account, whatever bells and whistles that comes with. So not sure what's happening. I will listen to your advice and wait a few days.

Still not sure if the top up card was processed or not, despite not topping up. Where do you log on to see? Will it be the main paypal account screen or a hidden link?

Thanks again
a
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Old Jan 1, 10, 10:59 am
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FWIW I topped up yesterday hoping it would appear as 2009 - preparing for HMRC payments in January. The amount is already in the account but showing as 2010 (so I may have to use a debit card to pay some of the tax, but that's my fault for not making the transfer sooner).

This has showed up much earlier than previous top-ups, so it does seem that things run smoothly after a while.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 6:04 am
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Once you have a 241 voucher, do you have to keep the Amex card until you use it? What happens if you move abroad and they automatically shut your Amex account down?

Also, OH's Amex is just shy of the £10k so we are retiring it for now and swapping to mine. Can I 'attach' my Amex card to his paypal top up card, or do I have to open my own? (We have different surnames if that matters). I can apply for my own, it would just be quicker and easier to keep using his.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by pboae View Post
Once you have a 241 voucher, do you have to keep the Amex card until you use it? What happens if you move abroad and they automatically shut your Amex account down?

Also, OH's Amex is just shy of the £10k so we are retiring it for now and swapping to mine. Can I 'attach' my Amex card to his paypal top up card, or do I have to open my own? (We have different surnames if that matters). I can apply for my own, it would just be quicker and easier to keep using his.
Amex will not shut your card down if you keep a £0 balance on the day you move and do not make a single transaction - ie do not do anything which would result in miles going to or from your BA account. This includes not refunding anything. I can personally verify this. (That said, I had used my 2-4-1 for the year by that point so I had nothing at risk if they had closed the card.)

Not sure about the PayPal quesion.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 8:54 am
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Thanks, that's handy to know if I do have to keep it open.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 2:25 pm
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Plat Card

Out of curiosity .....

If you are in the middle of a trip and BA announces a strike, can you simply ask Amex Plat concierge service to "sort the problem out" for you assuming it's redemption and 241 ie flights back extra accomodation dates etc. I assume they have a financial interest in that they provide delay / cancellation insurance.

Anyone any experience?
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Old Jan 5, 10, 3:37 am
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Ash - Master Thread on actual rebooking/cancellation experiences

You can obtain a prepaid card at the following link

www.prepaidfinancialservices.com

Once purchased you will not incur a booking fee with Ryaniar.

Cards are available in 3 currencies (Euro, USD and GBP)
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Old Jan 5, 10, 4:07 pm
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Amex 2 for 1 Question

Please could someone tell me if the Amex 2 4 1 voucher which is sitting on my account will be ruled worthless if I move my BAEC to Europe?

If I book a ticket ahead of moving the account, will the ticket still be valid? (I may well have moved my BAEC back to the UK before the flight)

Many thanks in advance
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Old Jan 6, 10, 1:02 am
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You should be fine, because Amex won't cancel your account if have a £0 balance when you move and you keep it at £0 until you come back. The card is therefore kept open. (This was my experience, YMMV).
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Old Jan 6, 10, 2:12 pm
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Thanks Raffles,

Does anyone know what happens if you have a Amex 2 4 1 voucher on your BA account when you move to Europe? Does it disappear / is it no longer valid?
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Old Jan 6, 10, 2:16 pm
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You'd probably be OK. If you tried to redeem it whilst abroad, you must use an Amex to pay the taxes so you'd need a 2nd Amex card (of any sort) as using the BA card would trigger points which would trigger cancellation.
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Old Jan 6, 10, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
You should be fine, because Amex won't cancel your account if have a £0 balance when you move and you keep it at £0 until you come back. The card is therefore kept open. (This was my experience, YMMV).
I don't think that I stopped spending on the card soon enough, so although there is no balance on the card this month, I am expecting miles to hit the BAEC account once my account is in Europe. Oops.

I understand the BA Amex will be cancelled - how do I get it back when I return to the UK? Anything else I should look out for?
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