Amex hikes fee on BA cards and makes changes to companion voucher scheme

American Express has raised the spending requirements for its popular British Airways credit card. Do the perks outweigh the costs?

American Express British Airways
(Image credit: Getty Images)

American Express has made two major changes to its popular British Airways cards which allows shoppers to collect Avios points to help pay towards flights. 

Amex has jacked up the fee for its British Airways credit cards plus raised the spending limit for companion vouchers. The changes are due to come into play in August this year for existing customers.

The companion voucher allows you to bag a second seat for a plus one on the same flight and cabin for no additional Avios points - all you have to pay is taxes and any other flight charges. 

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This is the first time the spending limit to earn a companion voucher has gone up since the program kicked off 20 years ago. 

Amex is popular for its credit cards dishing out Avios points on flights and helping holidaymakers make the most of their money. But with the new changes in the pipeline for cardmembers, we look at which Amex cards are going up in price, how the new offers stack up and if they’re still worth it. 

Which Amex cards are changing?  

Amex has made changes to two cards: 

  • British Airways American Express (BA Amex) 

This card will remain free, but you will have to spend at least £15,000 to earn a companion voucher - up from £12,000 (see below for more on how you can earn a companion voucher now). 

  • British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card 

The fee for this card will go up from £250 to £300 per year - a £50 increase. The fee change came into effect on 10 April 2024 for new cardholders and will be applied to existing cardmembers from whenever their next fee billing date is. You will have to spent at least £15,000 to earn a companion voucher - up from £10,000. 

Changes to the companion voucher 

With these cards, you can rake in Avios points and if you hit a spending limit each year, then you earn a Companion Voucher which can be used as a 2-4-1 with British Airways. 

Existing cardmembers get a companion voucher if they reach the minimum spending limit of £12,000 on the BA Amex Credit Card or £10,000 on the BA Amex Premium Plus Card. 

The new changes will apply to this companion voucher from 1 November 2024, where the minimum spend required to qualify for a companion voucher will change from the following:

  • From £12,000 to £15,000 for BA Amex Credit Card holders
  • From £10,000 to £15,000 for BA Amex Premium Plus Card holders 

Both cardmembers will have to reach the new spending target of £15,000 regardless of which card they own before their membership year ends. If cardholders have made purchases in the current year, it will count towards the new £15,000 target. 

For example, if your BA Amex credit card renews on 1 March, you will need to spend either £12,000 by 31 October 2024, or £15,000 by 28 February 2024 to earn your companion voucher. Then when your card membership renews, you will have to spend £15,000 each year.

An American Express spokesperson said: “From time to time we make changes to the terms of the Cardmember accounts” to “deliver incredible rewards, value and customer service”. 

“The Companion Voucher – which has seen numerous enhancements in the past 2 years - remains an industry-leading credit card benefit, and both Cards, with their ability to collect Avios through everyday spending, continue to provide great value for customers.”

Oojal Dhanjal
Staff writer

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money. Before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals. Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues. Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.