“ Type: American Express „
Ok so the title is a little simplistic, but essentially that's what using the card results in.
Go to the American Express website and apply for the this credit card. You'll be asked all the same sorts of questions that other credit card issuers ask. However as some of you may be aware American Express are a little less free and easy about giving cards out than the other major players seem to be. And as such you may need a fairly good credit rating before they accept you. If your rating isn't up to their standards (or you don't earn quite as much as they'd like) then they may offer you a card with a reduced credit limit, £700 for example. However, pay this off at regular intervals and even a small credit limit shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Ok, the benefits. Amex will give you 1 British Airways airmile per £1 spent. These 'airmiles' go to your BA executive club account (don't worry that's free to join too) and you'll steadily amass points as the months progress.
I must stress that you should only be using this card if you can pay off the full balance. If you allow late payments and interest to kick in, it defeats the object of 'getting something for nothing'. This is not a card that carries months of 0% interest on purchases or balance transfers - so don't prat about with it. Use it, get the points, then pay it off as soon as possible.
If you use it instead of your debit card for purchases and whatnot then you perhaps might get 800 points a month. Multiply that by 12 and you have nearly 10,000 points in a year. That's just an example, you will be able to amass more by spending more. As a slight aside you can add to these points by actually flying with BA, plus you can purchase more miles to take you to the next level. To give you some idea of the amount of points required - approximately 15000 will get you a return flight to Spain/Italy sort of distance (please see the BA website for more details). As an additional to that, I think you get an introductory bonus of a few thousand points to get you on your way.
I will say however that after a bit of research that you may want to save up your points for a long haul flight or maybe an upgrade option. The reason being that the free flights you get thanks to amassing the points don't include taxes and surcharges etc. So, once you've taken those into account, you may be able to pick up a cheap budget flight from an airport that's more local to you, for cheaper than your free BA one. Personally I'm saving mine up for a long haul trip.
Ok those are the extra benefits out of the way. What about the card itself? Shallow stuff out of the way first, it looks great. Striking blue with the famous British Airways logo at the top.
Using it isn't always trouble free. The issue is that not all establishments accept American Express so it can be frustrating when paying for a decent size purchase (and gaining the points obviously) to be told that they don't take the card. Most places do however so as problems go it's not immense. Having said that, I tried paying my electricity bill lately and they wouldn't accept it either - so it's not just small shops who don't like American Express.
Customer service, as you'd expect from a company based in America, is excellent.
I have had emails replied to efficiently and quickly. I have had to phone them on a couple of occasions and every time I have been helped, they've explained situations clearly and resolved the situation quickly. What's more is that they have UK based call centres. They seem to be placed in various areas of the country and it's pot luck which one you get through to. I'm in Leeds so thought they were regional when I called and got through to 'Asif in Leeds' - however the second time I called I got 'Simon in Brighton'.
Overall very good customer service. Oh and as an addendum - I don't have a landline so don't like being forced to call the 0800/0870/0845 numbers which banks and whatnot seem to prefer you use. Turn the card over and you'll see a number (a normal landline type number) for oversees callers to use. Use that and it gets you through to the same people at a fraction of the cost (that's if you're using a mobile to call in). This works for other companies too.
Online presence isn't quite as good. It's not awful but I would expect it to be better for a company of this magnitude. Yes it shows what you spent and where but it just doesn't seem to update that quickly. Yes you could say it's the weekend or some other reason, however my other online banks don't have that problem. Again, as problems go, it's not too bad, just irritating and a little frustrating. That said, if it really is an issue for you, you can just call them up and maybe get through to 'Barry in Solihull' who will tell you everything you need to know.
And as this is the end of the review I'll finish by saying again - IF YOU USE THIS CARD FOR THE BENEFITS, MAKE SURE YOU CAN PAY IT OFF AT THE END OF THE MONTH. Otherwise you'll be being fleeced in charges.