Is British Airways’ Prepaid Debit Card a Game Changer?

Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.

British Airways Executive Club has quietly launched a prepaid debit card that allows cardholders to earn Avios.

You can earn:

  • 1 Avios for every £2, €2 or $2 you spend
  • 1,500 bonus Avios when you spend £500, €500 or $500 in your first 90 days

The card will be free for the first six months – after that, you will pay £2.99 per month.

How do I apply?

To be eligible for the card you must be

  • be over 18 years of age
  • be a UK resident
  • be a member of the British Airways Executive Club
  • hold a valid debit card, which is registered against a UK bank account

You can only apply for the card if you can:

  1. Download or open the British Airways Executive Club Rewards app in the App Store or Google Play. You log in with your British Airways Executive Club details
  2. Select the Mastercard icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of the British Airways Executive Club Rewards app
  3. Follow the instructions and wait 10-12 business days for the card to be delivered. Once the card arrives, you should link the Mastercard to your Executive Club account and load some GBP from your attached UK debit card.

Sounds like a manufactured spend paradise…

Not so fast…  You cannot earn Avios on these types of transactions.

  • on your monthly card fee;
  • on any means of digital electronic payment method (including but not limited to Bitcoin or casino money);
  • on payments of rent for residential or business premises;
  • on Payments for Court Costs, including Alimony and Child Support;
  • on Payment of Fine;
  • on Bail and Bond Payments;
  • on Tax Payments to the HMRC

I am sure that some enterprising readers will find an MS route that earns Avios on this card. But it’s also worth noting that the direct link to your British Airways Executive Club account could also get you into some hot water…

Is it worth it?

At £3 per month, you will likely want to earn 300+ Avios per month to compensate.  This means spending £600, €600 or $600 each month.

That doesn’t sound like a difficult hurdle to meet. But you would of course earn far more Avios, Membership Rewards points, Marriott points, etc. from putting that same day-to-day spend through an American Express card.

You might also have no-annual/monthly fee cards that earn you cashback, hotel points, etc.  and alternative ways of spending foreign currencies cost-effectively. (Curve, Wise, Revolut, etc.)

Exactly how will Foreign Exchange work?

Your prepaid Mastercard will have 3 different e-wallet currencies – GBP, EUR and USD. However, you can only top up in GBP.

You are highly incentivised to keep a balance in all three currencies. If you don’t have a sufficient balance in the correct currency, you will be charged a 1.5% conversion fee.

Perhaps the most important factor yet to be determined is whether you can convert from one currency to another at the actual mid-market exchange rate. (and whether there is a monthly cap on this)

For example, my Revolut card allows me to convert money between currencies at the actual mid-market exchange. (with a monthly cap on the amount that can be exchanged fee-free) Other so-called “no fee” options – such as Curve – actually use the Mastercard FX rate, which has a hidden commission imbedded in it.

Bottom line

Although the concept is intriguing, there are many similar options available to the “fintech”-savvy. And since those options come without a £3 monthly fee, it might be a struggle to make the numbers add up. But I suspect that some of you might try…  😉


Let us know your opinion in the comments section…


  1. Mark says

    Experience so far has been poor. My application was held up for several weeks due to a KYC problem, but they did not contact me, nor was it to easy to get my application off hold. Now that I have been using the card, I have not received my bonus (yet) for spending more than £500.

    To cap it all, I have just been charged the £2.99 monthly fee even though I have only had the card for 3 months!

    Seems to be impossible to contact anyone by email who can sort this out. Shockingly bad customer service.

    • Patrick says

      Very similar experience. There is a “Chat to us” facility hidden in the FAQ section, but it doesnt seem to work.

      I am now back to the bank to ask them to reverse the monthly fee charges

    • ShazBr says

      It says in their gump, you won’t receive the bonus 1500 airmiles till you’ve had the card 90 days. An incentive for lasting the distance no doubt. 🙄

  2. ShazBr says

    Yesterday used card in Euros for 1st time, downloaded to GBR wallet, it didn’t immediately say it was successful so tried again, it said it was successful, I converted it to Euros, it said that was successful too. I paid my bill in Euros. Both attempts to transfer money had gone through leaving me with some extra €s. Then I went in to pay my hotel, I transferred into GBP wallet then converted to €. Payment went through. But I was charged a foreign exchange fee of £10 for taxi and £100 for hotel. It also said it had needed to do a sweep of my wallets to get the money (this gives them a reason to charge 1.5%) in addition when processing my £500 in €, it said it would take a few seconds to complete but took all day and a friend told me their system was down it was down. Trouble is I can’t find a way of complaining about the money they took.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *