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The British Airways Visa Signature® Card lets you earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios.
Here’s the card’s signup bonus:
- 50,000 after $3,000 spend on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
25,000 after $10,000 total spend on purchases within your first year of account opening — for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios. (So this is $7000 additional spend on top of the first $3000 for 50,000 Avios.)
An additional 25,000 after a total of $20,000 spend within your first year from account opening — for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
I’d say an opportunity to earn a total of 100,000 Avios from the British Airways Visa Signature® Card with a $95 annual fee is one of the best deals out there right now, especially if you’re strategic with them.
One downside though is that like most non-U.S. frequent flyer programs, British Airways award redemptions incur fuel surcharges — generally the same amount that you would pay as part of purchasing a ticket. That’s why it often isn’t useful using miles for coach tickets, since fuel surcharges can be such a large part of a paid fare.
For premium cabin awards, especially first class awards, I’d argue that the fuel surcharges are worth it, I think of a first class award as a deep discount coach ticket that doesn’t earn miles, with a confirmed triple upgrade.
But there are things you can do to minimize fuel surcharges. And since that can save hundreds or even a thousand dollars on some award tickets it’s worth reviewing those.
- Fly US domestic economy. Just 7500 points each way on flights 1150 miles or less on American Airlines (when you find availability) and Alaska Airlines.
- US – South America flights have no fuel surcharges. Australia domestic is a great deal here, too. Japanese domestic flights can literally have $0 in taxes and fees.
- The fees are cheap for many destinations in Asia like Hong Kong (and North Asia generally).
Cathay Pacific Business Class. Short distance business class awards can be a value at twice the Avios cost as coach, and Hong Kong flights have very low surcharges.
- Open an Iberia Avios account as well. Transfer your British Airways points over to Iberia (one-to-one into an account that’s been open three months and has had some points activity). The fees are de minimis when using Iberia points to fly Iberia.
- British Airways partner Aer Lingus has really low charges.
- airberlin, a oneworld partner, does not add fuel surcharges onto their fares. So fly airberlin, which has an excellent transatlantic business class product.
- Remember to check whether two one-way awards are cheaper than a roundtrip. They often will be.