6 Reasons to Get the British Airways Visa

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British Airways Visa Signature® Card

The 100,000 Avios signup bonus offer is back, and I have a real soft spot for it because this was the very first card ever to offer such a big bonus.

Here are 6 things that I love about the card — you may be surprised to learn that it goes beyond just the signup offer, although of course that’s number one.

  1. Earn up to 100,000 Avios: The card’s offer is set up to encourage you to get the card, earn points, spend more on it and earn a lot more bonus points.

    You get 50,000 Avios after $3,000 spend on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Then you get another 25,000 after $10,000 total spend on purchases within your first year of account opening — for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios. (This is $7000 additional spend on top of the first $3000 for 50,000 Avios.)

    Finally there’s 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.

    That sounds like a lot of spending to earn the full bonus and frankly it’s a great card to get even if you were going to stop at 50,000. However most people don’t realize how much they spend on credit cards each month, or do the math to multiply that out across a year.

    It’s also much easier to put a lot of spend on a credit card than you may realize – put all your spending on credit cards (even rent, car payments using Plastiq), prepay your bills, quarterly taxes, reimbursable business expenses for instance. And the reason it’s worth it to focus here is because of the ways to leverage the offer.

  2. Use for Short-Distance Flights Flights up to 1150 miles each way cost 7500 Avios in economy, or 15,000 Avios in business class. Premium cabin awards on American Airlines, where available, are now considered business class. And you can still fly Los Angeles – Hawaii for just 12,500 Avios each way in economy.

    I love booking intra-Asia business class awards on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific that are short distance, and indeed flights up to 650 miles outside North America cost just 4500 points each way in economy and 9000 in business.


    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.

  3. First Class Upgrades on British Airways Upgrades from business class to first class cost just the miles of a coach award ticket with no cash co-pay. I’ve even upgraded British Airways sale fares booked using the AARP discount.


    British Airways First Class

  4. Spend $30,000 in a Year on the Card, Double the Effectiveness of Your Points: $30,000 in spend each year earns a ‘Travel Together’ companion award ticket which allows you to book two passengers on an award ticket for the mileage price of one award. (You still pay taxes and fees for both passengers, but you stretch your points because you only pay miles for one.)

    Travel must originate in or return to the US. The person who earns the voucher (the visa cardholder) must be one of the passengers on the award ticket. And only flights on British Airways aircraft may be used on the award with regular award space available for both passengers.

    Earn the card’s full bonus and spend $30,000 in your first year on the card and you’ll have both 130,000 British Airways Avios and a Travel Together ticket. That’s more than enough for two passengers to fly roundtrip business class between New York, DC, or Chicago and London for instance.

    There aren’t many card offers that can be leveraged into two roundtrip business class transatlantic tickets with a single bonus.

  5. Family Pooling of Points: British Airways offers family accounts, you can combine points from up to 7 different accounts and spend them all together towards a single award (which can then be leveraged further with a Travel Together companion award).

    You and a partner could each get the card. After meeting the minimum spend for to earn the full bonus on each card, you’d have a total of 240,000 Avios. Even though these are split between two different accounts, you can spend them on one award ticket as though they were in a single account if you link the accounts together.


    British Airways First Class

  6. Anecdotally Easy Card to Get Approved For: Chase doesn’t appear to exclude customers who have had 5 or more new card applications within the past 24 months from being approved for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.

    So it’s a Chase card that you can get, and it makes it one of the easiest Chase cards to get approved for.

British Airways like most frequent flyer programs outside the US does add fuel surcharges to awards,
though they’re cheaper to some destinations (like Asia, South America) than others (Europe). They don’t add close-in booking fees to awards so using their points can be cheaper than using American AAdvantage miles, even leaving the number of points required aside.

If you don’t have enough points from this card alone, you can transfer points to top off a British Airways account at one-to-one from a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which is offering 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months plus 5000 points for adding a (no fee) authorized user to the account and making a purchase within that same timeframe. These points can be transferred instantly once earned.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. I have been one of the very few fans of the Travel Together cert but the recent increases in surcharges by BA TATL in J and F ex-us ($14xx and 18xx respectively) have pretty much killed it even for me (it was only just, sometimes worth it for me in F prior to the increase). Now not worth it at all. Maybe there is some edge case out there where it makes sense but I think for the vast majority of folks it doesn’t make sense.

  2. @ Gary — The Travel Together certificate is a ripoff with the fees. More generally, US-Europe premium awards with BA Avios are ripoffs (all the Travel Together does is make it less of a ripoff, but it is still a ripoff). One should not waste $1 of credit card spend to get this “benefit”.

  3. I absolutely love that one of the first things you say is that you have a soft spot for the card because it was first with a 100k bonus. Really? Soft spot? Nostalgia gets you nothing in today’s travel markets.

  4. @Gary I should add this is likely now wrong ” Upgrades from business class to first class cost just the miles of a coach award ticket with no cash co-pay.” This was correct when the surcharges were the same for J and F that is no longer true at least ex-US. I cannot confirm since I haven’t seen a data point but with F now pricing out about $400 more in surcharges than J I would expect a cash co-pay with an upgrade.

  5. I was about to pull the trigger on the BA card with the intention of putting 30k spend to get 2 F tickets to London and was even ok with the fuel surcharges for 2 of us. The increase in surcharges were the nail in the coffin though. I’m not only dropping the plan for the BA card, but also dropping the plan for London.

  6. Insane surcharges make Travel Together “award” a negative value to me. Avios are a niche program with specific useful redemptions, none of which involve transatlantic flights to London.

  7. @King, spot-on. Gary you used to be a good blogger with informative articles, yet you have become a corporate stooge like that @$$-clown TPG.

    Not sure if you realize it or not, but no one with any knowledge falls for your click-bait; as its much easier to reward those on reddit/churning.

    Do us a favor and return to what you used to do; or go work for TPG

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