Update: This offer for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is expired. Please check out the current list of the best current travel credit cards.
Quite possibly the most exciting credit card sign-up bonus ever was the British Airways Chase Visa 100,000 mile sign-up bonus, which they most recently ran in April of 2011. At the time 100,000 British Airways miles was enough miles for a business class ticket to Asia on Cathay Pacific, so it was quite the value. Unfortunately they severely devalued their award chart back in November, so their miles (now referred to as “Avios”) are worth substantially less.
That being said, I was excited to see that the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus is back, though this time it’s not nearly as lucrative. Now you earn 50,000 Avios after your first purchase, an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $10,000 on the card within the first year, and another 25,000 Avios after spending another $10,000 on the card within the first year. So in other words you have to spend $20,000 on the card to earn the full 100,000 mile bonus. So I guess you could call this more of a big spending bonus than a big sign-up bonus. The annual fee on the card is $95, and it’s not waived the first year.
I do love how they’re at least transparent in their marketing materials about the fuel surcharges on tickets:
So is the sign-up bonus worthwhile? Well, I guess it depends what kind of travel you value.
Avios points are very useful for shorthaul travel, given that their new award chart is distance based. I broke down some of the best award redemptions here, which include 25,000 miles roundtrip in coach between the west coast and Hawaii, as few as 9,000 miles for shorthaul roundtrip economy awards, and 80,000 miles for business class between the east coast and London (though there are huge fuel surcharges and taxes).
If you’re a huge credit card spender I’d say go for it. Otherwise the offer may be worthwhile for earning the first 50,000 points. I’d just have a hard time focusing an additional $10,000 of spend on the card when I could instead put it on cards that offer category bonuses for my purchases, possibly earning me just as many (or more) miles.