British Airways Visa 100,000 mile sign-up bonus is back (sort of)

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.

Comments

  1. If I wanted to use the miles for flying from lax to honolulu, how would I figure out the taxes, surcharges etc ? On their site it just says

    Avios required Money
    12500

    $ 0.00 + taxes, fees, charges and surcharges

  2. Hi, can I still apply for Chase BA Visa if I’m already a cardholder to get the 100,000 bonus Avios points? or can I cancel my current card and apply for a new one? thanks in advance

  3. Lucky: Your link is wrong for “I broke down some of the best award redemptions here” the here, you point to the original devalue link rather then the best redemption 🙂

  4. I just cancelled my BA card from last year. Here’s how it went:
    – I met my spend requirements by asking to put a huge company purchase on my card. I got reimbursed before the month was up.
    – I paid the $95 annual fee.
    – I live in Chicago, but am from South Dakota. Average price is ~$300 r/t. That’s 9000 avios miles. I’ll let you do the math.

    First, thanks Lucky!

    Second, can I apply for the card again and get another 50000 miles?

  5. that marketing almost looks like a joke…as soon as someone reads that $1100…they are gonna be like WTF???

  6. I wonder if the transparency in advertising is due to the new DOT regulations requiring airlines to include taxes and fees in all advertised fares.

  7. @ jason — When you go to ba.com just do an award search (click on “Spend Avios” and then “Book a Flight.” You can search for availability, and when you get to the last page it will tell you the total fees. For domestic flights they don’t have any fuel surcharges, so it would just be the taxes you’re paying.

    @ Jamison — This appears to be a legit link given that it’s accessible through the Chase website.

    @ WorldTraveler2018 — Unfortunately the bonus can only be earned once to the best of my knowledge.

    @ serg — Thanks for the heads up. Fixed. That’s what I get for writing a blog post at 3AM.

    @ Andrew B — I suspect it is.

  8. Does the card still give 1.25 miles per dollar spent? If so, it’s worth noting that you’d actually have a minimum of 125,000 miles after meeting the spend requirements, since spending $20K would get you 25K miles (err, Avios).

  9. I can see where this system is useful (short domestic trips) but in those cases I’m just as likely to drive or get a cheap flight from someone else. So thanks, but no thanks, Adios miles. Your distance based charts, absurd fees, joke of a hub, and lackluster customer support have removed any desire I ever had to build loyalty with you.

  10. The terms and conditions state ‘only for new cardholders’. However there have been plenty of cases where this was also in the terms for other cards but the bonuses were still handed out. If anyone with an old BA card that is now cancelled applies for this and actually gets the miles, please let us all know. (If you don’t get the miles you can always cancel the card and get your $95 fee back).

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