Two days left for British Airways Signature Visa 100,000 Avios sign-up bonus

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.

While I last mentioned the card in April when the increased sign-up offer was first introduced, I feel it’s worth mentioning that the 100,000 Avios sign-up bonus on the Chase British Airways Visa expires this Wednesday, July 18.

The card offers 50,000 Avios after the first purchase, another 25,000 Avios after spending $10,000 within the first year, and another 25,000 Avios for spending an additional $10,000 within the first year. So in other words if you spend $20,000 on the card within the first year you’ll get the 100,000 bonus Avios. The annual fee on the card is $95, which isn’t waived for the first year.

There’s no doubt Avios have been devalued since they changed their award chart late last year, all while British Airways’ fuel surcharges have continued to rise. Despite the devaluation, we’ve come across some hidden gems over the past few months that greatly increase the value of Avios for me.

British Airways presently uses a distance based award chart. While they don’t publish the award chart online, the closest thing to it is Iberia’s distance based Avios award chart, which is as follows:

One of my favorites, which is still alive and well, is 25,000 Avios for roundtrip coach or 50,000 Avios for roundtrip business class on Aer Lingus between Boston and Dublin or Shannon with no fuel surcharges. I took advantage of this recently, and I was actually quite impressed by Aer Lingus’ business class product. This is one case where British Airways’ distance based award chart works out in your favor, since Boston to Dublin is just under 3,000 flown miles each way. So in this case after your first purchase you’re earning a roundtrip business class ticket between Boston and Dublin (or two coach tickets), or after spending $20,000 you’re earning two roundtrip business class tickets (or four coach tickets) with no fuel surcharges. That’s a pretty amazing value.


Aer Lingus business class

I also recently posted about the possibility of transferring British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios in order to avoid fuel surcharges for transatlantic flights on Iberia. You can read more about that here, as it makes it possible to redeem just 40,000 Avios for roundtrip transatlantic coach or 80,000 Avios for roundtrip transatlantic business class while just paying the taxes. This is pretty awesome, since prior to these two opportunities there was no way to redeem miles for transatlantic travel without fuel surcharges.


Use Avios to travel to the coast of Spain

Another great use of Avios is for travel to South America. LAN belongs to OneWorld, and they have by far the most extensive route network in South America. Since British Airways’ award chart is distance based you can get some pretty amazing values, especially if you’re traveling to Northern South America.

For example, Miami to Lima roundtrip will run you 25,000 Avios in coach or 50,000 Avios in business class on LAN’s flat bed product, without any fuel surcharges.

Lastly, you really can’t beat the value of British Airways Avios for shorthaul flights. Flights under 650 miles are 4,500 Avios each way in coach. For example, a roundtrip on American between New York and Toronto or Montreal would cost you 9,000 Avios (plus taxes), while paid tickets are often $350 roundtrip.


Cost of an award ticket


Cost of a paid ticket

The above are all options that avoid travel on British Airways flights. You do get a British Airways companion certificate if you spend $30,000 on the card in a year, whereby the second passenger just pays the taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on the ticket when traveling British Airways. That means first class between New York and London, for example, would run you 60,000 Avios plus $1,100 per person, which isn’t all that bad considering that with most other programs you’d pay 125,000-135,000 miles plus $300 in taxes/fees per person.

We’re seeing a downward trend with credit card sign-up bonuses recently, so I do think this is a very good bonus. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year it’s that often the most unconventional points sources end up proving the most rewarding and practical. I love American and United miles and value them immensely, but there’s only one thing I do with them in an effort to “maximize value” — book first class to Asia. British Airways Avios have actually caused me to break my redemption habits, and have caused me to visit Ireland on Aer Lingus, and have also caused me to book a trip to Alaska and the Caribbean over the coming months, and in all three of those cases Avios proved to be the best value on points by far.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I do earn a referral bonus for anyone that signs up through the above links. It’s the best available offer, and of course I’m very appreciative of your support, regardless of whether or not you use my link)

Comments

  1. Hi Lucky,

    I would love to pull the trigger on this one, but I had a BA Chase card that I opened well over two years ago and cancelled 22 months ago. What are my chances of a successful churn? Also, if I apply for it and get it does it automatically mean I got the bonus eligibility or could it take me through the process, approve me and give me no bonus?

    Thanks, Erik

  2. Unfortunately we just got the last 100k bonus (and just cancelled me a month ago – oh well. BUT, @Lucky: when/if you pass through YVR on your way to/from Alaska, I owe you a beer (aka Diet Coke w/ lime), so let me know!

  3. @ Erik — There are several reports of people earning the bonus again when they last canceled the card 12+ months ago, so I’d say it’s worth a shot if you’re in that situation.

  4. Thanks for the post, Lucky… I’ve been pondering this one for a while.

    What do taxes / surcharges look like on west coast – EU coach flights? The fact that the annual fee isn’t waived makes me want to get an idea of what my total cash costs are going to look like.

    Also, how have you generous have you found Avios award availability to be (vs. United, for instance)?

    Thanks!

  5. @ Kyle — If you travel on BA flights it would be about $1,100 for business/first class or $600-800 for coach. However, if you’re willing to fly Aer Lingus and connect, you can get it for under $200 roundtrip.

    BA’s award availability matches what AA has access to, so it’s quite good. Plenty of space on BA metal, and also pretty good space on LAN, Cathay Pacific, Aer Lingus, American, etc.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. @ Lucky – Thanks. Now I better understand those complaining about Avios. Depending on the season, in coach, that can be up to ~2/3 the total cash price of the flight. Looks like the economics work out more favorably for premium and non-BA flights, though.

    Thanks again…

  7. @ Kyle — Right, it’s an awful value for travel on BA in coach. That being said, if you’re on the west coast you can also use the points for travel on LAN to South America, which is a much better value, since they don’t impose fuel surcharges.

  8. Do you think I will get this card and the bonus again if I have the previous chipless version that I got almost an year back?

  9. @ Apu — Many that had the previous “chipless” version have reported success with churning the card, so I suspect the answer is “yes,” though it’s not guaranteed.

  10. I got in on this a couple of days ago. Applied for an account for my wife (instantly approved) and for me (not instantly approved). I have Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold (via Lucky’s links) and an old Chase MP VISA. By the time I called their reconsideration line to check status the next day, I had been approved. Received an email from BA today with my wife’s new Executive Club number. Then went in an created a household account with her new account under my existing number.
    So if we do our spending right, should have over 200K Avios points to spend in a few months.

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