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For several weeks now we’ve seen an increased sign-up bonus on the $95 annual fee British Airways Visa Signature® Card. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000-100,000 Avios, depending on how much you want to spend. The breakdown of the bonus is as follows:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- 25,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening
- 25,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening
I shared my experience applying for this card a few weeks ago, and had no trouble getting approved. Keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, and is available to those who haven’t gotten a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months. I had this card a long time ago, so was eligible to get the card once again.
How much of the sign-up bonus is it worth earning?
In my opinion the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is worth acquiring for the 50,000 Avios sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 within three months alone. We haven’t really seen a bigger sign-up bonus than that without a huge spend requirement in a long time, so it doesn’t get much better than that.
I get some people are hesitant to apply for a card and not maximize the sign-up bonus all the way, but in this case there’s no shame in that, in my opinion. A bonus of 50,000 Avios after completing minimum spend is a worthwhile sign-up bonus for most.
However, assuming you’re someone who spends a lot in non-bonused categories, to what extent does it make sense to maximize these categories? To break down the math a bit in terms of the return you’re earning on non-bonused spend (including the usual 1x Avios per dollar spent):
- If you spend $3,000, you’re earning ~17.7 Avios per dollar spent (53,000 Avios for $3,000 of spend)
- If you spend $10,000, you’re earning an incremental ~4.6 Avios per dollar spent (32,000 Avios for $7,000 of spend)
- If you spend $20,000, you’re earning an incremental 3.5 Avios per dollar spent (35,000 Avios for $1,000 of spend)
Personally I value Avios at ~1.3 cents each, meaning that you’re earning the following return on spend:
- $1-3,000 gets you a return of ~23%
- $3,001-10,000 gets you a return of ~6%
- $10,001-20,000 gets you a return of ~4.6%
I’d consider those to be excellent returns on spend in all three ranges, though obviously the greatest return is for the first $3,000 of spend, and the incremental return decreases after that.
What alternatives should you consider?
When it comes to prioritizing credit card spend, I always recommend trying to complete the minimum spend on worthwhile sign-up bonuses first. So that should always be the top priority. Then it makes sense to try and maximize category bonuses as much as possible, given that some cards offer as many as 5x points in select categories.
However, for everyday, non-bonused spend, typically the best return you’ll get is right around 2.5%. For example, the Chase Freedom® Unlimited offers 1.5x points on everyday purchases, and in conjunction with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, those points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points. I value those at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s a return of ~2.55%.
With that in mind, if you are someone who spends a lot in otherwise non-bonused categories, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is tough to beat. The major restriction to keep in mind is that you only achieve the above returns if you actually spend at least $3,000, $10,000, or $20,000. In other words, spending $2,000, $9,000, or $19,000 won’t be nearly as rewarding
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card has a big sign-up bonus and isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so it’s a card that many should be interested in. I recently signed up for the card and will do everything I can to maximize the sign-up bonus, as there’s not a better reward on another card for non-bonused spend. I’ll probably try to pay my taxes using this card, as you can do so for a fee of under 2%, which I consider to be a great value.
However, even if you just want to spend $3,000 in the first three months to get the 50,000 Avios, this is still a worthwhile offer, in my opinion.