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The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a pretty compelling credit card that a lot of people are eligible for. It has a generous sign-up bonus, Avios can be invaluable for shorthaul redemptions, and the card has some unique perks. So in this post I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of this card. Here’s what you need to know about the card:
British Airways Visa Card sign-up bonus
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a tiered sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 bonus Avios, as follows:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within the first three months
- An additional 25,000 bonus Avios after spending a total of $10,000 within the first year
At a minimum you can earn 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within three months (which is a pretty achievable threshold for most), and beyond that you can earn a further 25,000 Avios for spending a total of $10,000 within the first year, which is also pretty achievable, given how much time you have to complete that spend.
After earning the first 50,000 bonus Avios, you’re earning 25,000 bonus Avios for an incremental $7,000 of spend, and since you usually earn one Avios per dollar spent, that means you’re earning 32,000 Avios for $7,000 of spend, which is ~4.6 Avios per dollar spent. To me that’s an excellent return, so if you can earn the full bonus I’d recommend doing so.
British Airways Visa Card eligbility
The sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is available to those who don’t currently have the card, and who haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months. This card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 restriction, meaning that you can be approved even if you’ve opened more than five new card accounts in the past 24 months.
British Airways Visa Card sign-up bonus annual fee
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card has a $95 annual fee. There’s no additional fee to add authorized users.
Earning Avios with the British Airways Visa Card
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers one Avios per dollar spent, and two Avios per dollar spent on British Airways purchases. Unless you’re trying to earn a companion voucher (as I’ll be talking about below), personally I wouldn’t put too much spend on this card. Keep in mind that British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so it could make sense to put spend on one of those cards if you want to earn Avios. I’ll talk about that more below.
Redeem Avios for travel in Cathay Pacific business class
Redeeming Avios with the British Airways Visa Card
British Airways Avios are a unique points currency, given that they have a distance based award chart. This means that Avios are valuable for many types of award tickets where other programs wouldn’t be useful. Here’s British Airways’ award chart with the cost of one-way travel (all partner awards are booked at the “peak” level):
|Zone // Flight Distance||Economy|
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
|4,000 // 4,500||5,750 // 6,750||7,750 // 9,000||15,500 // 18,000|
|6,500 // 7,500||9,500 // 11,250||12,750 // 15,000||25,500 // 30,000|
|8,500 // 10,000||12,750 // 15,000||17,000 // 20,000||34,000 // 40,000|
|10,000 // 12,500||20,000 // 25,000||31,250 // 37,500||42,500 // 50,000|
|13,000 // 20,000||26,000 // 40,000||50,000 // 60,000||68,000 // 80,000|
|16,250 // 25,000||32,500 // 50,000||62,500 // 75,000||85,000 // 100,000|
|19,500 // 30,000||39,000 // 60,000||75,000 // 90,000||102,000 // 120,000|
|22,750 // 35,000||45,500 // 70,000||87,500 // 105,000||119,000 // 140,000|
|32,50 // 50,000||65,000 // 100,000||125,000 // 150,000||170,000 // 200,000|
There are so many great ways to redeem Avios, especially for flying shorter distances, where other programs have disproportionately high award costs. This includes shorthaul business class within Asia on Cathay Pacific, shorthaul flying within South America on LATAM, domestic travel within the lower 48 US on Alaska and American, travel between the US mainland and Hawaii on Alaska, shorthaul travel within Europe on British Airways, travel within Australia on Qantas, and much more. I find Avios to be invaluable as part of my overall miles & points strategy, as they’re useful in areas where other currencies aren’t.
Redeem Avios for travel on LATAM
British Airways Visa Card perks
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers some other potentially valuable perks, including:
10% off British Airways flights
Those with the British Airways Visa Card can save 10% off the cost of a roundtrip ticket originating in the US when they pay with their card and use promotion code CARDOFFERU at the time of booking. This is a fantastic way to save money on the cost of a British Airways ticket, especially as this perk can be combined with the AARP discount of up to $200 per ticket.
This perk can help save you on the cost of a British Airways ticket
Travel Together Ticket
You can receive a Travel Together Ticket valid for two years when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, which can cover the Avios component of a British Airways award ticket for a second passenger (you still have to pay taxes and carrier imposed surcharges for both passengers). While there are high fuel surcharges involved, this could represent a great deal for first & business class tickets, given how much those could cost if paying cash.
Redeeming a Travel Together Ticket for first class can be a great deal
No foreign transaction fees
The card has no foreign transaction fees, making this a great card for purchases abroad.
Best British Airways Visa Card substitutes
Typically I suggest that the best substitutes for a card are ones with similar perks, though in this case I actually think transferable points cards would be better substitutes for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so you could maximize your British Airways Avios by taking advantage of some of the bonus categories offered on these cards:
- The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers one Starpoint per dollar spent, and they can be converted into British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred, so that’s a way to get at least 1.25 Avios per dollar of credit card spend
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers double points on dining and travel, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card offers triple points on dining and travel, and those points can be converted 1:1 to British Airways
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express offers 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend per year) and 2x points at US gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle, while the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers 2x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend per year), plus a 20% points bonus when you make at least 20 transactions per billing cycle, and those points can be converted 1:1 to British Airways
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is relatively easy to be approved for (if you have excellent credit), has a generous sign-up bonus, and comes with some perks that more than justify the annual fee. It could be worth putting spend on the card to earn the companion ticket, but otherwise I’d generally recommend using a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card in order to earn Avios, given the generous bonus categories.
But a lot of people should be eligible for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, and it really does have an excellent sign-up bonus and some useful perks.