8 Reasons To Get The British Airways Credit Card

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At the moment the $95 annual fee British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios, which a lot of people should be eligible for. In this post I wanted to look at why it could make a lot of sense to apply for this card, assuming you don’t already have it:

50K-100K Avios welcome bonus

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios upon completing minimum spend, 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
  • An additional 25,000 bonus Avios after spending a total of $20,000 within the first year

Personally I value Avios at 1.3 cents each, so to me 50,000 Avios are worth $650, 75,000 Avios are worth $975, and 100,000 Avios are worth $1,300. In my opinion it can make sense to sign-up for this card regardless of whether you plan to reach the 50,000, 75,000, or 100,000 Avios thresholds.

Assuming you spend a lot on credit cards, the incremental spend math on this card works out quite nicely:

  • 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 $10,000 of spend)

Not subjected to the 5/24 rule

Many Chase cards are subjected to the “5/24 rule,” meaning that you won’t be approved for a card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. However, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is one of the few Chase cards that isn’t subjected to this restriction, along with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and The Hyatt Credit Card.

Potential eligibility even if you’ve had the card in the past

This card has been around for about a decade, and I know there are many people who had the card a long time ago, but might be interested again. The welcome bonus on the card is available to those who don’t currently have the card, and who haven’t received a welcome bonus on the card in the past 24 months, meaning lots of people should be eligible for the card.

Big potential value with Avios

I’m not a huge fan of redeeming British Airways Avios for travel on British Airways due to the big fees associated with it (though I still do it sometimes). However, I’ve gotten so much value out of Avios for the purposes of other awards, as there’s a way to get outsized value. I wrote a separate post about great ways to redeem Avios without paying huge fees. As a reminder, here’s British Airways’ distance based award chart:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomy
Off Peak // Peak
Premium Economy
Off Peak // Peak
Business
Off Peak // Peak
First
Off Peak // Peak
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
4,000 // 4,5005,750 // 6,7507,750 // 9,00015,500 // 18,000
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
6,500 // 7,5009,500 // 11,25012,750 // 15,00025,500 // 30,000
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
8,500 // 10,00012,750 // 15,00017,000 // 20,00034,000 // 40,000
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
10,000 // 12,50020,000 // 25,00031,250 // 37,50042,500 // 50,000
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
13,000 // 20,00026,000 // 40,00050,000 // 60,00068,000 // 80,000
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
16,250 // 25,00032,500 // 50,00062,500 // 75,00085,000 // 100,000
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
19,500 // 30,00039,000 // 60,00075,000 // 90,000102,000 // 120,000
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
22,750 // 35,00045,500 // 70,00087,500 // 105,000119,000 // 140,000
Zone 9
7001+ miles
32,50 // 50,00065,000 // 100,000125,000 // 150,000170,000 // 200,000

There are so many great ways to redeem Avios, including 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 and American, 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 in Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class

10% discount on British Airways flights

One of the benefits of the best benefits of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is that it offers a 10% discount on the purchase of a British Airways ticket by using promotion code CARDOFFERU at the time of booking. There are some restrictions, like you have to be originating in the US and traveling exclusively on British Airways metal, but you can save big money with this benefit.

Best of all, the 10% discount can be stacked with the AARP discount of up to $200 per British Airways business class ticket, which potentially translates to some significant savings, especially since British Airways often publishes great discounted business class fares.


I’ve used this benefit to book quite a few discounted British Airways business class tickets

A companion certificate after spending $30K in a year

One of the potentially cool perks of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is that you can earn a “Travel Together Ticket” when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Cardholders can earn up to one of these per year, and it will be deposited in your Executive Club account 4-6 weeks after you’ve completed the required spend.

With this certificate you can book a British Airways award ticket at the full cost of Avios and carrier imposed surcharges, and then for the second person you just have to pay the surcharges. While British Airways has hefty surcharges for travel on their own flights, this can still represent a great deal for first & business class travel, given how much those tickets would otherwise cost.

This isn’t for everyone, though it has the potential to represent a good value, and I know it’s a feature that many value.

This can be an especially good deal the first year. If you apply for the card and spend $20,000 to unlock the full welcome bonus, then you just need to spend an extra $10,000 to earn this bonus.


Using a companion certificate for travel in first class can be a great value

No close-in ticketing fees

One of the things that I love about British Airways Avios is that there are no close-in ticketing fees. While American and United charge up to a $75 fee for making a booking within 21 days of departure, with British Airways you can make a booking until the day of departure without paying close-in ticketing fees.

This goes especially well with British Airways having a distance based award chart, since it means you can book last minute shorthaul award tickets and pay just the Avios and taxes.

The ability to form household accounts

Often one of the big challenges people have with points is figuring out how to pool them, since you typically need enough points in a single account for a redemption. One of the cool features of the British Airways Executive Club program is that you can form household accounts. This allows you to pool the Avios you earn with up to six other people registered at the same address as you.

This is especially awesome in the context of a credit card sign-up bonus, since the British Airways Visa Signature® Card can earn you 100,000-150,000+ Avios in a single account if you have two people sign-up for the card in a household, etc.

Bottom line

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a generous welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios, is relatively easy to be approved for (as far as Chase cards go), offers some benefits that many will find valuable (a companion certificate, a 10% off benefit, etc.), and in general Avios are a points currency that are worth collecting, in my opinion. If you don’t have this card and are eligible, I’d recommend applying, as offers on the card don’t get better than this.

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Comments

  1. The “no close in ticketing fees” point, along with the historically strong last-minute award availability on AA shorthaul flights made Avios one of my favorite currencies to collect. Being able to spend 4,500 Avios as a PIT-based flyer to get to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington nonstop on a moment’s notice was a great deal; it was still a good deal when they devalued AA short-haul domestic one-ways to 7,500 avios.

    However, AA’s new married segment restriction on award flights has left virtually no one-ways to any of these destinations from Pittsburgh for weekend getaways. The few choices that exist are now multi-segment awards (code for 15,000 avios / 12,500 AA miles) with long, undesirable layovers. I often find myself booking them at double the cost and throwing away the first segment now, effectively reducing the value of Avios by 50% on these redemptions.

    It’s frustrating to see AAdvantage taking this path and makes me glad I did a Delta status match challenge in April. Sure, Skypesos are pretty worthless but at least you can redeem them pretty inexpensively to hop around on short haul flights (PIT-BOS, PIT-JFK have great availability at reasonable rates).

  2. Hey Lucky, I like using Avios for flights on American within the U.S. I used to be able to link my AA number to the flights and recieve the benefits I get from my Barclays Aviator card. Am I no longer going to be able to link my AA loyalty number going forward in the future?

  3. Just used my Travel Together ticket to take my wife from BOS to LHR in business class and then after a 3 day stopover we went on to Singapore in first class. It was a great use of my Avios and the Travel Together ticket, in my opinion, despite the surcharges of around $1,700!

  4. BA website has been broken for months so unable to use avoid for AA tickets. Just today, website not working (again) even though we were told problem had been fixed. Avoid this British Airways credit card until the British Airways website is fully operational again.

  5. I have had the British Airways credit card since it first came out in 1993 (yes, for 25 years).
    I stopped flying British Airways (for the exception of a recent trip in March LHR-DME) about a decade ago — and the only reason I have kept the card (in my desk drawer) is because they say you should not give up your oldest card (and it is my oldest by far and also the one with an enormous credit line) and because I don’t want to lose my Avios (nearly 200,000 of them) through inactivity — but I really can’t wait to use them up (at decent prices, mind you) — the problem is that these flights are rarely available although I check every time.

    Also, I should point out that BA/Chase have reduced the benefits on this card over the years. They used to give 5,000 miles (before Avios were invented) on your annual renewal and they used to offer a greater multiplier on spend. I feel trapped.

    I did open an Iberia Avios account and credited it with some Royal Air Maroc flights in November — and since availability on AA flights is alleged to be better through Iberia — I’m thinking of moving more Avios over to Iberia and trying my luck from there.

  6. You forgot to mention the most important one. Namely, you fly BA and then get to whine about how it’s a crappy airline!

  7. ust used my Travel Together ticket to take my wife from BOS to LHR in business class and then after a 3 day stopover we went on to Singapore in first class.

  8. To book AA flights on ba.com just keep trying. It comes and goes, but I did manage to book flights for family earlier this week.

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