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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 Distance||Economy|
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
*Not available in North America
|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, 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.
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.