This is my review of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. I don’t have this card in my wallet because I’m not a big fan of Avios or the fact that British Airways charges enormous fuel surcharges, which diminishes the value of the sign-up bonus.
Credit card issuer Chase recently launched the “British Airways Visa Signature Card,” a fairly aggressive airline rewards credit card that comes with a healthy 50,000 “Avios” bonus after you make $2,000 in purchases during the first three months of cardmembership.
On top of that, you can earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios if you spend $10,000 on the credit card during the first year of cardmembership, or 50,000 Avios if you spend a total of $20,000 within the same year.
Put simply, spend $20,000 during the first year (at least $2k of it in first 3 months) and you’ll wind up with 100,000 bonus Avios plus all the non-bonus Avios to boot. Not bad.
100,000 Avios Mile Bonus
That means you can easily earn 100,000 bonus Avios miles in no time at all. With the 100,000 miles in hand, you’ve got enough for two (2) transatlantic flights. We’re talking two tickets roundtrip from Los Angeles to London folks.
In other words, you can fly to Europe and back twice if you live in the United States, free of charge, less taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges, which I suppose can add up these days.
Chase highlights the fact that those bonus miles are enough for one business class reward flight…ooh la la.
You also earn 1.25 Avios miles per $1 spent on standard purchases and 2.5 Avios miles for each $1 in British Airways purchases.
Travel Together Ticket
Additionally, if you spend $30,000 in any single calendar year, you can earn a “Travel Together Ticket,” which is a companion airline ticket used in conjunction with the cardmember’s award flight that is good for a full two years from the date of issuance.
Not only that, but it can used in any cabin, even first class, so it has the potential to be very valuable. However, only one voucher may be claimed each year.
The British Airways Visa Signature Card also waives all foreign transaction fees, being one of the few credit cards to do so (Discover and Capital One offer similar credit cards).
And when you apply for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, you are automatically enrolled in the British Airways Executive Club.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev, Qantas and Royal Jordanian are partner airlines. So you’ll have plenty of options to get around the world for free!
Annual Fee and Fuel Surcharges
There are some downsides to the British Airways Visa Signature credit card as well. If you’ve got an existing balance and are looking to transfer it, this is not the card for you. Both the balance transfer APR and the standard purchase credit card APR are 15.24%.
Aside from the lack of introductory 0% APR, the card also has an annual membership fee of $95 (though it is waived the first year), and any fees and taxes that must be paid on flights are not covered by the points (nowadays they can be fairly hefty).
A word of warning: A flight to Europe may have fees, surcharges, and taxes of several hundred dollars or more…British Airways notes in the fine print that the cost could range from $682 per person for economy tickets to $1,250 for business class tickets for a transcontinental flight (Seattle to London). Ouch! Not so free is it?
A better alternative may be Chase Ink, which allows cardholders to transfer points to other frequent flyer programs that don’t have costly fuel surcharges.
But if you don’t carry balances and love to travel, especially internationally, this card does have the potential to save you quite a bit of money, even with those pesky fees included. Better yet, be careful when navigating the award travel bookings to avoid the surcharges and look at partner carriers other than British Airways.
Related: Citi AAdvantage credit card review