British Airways Visa Signature Card

by James Andrew Scott on April 14, 2012

in British Airways, Chase, Executive Club, Visa Signature

Up to 100,000 Avios with the British Airways Visa Signature

This Generous Offer is Back For a Limited Time Only!

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers up to 100,000 (!) bonus points (called Avios) for new cardholders. You will earn 50,000 Avios after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  Then earn another 25,000 Avios for making $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months. Finally, earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases, also within the first 12 months of account opening.

Earning points at a rate of 2.5 per dollar on British Airways and 1.25 per dollar on other purchases is more generous that similar cards (typically, 2 per dollar on airline tickets and 1 per dollar on everything else).  The card also has no foreign transaction fees making it great for foreign travel.  Finally, this card has Smart Chip Technology allowing you to make chip-based purchases in Europe and elsewhere.

One downside of this card is fuel surcharges levied by British Airways on award tickets (BA calls them reward tickets). Fortunately, you can often avoid fuel surcharges (or pay lower fuel surcharges) by redeeming your points on oneworld alliance partners, including on American Airlines (except on American to Europe).

Best Features of the British Airways Visa Signature Card: 

  • You will get 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 25,000 bonus Avios after you make $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months of account opening.
  • Plus an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first 12 months of account opening.
  • Together, that’s enough Avios for one roundtrip business class award ticket.
  • Earn 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Smart Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees.
  • Every year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • oneworld redemptions, including American Airlines.
  • No last-minute reward ticket redemption fee (some airlines charge a fee on award tickets booked less than 21 days from departure).

Least Attractive Features:

  • The fuel surcharges are approximately $450 for a coach trans-Atlantic reward ticket and greater for business and first class tickets as well as flights of greater distances.

 

British Airways visa card airplane

Earning Avios:

  • 2.5 Avios per dollar for on British Airlines purchases.
  • 1.25 Avios per dollar on all other purchases.

Using Avios:

  • Redeem a round-trip coach reward from the East Coast U.S.A. to London for 40,000 Avios (plus taxes, fees, and fuel surcharge) or 80,000 Avios in Business class.
  • Redeem a round-trip coach reward from Los Angeles to London for 50,000 Avios (plus taxes, fees, and surcharges), or 100,000 Avios in Business class.
  • You can redeem your Avios on oneworld partners, including American Airlines, generally for the same number of Avios as on BA.  Note there are fuel surcharges when you redeem your Avios for an American Airlines flight to Europe.  However, fuel surcharges do not apply when you redeem your Avios on American Airlines within the U.S., so American flights can be a great use of your Avios.
      • 50,000 Avios is enough for 2 cross-country round-trip flights. For example, a round-trip Economy reward ticket from Washington, DC to Los Angeles can be redeemed for 25,000 Avios plus $5.
  • It’s also possible to use your points with Aer Lingus for trans-Atlantic flights with much lower fuel surcharges.
  • You can use the “Avios and money” option to pay cash for part of a reward ticket if you don’t have enough Avios.

Fees:

  • $95 annually.
  • Foreign transaction fee:  None.
  • Fuel surcharges of about $450 for a coach trans-Atlantic reward ticket (or companion ticket) and greater for business and first class tickets as well as flights of greater distances.

Perks:

  • Companion ticket with $30,000 in annual spending (good for two years).
  • Visa Signature Cardholder benefits, including 24/7 access to a concierge (800-953-7392), 90 days purchase protection due to theft or vandalism (up to $500/claim), the Visa Signature Hotel Collection benefits, Year-End Summary Statements, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more.
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