Last Reviewed: 8/15/2012
While there are certainly challenges with flying on BA (read below), their sign-up bonus is always one of the strongest. Currently, you’ll get 50,000 Avios (BA’s term for points).Earning the 50K Avios bonus is fairly easy. All you have to do is spend $1,000 on your BA Chase Credit Card within the first 3 months of account opening.
While the value of BA’s Avios are severely impaired when redeemed for BA tickets due to the insane fuel surcharge, you can still redeem on American Airlines (one of their partners), which will give you much better bang for your Avios.
Overall, while you may or may not want to keep this card over the long haul, as a signing bonus play, it’s very solid. You can apply for the Chase British Airways Visa Card here, or read on to get super-smart (like Rats-of-NIMH smart).
Quick Snapshot of the British Airways Credit Card:
- Issuer: Chase
- Card type: Visa
- Reward Program: Executive Club
- Core Rewards: 2.5 Avios per dollar spent on British Airways; 1.25 Avios on all other purchases.
- Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 within first 3
- Other Bonuses: each calendar year, when you reach $30,000 in spend on your BA Card, you’ll receive a companion ticket (called “Travel Together Ticket”). See more below.
- Annual fee: $95
- Foreign transaction fee: None
Earning Rewards with the British Airways Credit Card from Chase
Earning rewards with the Chase BA card is as straightforward as attractive fraulein and beer: 1.25 points per dollar spent (twice that for purchases on British Airways itself).
As noted above, the real kicker is the very respectable sign-up bonus of 50K Avios after spending $1K in 3 months
Quick Note on the Travel Together Ticket
You can earn a “free” companion ticket if you spend $30K or more on your BA credit card in any calendar year (limit: 1 per year). The major catch here is that you can only redeem and use this certificate when you yourself obtain a reward ticket on a BA flight (no partner airlines!)-which means spending big money on taxes and fuel surchages. Also, you’ll need to pay fuel surcharges and taxes on the “free” companion certificate. Here’s a dandy quote right from the British Airways site (as of the time of publication of this post):
At time of publication all reward flights and travel together tickets are subject to fuel surcharges, taxes and fees of approximately $650 per person in economy or $1,100 in business class based on travel from New York to London.
So, more than likely, you’ll still have to fork out a whopping $650 or more for your economy companion ticket. Thus, we believe that the value of the Travel Together Ticket is much lower than would meet the eye.
Redeeming your BA Avios for Flights
Currently, GetDebit values BA Avios at only around 0.4 cents per point due to the sky-high fuel surcharge (read our post on the Value of BA Avios to get all the gory details), thus making the 50K points bonus worth roughly $200 (still not a bad sign-up bonus!). However, if you can redeem for American Airlines flights (we value AA miles at 1.36 cents per mile), then the 50K Avios bonus becomes worth somewhere between $500 and $680 (some folks prefer to use a simplified 1 penny per point equation). Either way, that’s a plane-load of dough.
You’ll be able to redeem your BA Avios on American Airlines for as low as 25,000 points for a roundtrip flight within the US (this is the same redemption amount that AA’s MileSaaver fares offer as well).
One word of caution: recently, I was trying to book a flight on American with my BA Avios, and even going 2 full months out, I was unable to get the dates I wanted. While these same reward tickets were available on AA itself, American makes a very limited number available for its partners. And this BA promotion will only make matters worse, flooding the market with gnarly Avios that most folks know are best redeemed on partner airlines like American. Ces’t la Avios.
British Airways Credit Card: Closing Musings
It should all be clear by now: if you’re into getting great sign-up bonuses, this is solid credit card, with bonuses worth north of $500 if you follow the redemption strategy I outlined above. As a day-to-day card, it’s pretty much run-of-the-mill.