British Airways Visa Signature® Card from Chase Review
Want to travel to Europe but hate the thought of sitting in a cramped seat for hours on end? If you’ve flown British Airways and drool over those sleeper seats, you’re not alone. There are some pretty stellar co-branded credit cards from foreign airlines and one that seems to be overlooked is the British Airways Visa Signature Card.
Although you do need to pay an annual fee, the rewards you can earn far outweigh the price. Let’s take a look at whether this credit card deserves to be part of your spending plan.
APR: 20.74% - 27.74% Variable
Best for: Those who travel with British Airways or fly between the U.S. and Europe at least once a year
Earnings: 3x points on purchases directly with qualifying airlines, 2x points for hotels, 1x points on everything else
Signup bonus: Up to 100,000 Avios points
Travel benefits: Earn a Travel Together ticket, there are no foreign transaction fees, and Visa Signature perks
British Airways Visa Signature Card Rewards
This card offers a substantial signup bonus–up to 100,000 Avios points to be exact–which is equivalent to up to $1,500 in flights. Think about how many flights you can redeem for that amount of points.
To nab the signup bonus, you’ll need to spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening to get the initial 75,000 points. You’ll earn an additional 25,000 points once you spend $20,00 on purchases within the first 12 months as a cardholder. Sure, you can earn the bonus if you divert all your spending on the British Airways Visa Signature card, but there are opportunity costs with using this one versus other rewards credit cards.
Although there aren’t benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding, you can earn a Travel Together ticket. Whenever you make $30,000 in purchases on your card each calendar year, you’ll earn one of these coveted Earn Together tickets–bring a companion with you on an award flight.
There are some restrictions like the fact that the ticket is only valid for two years and you need to pay taxes and fees for the companion ticket. Plus it’s only valid on roundtrip British Airways flights, you and your companion need to fly on the same itinerary and you must depart from and fly back to the U.S.
Like other co-branded airline cards, the British Airways Visa Signature Card is geared towards those loyal to the brand. This card offers the following earnings categories:
- 3 Avios per dollar spent on purchases made with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Level
- 2 Avios per dollar on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel
- 1 Avios per dollar on all other purchases
When redeeming miles, you can use them towards British Airways flights, though you’ll need to pay some substantial surcharges and taxes on award tickets (plus ones for companion tickets). However, using them for short-haul flights is still a good bet–Avios points can be redeemed for as little as 9,000 miles, depending on the distance-based award chart.
Given this, your best bet may be to use your Avios for partner awards. You can redeem your points with over 12 Oneworld Alliance airlines such as American Airlines and Iberia. It also has a few partners that aren’t part of Oneworld like Alaska Airlines. Some of these partner airlines tend to charge lower taxes, so you can save this way.
Here are a few other benefits you’ll want to be aware of:
No foreign transaction fee – When traveling abroad, you don’t have to pay extra fees to use your card. That means if you visit the UK, you can charge your card in pounds or Euros without worrying about additional charges. Chase uses their best conversion rate for the day of your purchase.
Visa Signature perks – as a cardholder, you’ll receive travel-friendly benefits such as secondary car rental insurance, lost or delayed luggage protection and access to the Visa Signature Hotel Collection–offering over 900 luxury properties all over the world. Other perks include extended warranty and purchase protection.
Award calendar — As mentioned above, British Airways has an awards chart for Avios points. The good news is that this calendar is released a year ahead of time so you can plan your award flights in advance.
Who is the British Airways Visa Card Best For?
If you book at least one British Airways flight between the U.S. and Europe every year you might find that this card is especially useful, particularly if you intend on using this as your primary card. If you can meet the spending requirements to earn the signup bonus, you’ll unlock massive amounts of value, far more than the $95 annual fee.
This card also occasionally offers sales when you use your card for British Airways flights–there’s a current sale where you can get a 10% discount on flights. This alone can offset your card’s annual fee, especially when used towards long haul flights.
If you’re after a nice signup bonus but don’t like to fly with British Airways, you can still give this card a chance. That’s because Avios allows you to transfer points to Oneworld Alliance and other airline partners. As long as your airline of choice counts as one of these travel partners, you should be good to go.
Otherwise, if you want flexible rewards redemption options, consider other credit cards in Chase’s lineup.
With the huge signup bonus and ability to redeem flights to Europe easily, the Chase British Airways Visa Signature card can be a great choice. Earning British Airways Executive Club points–aka Avios–is made easier with this card and you can reap free flights, discounts and more. While there aren’t benefits some other co-branded cards offer, like priority boarding or free checked bags, the ability to earn points relatively quickly so you can nab those first-class seats to Europe can be worth it.