Update: These offers for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
One of the first “huge” credit card sign-up bonuses we saw was back in 2009, when Chase offered a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa, with a fairly small minimum spend requirement. Unfortunately we haven’t seen bonuses on the card with equally lucrative terms since then.
100,000 Avios sign-up bonus is back (sort of)
Chase is back with a 100,000 Avios sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature Card. That being said, in order to earn the full 100,000 Avios bonus, you have to spend $20,000 on the card within a year.
Here are the details of the sign-up bonus:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- An additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend a total of $10,000 on purchases within your first year
- An additional 25,000 bonus Avios if you spend a total of $20,000 on purchases within your first year
The sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 is pretty standard, so basically this sign-up bonuses adds further threshold bonuses for high spenders.
It’s worth noting that the sign-up bonus is available to those who don’t currently have the card and have no received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months. So you’re potentially eligible for the sign-up bonus even if you’ve had the card in the past.
The card has a $95 annual fee as usual, which isn’t waived the first year.
Is the BA Visa good for everyday spend?
The the British Airways Visa Signature Card offers one Avios per dollar spent, which is a pretty weak return, truth be told. Up until April of this year, the card actually earned 1.25 Avios per dollar spent, though that rate was devalued by 20% recently.
The card actually isn’t great for everyday spend, given the only bonus category offered by the card is for British Airways purchases, where you earn triple Avios.
If you do want to accrue Avios through everyday spend, you’re much better off using cards like:
- The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, as those points can be transferred 1:1 to British Airways, and for every 20,000 points you transfer, you earn a 5,000 point bonus; that’s like accruing 1.25 Avios per dollar spent, when transferring in the right increments.
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, as those points can be transferred 1:1 to British Airways, and you earn double points on dining and travel purchases.
- The American Express® Gold Card, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, or The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, as they offer lucrative bonus categories, and those points can also be transferred 1:1 to British Airways.
So long term this isn’t the card I’d use for accruing British Airways Avios.
Should you spend $20,000 on the card to earn 100,000 Avios?
Earning 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 is a no brainer. But what about an extra 25,000 Avios after spending another $8,000, and then another 20,000 Avios after spending a further $10,000?
Yes, I’d say that’s probably worth it.
For example, if you have a big tax bill, you can pay your taxes by credit card for a ~1.88% convenience fee. That means charging $20,000 of taxes to a credit card would cost you $376. Is that worth it for 100,000 Avios? Absolutely!
It might even make sense to spend $30,000 on the card, as you’ll then have earned a British Airways companion certificate. These can be redeemed for travel on British Airways, whereby you only have to pay the Avios for one passenger, though the full taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges still have to be paid for both passengers (which will typically be $1,000+ each for roundtrip premium cabin travel between the US and Europe).
Still, in many cases that can represent a great deal.
For example, a roundtrip off peak first class award between New York and London will cost you 136,000 Avios, so that’s not a bad price for two people. As I said, both would be responsible for the fees, though. For roundtrip first class, those would run you ~$1,186 per person.
Whether or not that’s worth it probably depends on your individual circumstances.
Other great uses of British Airways Avios
While the companion certificate might be worth considering if you’ll be spending $20,000 on the card anyway, there are other great uses of British Airways Avios. They have a distance based award chart, so perhaps the best use is for shorthaul economy travel on American/US Airways and Alaska.
The cost for those flights is as follows:
- 4,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1-650 miles
- 7,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 651-1,151 miles
- 10,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1,152-2,000 miles
Even after the recent British Airways Executive Club devaluation, the value of shorthaul redemptions remains excellent.
There are many great uses of Avios, in particular for shorthaul travel within the US. If you’re someone who is a big credit card spender, it could absolutely make sense to spend $20,000 (or more) on the British Airways Visa Signature Card in order to get the 100,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
That being said, if you’re not a huge spender, I’m not sure I’d spend $20,000 on this card in order to get the sign-up bonus when that spend could otherwise be going towards cards with bigger category bonuses.
Do you plan on applying for the BA Visa with the 100K Avios sign-up bonus?