British Airways Card Award Surcharge Rebate: How It Works

Filed Under: British Airways, Chase

This week some exciting new benefits were announced for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which is one of Chase’s co-branded airline credit cards.

What Made The British Airways Visa Worthwhile

I’ve reviewed the British Airways Visa in detail, and there are a few things that make it potentially interesting:

  • The card is offering a great welcome bonus
  • You can receive a 10% discount on paid British Airways flights originating in the US
  • You can receive a Travel Together Ticket when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, allowing a companion to travel with you on an award ticket; you just have to pay the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges for your companion on the same award reservation

Well, this week the British Airways Visa added two more potentially awesome benefits, which I first wrote about yesterday. We now have more details on how the most useful new benefit works.

British Airways A350

British Airways Visa Award Surcharge Rebate

One major pain point of the British Airways program is the high carrier-imposed surcharges they have for travel on their own flights.

British Airways and Chase making reduced surcharges a benefit of the card. Going forward, those with the British Airways Visa can receive up to $600 in statement credits each year for taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges on award reservations:

  • You can get a $200 reward for a flight in British Airways first or business class
  • You can get a $100 reward for a flight in British Airways premium economy or economy

Get a $200 statement credit for a business class redemption

You’re capped at a total of three credits per year, for up to $600 in statement credits (so if you used it for three economy tickets you’d be capped at $300, while if you used it for three business class tickets you’d be capped at $600).

How The Reward Flight Statement Credit Works

Frequent Miler shares some clarity on the terms associated with the reward flight statement credit offered with the British Airways Visa, beyond what I’ve explained above:

  • You have to pay for the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges with the British Airways Visa in order to get the statement credits
  • The booking must be for a transatlantic itinerary originating in the United States with the transatlantic portion of the ticket on British Airways (though it’s fine if a connecting flight is on a partner airline)
  • One-way or roundtrip travel seems to be eligible
  • The reservation must be made out of the primary cardmember’s Executive Club account, though it’s fine if someone else is traveling
  • The statement credit will post within 45 days of the eligible reservation being made, and will be reversed if the ticket is canceled

Those rules are roughly what I was expecting, though secretly I was hoping that this benefit wouldn’t be so restrictive.

One of the annoying things that British Airways does is that they have higher surcharges for travel originating in the US. This has been the case for a long time, as it’s not unusual for airlines to have different surcharges depending on the point of origin.

For example, want to fly from Boston to London to Athens in business class next June? That will cost you $641.82 in taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges.

Want to fly on the same date in the same cabin in the opposite direction? That will cost you $332.37.

I hoped that the credit would apply even to one-way tickets originating in Europe to the US (with much lower fees), but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I much more frequently redeem Avios for travel on British Airways originating in Europe than for travel originating in the US. For example, I recently flew British Airways first class from Mykonos to Boston using Avios with reasonable surcharges.

So while a $200 credit for a trip originating in the US will take a little bit of sting out of it, you’ll still end up paying more than you’d pay when originating in most markets in Europe.

Earn 2x Avios On Hotel Purchases

Currently, the British Airways Visa offers 3x Avios for airfare purchased with British Airways, and 1x Avios on all other purchases

The British Airways Visa now offers 2x Avios per dollar spent on hotel stays. Just book directly with hotels and you’ll receive 2x Avios.

While that’s better than nothing, I’d note that there are still better credit cards for hotel purchases.

Earn 2x Avios for hotel spending

British Airways Visa Changes Summary

This new carrier-imposed surcharge benefit of up to $600 per year is potentially a game-changer for this card. There’s more reason than ever before to have the BA Visa, between the 10% discount on British Airways flights, up to $600 in surcharge credits, and more.

I do wish that this would also be valid for transatlantic itineraries originating in Europe (given the lower surcharges), though I guess this restriction isn’t too surprising. Even so, this credit could tip the scale as to whether or not I book a transatlantic award on British Airways for travel originating in the US.

I’d note that this is a reason to get the card, though in general I’d recommend still earning points with Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, and then transferring them over to British Airways Executive Club, as you can still take advantage of these benefits. The only exception is if you’re trying to earn a Travel Together Ticket. Otherwise, the bonus categories offered by other cards will make your Avios accrue faster.

Do these new benefits change whether or not you’ll have the British Airways Visa?

See this post for more on the best uses of British Airways Avios, and see this post for the best credit cards for earning British Airways Avios.

Comments
  1. Depending on how this works, this would be a game changer. Award flights from Eastern Europe in First usually cost between $280-$300 for taxes and surcharges. I think the surcharges amount to about $200 of that.

    @Lucky, I may have missed it, but if you use Alaska miles, and charge to the BA Card for the taxes and fees , do you think it would still be eligible? Alaska BA awards are issued on 027 Alaska ticket stock, but the system should still recognize it as an award on BA metal with BA surcharges.

  2. What dates does the rebate of fuel surcharges start? I tried to find it in the terms of the Chase page and on BA but no mention? I have a flight to book this week and if so will use BA and my BA card. I think it’s a great addition and gives me a reason to keep the card.

  3. What a joke. A $200 credit when they impose a penalty fee over of $800 each way.

    This is “potentially awesome” only for potential suckers.

  4. Ralph,

    If you can’t find surcharges below $800 then you are looking in the wrong place. I generally see between $300 and $600.

  5. I have the card. But, I have felt that is is long past due for the Federal Government to step in on Award surcharges on BA, Iceland Air, and others.

    Its criminal that an AA and BA ticket may price the same, but that the BA ticket has a fuel surcharge component (and therefore a lower base fare) that only really gets noticed when you then try to redeem for an award. It’s an underhanded way of devaluing the award currency, or essentially still making money on the redemption anyway.

    Here, come fly this flight route for $1,000…. or work hard to get a ton of miles by flying and doing other things and I will give it to you for free, other than the $800 fuel surcharge part. Ugh.

  6. I’m not supporting any airline with fees like BA. Not even via a rebate. I don’t want to do anything to further encourage this type of fee frenzy corporate behavior.

  7. CF Frost

    BA does this because they can. They get great load factors and will fill those planes anyway.

    If you want instead to fly a crappy US airline and change in Charlotte or Detroit, just to pay less fees, then you are of course welcome to. But I will already be in London drinking warm flat beer 🙂

  8. Would this surcharge rebate only apply when using Avios or can i use AA miles to book a BA flight and pay with this card to get the rebate ?

  9. Lucky. Can you find you if the new BA card rebates apply to BA flights booked with American Airlines miles. Also, can it used on a flight already booked?
    Mark

  10. Would be really helpful if you could check to see if flying out of Canada would be any cheaper.

    Would also be very helpful if you could find out if the Royal Bank BA card will offer this.

    I am guessing that it is more expensive with no refund if you live in Canada

  11. This rebate is really just a partial offset of the amount they increased the carrier surcharges about 6-12 months ago. Well, it’s actually less than the recent increase which for example is $400 more on a return F booking than J even though up until the recent changes the pricing was the same in business and first class.

  12. Kind of surprised you did not state the annual fee to compare… $95. That is not bad, not a premium card cost. Buy one premium ticket for $2-3k and credit to Alaska, get $200 back on that more than say using a 5X card. Save $500-600 on surcharges. Not bad vs $95.

    Avios are pretty easy to stack up with a 40% bonus.

  13. I’ll laugh about this on July 4 when I am toasting kicking British ass and wondering when Prince Andrew will be arraigned. As I ponder Air France or Emirates or another carrier that actually understands First Class. Although I actually liked the pods at the Concorde room. But the catering? Please.

  14. As long as they continue to have 8 across in business class, BA is a hard pass for me, surcharge or not.

  15. Lucky, is it 1 $200 credit per booking or per ticket/person? I.e. if you book 2 people in business class on a single award reservation is it $200 back or $400?

    @DaKine — if you’re using the $200 credit, it’s an award ticket, so there’s nothing to credit to Alaska. The $200 credit isn’t valid on revenue tickets.

  16. @Lucky,

    Same questions as the last two; will two credits apply if you book one award for two people and can you use the companion pass for that award and still get both credits?

  17. My question is what are the travel insurance benefits? I usually put the taxes and surcharges on my Chase Sapphire Reserve for the insurance benefits when booking an award flight. If I use the BA visa to get the $200 rebate (and is that per ticket if you are traveling with a spouse?), will I still get comparable travel insurance benefits?

  18. The reason BA charges these high fees is related to the number of miles required for redemption of the award in the first place. Almost all saver award availability from the US to Europe in J on AA.com is on BA. At least from PHX we have pretty much 365 day a year saver award availability in J to Europe on AA.com. Usually there are 12 to 15 departure times to choose from because we have AA nonstops to every BA gateway city in North America. 57,500 will score you a one-way J flight to Europe (often nonstop) in return for paying the surcharge. I find this to be the best way to travel to Europe pretty much anytime and as often as I desire. It really doesn’t take much activity to accumulate 57,500 miles. And when you consider what it would cost to buy the J class ticket with money, it seems worth it to me. I just returned from such a trip and actually really enjoyed BA Business Class. I know the product is inconsistent. But if I get a lie flat seat and actually sleep for 7 hours on the way to the UK, I really don’t care about a $500 surcharge. Yes, please!

  19. Lucky,

    Thanks for the hot info. Two quickies, please:

    Per calendar year, or CC membership year?

    Will it apply to Chase Companion tickets? If so and in First, will it accrue two credits ($400) or one ($200)?

  20. This post is five weeks old. Have there been any responses to the many varied questions above? If so, I can’t find them.

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