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One of the Chase credit cards that’s relatively easy to get approved for and also lucrative is the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. The card has a generous sign-up bonus, and is potentially worth holding onto long term, regardless of whether you plan on using the card for everyday spend, or plan to just hold onto it for the perks it offers.
British Airways Visa Card eligibility
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is available to those who don’t currently have the card, and those who haven’t received a new cardmember bonus in the past 24 months. So many people who had this card in the past are still eligible for the sign-up bonus.
In terms of eligibility beyond that, this card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 rule, meaning that you can qualify for the sign-up bonus even if you’ve opened five or more new cards in the past 24 months.
British Airways Visa Card sign-up bonus
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a tiered sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 bonus Avios, as follows:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within the first three months
- An additional 25,000 bonus Avios after spending a total of $10,000 within the first year
At a minimum you can earn 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within three months (which is a pretty achievable threshold for most), and beyond that you can earn a further 25,000 Avios for spending a total of $10,000 within the first year, which is also pretty achievable, given how much time you have to complete that spend.
After earning the first 50,000 bonus Avios, you’re earning 25,000 bonus Avios for an incremental $7,000 of spend, and since you usually earn one Avios per dollar spent, that means you’re earning 32,000 Avios for $7,000 of spend, which is ~4.6 Avios per dollar spent. To me that’s an excellent return.
British Airways Card sign-up bonus value
Personally I value Avios at ~1.3 cents each. This means that I value:
- 50,000 Avios at $650
- 75,000 Avios at $975
The card has a $95 annual fee, so I value the sign-up bonus (after subtracting the first year’s annual fee) at $555 or $880, depending on how much spend you’re able to complete.
How do I come up with the value of 1.3 cents per Avios? Ultimately there’s no science to points valuations, and it’s both an absolute and relative exercise. For reference, here’s the British Airways Executive Club award chart:
|Zone // Flight Distance||Economy|
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
*Not available in North America
|4,000 // 4,500||5,750 // 6,750||7,750 // 9,000||15,500 // 18,000|
|6,500 // 7,500||9,500 // 11,250||12,750 // 15,000||25,500 // 30,000|
|8,500 // 10,000||12,750 // 15,000||17,000 // 20,000||34,000 // 40,000|
|10,000 // 12,500||20,000 // 25,000||31,250 // 37,500||42,500 // 50,000|
|13,000 // 20,000||26,000 // 40,000||50,000 // 60,000||68,000 // 80,000|
|16,250 // 25,000||32,500 // 50,000||62,500 // 75,000||85,000 // 100,000|
|19,500 // 30,000||39,000 // 60,000||75,000 // 90,000||102,000 // 120,000|
|22,750 // 35,000||45,500 // 70,000||87,500 // 105,000||119,000 // 140,000|
|32,50 // 50,000||65,000 // 100,000||125,000 // 150,000||170,000 // 200,000|
There are so many great ways to redeem Avios, especially for flying shorter distances, where other programs have disproportionately high award costs. This includes shorthaul business class within Asia on Cathay Pacific, shorthaul flying within South America on LATAM, domestic travel within the lower 48 US on Alaska and American, travel between the US mainland and Hawaii on Alaska, shorthaul travel within Europe on British Airways, travel within Australia on Qantas, and much more. I find Avios to be invaluable as part of my overall miles & points strategy, as they’re useful in areas where other currencies aren’t.
Redeeming Avios on LATAM is a great deal
Also keep in mind that British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning you can transfer over points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. That’s great since it means you can easily “right size” your account for the redemption you’re looking for.
Furthermore, British Airways lets you create Executive Club household accounts, which allows you to pool your Avios with other people living at the same address.
Other British Airways Card perks
In addition to the great sign-up bonus, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a few other noteworthy perks, including:
- No foreign transaction fees
- A Travel Together Ticket valid for two years when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, which can cover the Avios component of a British Airways award ticket for a second passenger (you still have to pay taxes and carrier imposed surcharges for both passengers)
- A 10% discount for British Airways flights
The Travel Together Ticket can be especially valuable for first & business class tickets
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a generous sign-up bonus that many people are eligible for, and Avios are especially useful for shorthaul awards, where other programs often charge a disproportionate number of points. If you’re eligible for the card’s sign-up bonus but don’t yet have it, I’d seriously consider applying.