The $95 annual fee British Airways Visa Signature® Card is an all around solid credit card, and one of the best benefits of the card has just been extended.
The card offers a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios
The BA Visa offers a big welcome bonus of up to 100,000 bonus Avios, which is based on your cumulative spend within the first year, 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
- An additional 25,000 bonus Avios after spending a total of $20,000 within the first year
The great thing about this welcome bonus is that it’s pretty lucrative regardless of whether you just plan on spending $3,000 within the first few months, or if you’re a big spender, and plan to spend $20,000 on the card within the first year.
Assuming you spend a lot on credit cards, the incremental spend math on this card works out very nicely:
- If you spend $3,000, you’re earning ~17.7 Avios per dollar spent (53,000 Avios for $3,000 of spend)
- If you spend $10,000, you’re earning an incremental ~4.6 Avios per dollar spent (32,000 Avios for $7,000 of spend)
- If you spend $20,000, you’re earning an incremental 3.5 Avios per dollar spent (35,000 Avios for $10,000 of spend)
This is as good as the welcome bonus on the British Airways Visa gets, as we haven’t seen a better bonus in years. The spend thresholds for earning the full 100,000 Avios also don’t get lower.
See this post for lots of great ways to redeem British Airways Avios without paying big fees.
Taking advantage of the Travel Together Ticket
For many it could also make sense to spend $30,000 on the card in the first year. That’s because you can receive 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).
While there are high surcharges involved, this could represent a great deal for first & business class tickets, given how much those could cost if paying cash.
Also keep in mind that if you earn the full welcome bonus on the card you’ll have already spent $20,000, so you’d just need to spend $10,000 more to get a companion certificate, which isn’t that much incremental spend.
Use the Travel Together Ticket for a first class redemption
The 10% flight discount on the BA Visa
One of the valuable long-term perks of the British Airways Visa, which can easily justify the annual fee and then some with just one purchase, is that it offers a 10% discount on British Airways flights.
I had been monitoring this closely, and up until a few days ago that offer was supposed to expire as of December 31, 2018, though it looks like it has now been extended.
The British Airways Visa is now offering a 10% discount on flights booked by March 31, 2020, which is also the date by which outbound travel must commence. It’s great to see this benefit extended.
What’s so great about this is that the 10% discount applies off the total fare, and not just off the base fare. So even the taxes, fees, and carrier charges are discounted by 10%, which is awesome, given how high those can be on British Airways.
The basic things to be aware of are as follows:
- This discount is valid for any cabin, including economy, premium economy, business, and first class
- This discount is only valid for flights marketed and operated by British Airways, so isn’t valid for codeshare flights on American, Finnair, Iberia, etc.
- You can use this to book up to eight friends and family members traveling on the same flight
- The discount is off the total cost of the fare, including taxes, fees, and carrier charges
- You can travel anywhere globally, though travel needs to originate in the US
To actually apply this discount, go through the booking process, and at step 2 of 5 you should see a link at the bottom that reads “Use promotion code or eVoucher.”
Then on the next page just enter the promotion code, and the discount will be applied.
Stack this with the British Airways AARP discount
In addition to the awesome British Airways Visa 10% discount, you can actually stack this with another deal.
Specifically, British Airways offers AARP members discounts on British Airways flights, as follows:
- Save $65 off the cost of an economy ticket
- Save $200 off the cost of a business class ticket
Anyone can join AARP for $16 per year (even non-seniors), and this discount even works on codeshare flights on partner airlines.
As of now this discount is valid for bookings through January 31, 2019, and for travel through December 31, 2019, though I expect this will be extended.
While this isn’t as good of a deal as it used to be (they used to offer up to $400 off first and business class tickets), being able to stack these two offers still represents a great deal.
I’m happy to see the British Airways Visa discount extended for 2019. This is a great opportunity to save on the cost of British Airways fares, especially in conjunction with the AARP discount.
In many cases I consider it to be a better deal to just book a revenue ticket on British Airways and then upgrade, rather than book an award ticket on them, given their outrageous fees.