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Update: The current sign-up bonus offer for the British Airways Visa is 50,000 Avios. 25,000 upon first use, and another 25,000 when you spend $2,500 within 90 days.
Chase is offering 50,000 British Airways miles when you open the BA branded Visa card. Get 25,000 miles with your first purchase and 25,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first three months.
– $50 off transatlantic British Airways flights
– Get a free 2 for 1 award voucher when you spend $30,000 in a year. This isn’t like your typical “buy one expensive fare and get one free” – this is on award tickets. So if you redeem 100,000 miles for a transatlantic Club World ticket, you get another free. An amazing value.
– No foreign transaction fees. If you travel abroad, this is huge since some banks will charge you a 3% bogus fee on all transactions. This totally negates the value of any miles earned
– 1.25 miles per dollar spent- much better than the 1 mile per dollar on most other cards
– 2.5 BA miles per dollar spent on British Airways
All for a reasonable $75 annual fee. Those 50,000 points are enough for a business class trip within North America (think JFK-LAX/SFO)- a $2,000+ ticket. To see how many miles British Airways charges for awards click here and for partner awards (American, Qantas, Cathay, etc) click here.
Some things I like about the British Airways and the Executive Club program:
1) One way awards, even on Oneworld partners
2) The ability to redeem for miles and cash. I only had 110,000 BA miles, but I use them and roughly $1,000 for a roundtrip first class ticket from US to Europe, which normally costs 150,000 miles
3) They are a very upgrade-centric airline and make it pretty simple to use miles to get into the next class of service- or two.
4) Their new first class product is excellent as I reported here. Seriously, I didn’t want to get off the plane.
5) Nice lounges, including Terraces for Club World and The Concorde Room for first class. You get access even when flying on an award ticket.
Some things I dislike:
1) Very high fuel surcharges- be prepared to pay $400+ for business and first class awards
2) A pretty crappy online award booking tool, which almost makes it impossible to see partner awards. (If you don’t feel like dealing with it, you can pay me to book your award for you and get the most out of your points)
3) Pretty insane amount of miles needed for long-haul travel. 420,000 miles from the US to Australia in first class if flying BA, 240,000 on partners (vs 145,000 using American miles).
Overall, I think this is a good deal, especially if you like flying British Airways. Last year they offered 100,000 miles for this card (which is why I was able to redeem for first class and fly with Madonna), but I don’t see that offer coming back. And if it does, you know I’ll be writing about it here!