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Does the British Airways Visa Make Sense Post-Devaluation?

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TPG reader Mike emailed me to ask:

“Does the British Airways Visa still make sense post-devaluation?  I know there are some potentially better options for earning Avios, but the two-for-one and 10% airfare discount are intriguing.”

This past week we got some bad news regarding the British Airways Executive Club Program. As of April 28, 2015, the number of Avios points needed for business and first class awards will be increasing. However, economy class redemptions are unchanged; in fact, they might be even cheaper if you’re flying economy at non-peak times. Depending on how you use your Avios, this could be good news or bad.

When thinking about whether or not to keep the British Airways Visa, you have to think about the value it offers you. The base earning is 1.25 Avios points per dollar spent, which is more than the typical one mile or point per dollar spent on most co-branded airline credit cards. There’s also currently an offer for 10% off when you use the card to purchase British Airways flights.

The British Airways devaluation isn't great news, but it isn't awful news. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The British Airways devaluation isn’t good news, but it could be worse. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you redeem for economy (especially economy short-haul flights) this card will earn you more Avios than any other card (unless you get an Amex and hope for transfer bonuses). While I don’t recommend using the Travel Together Ticket for economy redemptions (because of high taxes and fees), it could still be a good deal in business/first. New York to London round-trip is currently 80,000 miles in business class, and will increase to 120,000 miles in April, but two tickets for around $2,000 could still be a good deal depending on how you value redemptions. If you’re used to paying $4,000-$5,000 for a business class ticket, clearly it’s a great value.

I still need to use my Travel Together Ticket, and I’ve noticed that recently British Airways has pulled back a lot of its Business/First class availability, so I’m having a hard time booking out of New York on the dates I want to go. However, you can use the ticket on Open Skies, and they do have some availability from New York to Paris.

In general, the British Airways devaluation isn’t good news, but it’s also not catastrophic, and if you know how to maximize Avios, it’s business as usual. I’m still going to continue holding onto my British Airways Visa, and if you don’t yet have the card, you should definitely get it, because the 50,000 Avios sign-up bonus plus the first year fee waived makes it a no-brainer.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now
  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home.
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable $95 0% Excellent Credit