British Airways Visa Bonus Categories Changing in May

Mar 17, 2015

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Chase is notifying British Airways Visa Signature cardholders by letter of an upcoming change to its bonus earning categories. The card previously offered 2.5 Avios per dollar spent with British Airways, and 1.25 Avios per dollar spent elsewhere, but as of April 30, 2015, cardholders will instead receive 3 points per dollar on British Airways, and only 1 point per dollar otherwise.

I’ve reached out to Chase and am awaiting an official response, however there’s no reason that these changes would be only be for select cardholders, so it’s safe to assume that this change will be for all cardholders.

This is a pretty severe blow to one of the few airline cards that offers more than 1 point/mile per dollar for base spending. Despite the recently announced devaluation to the British Airways award chart (also planned for late April), there’s still plenty of value to be had from the Avios program with short-haul economy redemptions. However, earning those points just got more difficult.

The British Airways Visa has made my list of Top 10 Travel Rewards Credit Cards for the last few months — partly because Chase has been running a limited time offer that waives the annual fee for the first year — but losing the spending bonus might put that run in jeopardy.

The card certainly still has value to offer. For starters, you can get a hefty sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. The Travel Together Ticket lets you bring a companion along on an award flight after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Plus, I still think Avios are more valuable than most other airline miles, so I’d rather earn 1 point per dollar with the BA Visa than, say, one mile per dollar with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. However, it might make more sense after this change to earn points with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, or Starwood Preferred Guest, and then transfer to British Airways as needed.

I’m disappointed by this change. The increased bonus for British Airways spending will be useful to some people, but I think the new earning rate is bad news for award travelers in general.

What are your thoughts on this change to the BA Visa?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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