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You might be wondering why you would need points in the frequent flyer program of the United Kingdom’s largest airline? Well, these British Airways points — which are called “Avios” — are significantly more useful than they might seem at first glance. Yes, you can use them to fly on British Airways, but they also have many other uses which can be ultimately more valuable. We’ll get to that in a moment.

The British Airways Visa Signature Card has offered a tiered sign-up bonus for up to 100,000 Avios since April 2018, but now there’s another offer available. New card holders can now earn up to 120,000 Avios, but they’ll need to spend $30,000 in the first 12 months to max out the bonus.

With this new offer, you’ll earn 4 Avios per dollar on all purchases within your first year, up to $30,000. That works out to $2,500 per month.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 4 Avios per dollar equals a return of 6%. If you spend $30,000 in your first year to earn the full 120,000 Avios, you’ll get $1,800 in value based on those valuations.

The previous sign-up offer topped out at 100,000 Avios compared to 120,000 with this new one, but the old offer had a lower spending requirement. Earning the full 100,000 Avios required spending a total of $20,000 in the first 12 months, while with this new offer you’ll need to spend $30,000 to earn 120,000 Avios. If you wanted to shoot for 100,000 Avios with this offer instead of maxing it out to 120,000, you’d have to spend $25,000 in the first 12 months — so $5,000 more than what the previous offer required for the same amount of points.

It’s worth noting that the tiered offer for up to 100,000 Avios is still available directly on Chase’s website, so if you don’t want to go for the extra 20,000 Avios that could be a good option.

Keep in mind you don’t have to spend $30,000 to reap bonus rewards with this current offer — you could opt to spend $10,000 in your first account year and walk away with 40,000 Avios, for instance. In fact, before you put a substantial amount of spending on the British Airways Visa to earn 4x Avios, consider the opportunity cost of using this card over other options that earn you valuable bonus rewards on purchases such as dining and airfare.

American Airlines has some of its best business class seats on flights to Seoul (ICN) and Tokyo (NRT).
Use Avios to snag a business class seat on American Airlines, especially when the airline is flying internationally configured 777s within the US.

So back to the original question: Why would you want Avios? Well, British Airways is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which means you can use these Avios to book flights on any of those partner airlines. The program also uses a distance-based award chart rather than a traditional region-based chart. Those two factors open up a whole world of possibilities, such as…

And that’s just a sampling. Interestingly enough, the one thing you probably won’t want to do with these Avios is book long-haul trips on British Airways itself, because the carrier tacks on outlandish carrier surcharges for those flights. You also won’t want to sit endlessly on these Avios, as BA has been musing for a while now about changing up its program to a fixed-value revenue-based system.

But under the current program, having a stash of Avios can be extremely helpful, especially when booking awards close to departure since the program has no close-in booking fee. So now’s a good time to take a look at your travel goals and consider whether this British Airways Visa bonus offer of up to 120,000 Avios makes sense for you.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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British Airways Visa Signature® Card
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More Things to Know
  • Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That’s up to 120,000 bonus Avios
  • 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.
  • 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, you will then earn 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.
  • Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
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