Limited Time Offer: British Airways Credit Card Offers 100,000 American Airlines Miles in Signup Bonus - NerdWallet
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Limited Time Offer: British Airways Credit Card Offers 100,000 American Airlines Miles in Signup Bonus

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Aw, nerds! Looks like this offer’s expired and the bonus is back down to 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. It’s still a good offer, but you might want to check out the best sign-up bonuses out there.

That’s right, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card’s 100,000-mile sign-up promo is back! The best part is that even though the bonus pays out in Avios (British Airways’ point system), you can redeem them for AAdvantage miles, giving you $1,000 of travel on American Airlines. Since BA is part of the OneWorld Alliance, you can apply the 100k Avios in the sign-up bonus to any partner airline. Whether you’re flying American or traveling internationally, this sign-up bonus can net you $1,000 of travel. Here’s how the bonus works: You get 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. If you spend $10,000 in the first year, you’ll get 25,000 more points, and if you spend $10k more ($20,000 cumulatively in the first year), you get an additional 25,000 points for a cool one hundred thousand.

The card earns a higher base rewards rate than most airline cards, giving 2.5 Avios per $1 spent on British Airways and 1.25 per $1 spent elsewhere. As mentioned before, you can redeem your miles on American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and its other partner airlines.* This means that the British Airways Visa Signature® Card earns 25% more miles for American Airlines than does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®. Elite status earned on BA carries over to the other airlines as well.

*Caveat: you have to book flights between the US and UK on British Airways, if possible. So you can’t use your Avios to get a flight on American Airlines to London, but you can fly pretty much anywhere else, domestically or internationally.

Everything has a price

There are two major downsides of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. The first is the annual fee of $95, which isn’t waived the first year, but which is more than mitigated by the sign-up bonus worth $1,000 of travel. The second is that if you do redeem your rewards for transatlantic airline flights, you have to pay taxes and fees in addition to forking over your miles. According to Chase’s website, you’re on the hook for about $650 in economy and $1,100 in business class from New York to London. That’s a pretty significant chunk of change. Still, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has a lot to recommend it, not least because you can redeem your miles on airlines (like AA) that don’t have such heavy fees. Plus, it offers some great features for international travelers, including:

  • EMV chip-and-signature technology, so you can actually use your card in Europe;
  • A free companion ticket that you can use in any cabin, every year that you make $30k in purchases or more; and
  • Waived foreign transaction fees, key for any self-respecting international credit card.

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is one of the best options out there, offering you a good deal on domestic as well as international travel. If you’re a big spender, the companion ticket alone can be worth $500+ a year. You earn 25% more rewards than the standard airline card rewards rate of 2 miles per $1 spent on the airline/1 mile per $1 spent elsewhere. And it’s one of very few American credit cards that has EMV technology, which the rest of the world mocks us for not having and which is so widespread in Europe that many places don’t even accept clunky magnetic stripe cards anymore. If you’re leery of the annual fee but tempted by the bonus, an alternative is the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. It comes with a pretty decent sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. It does have an annual fee, however: Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. Fortunately, the rewards more than make up for the annual fee. It has no foreign transaction fee, but unlike the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, it doesn’t have fancy perks like a companion ticket, EMV technology or a higher rewards rate.

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  • Thallewell

    Considering BritishAirways.com is offering Flights to London for $801 already, spending $650 on taxes and $95 on the card fee ($745 total) is really not much of a deal at all.

    Truth is this card is pretty much bullcrap.

  • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

    While BA does skew their ticket price towards fees rather than fare, you can redeem your miles anywhere on the OneWorld Alliance, which includes American and a few other major airlines. Through this offer, you can basically get $1,000 of travel on AA, and their fee structure is much lighter on the taxes and surcharges. The card is also most helpful if you’re a big spender, who will qualify for the companion ticket that you get with $30k of annual spending (which can be quite lucrative, especially if you’re flying business), or if you travel internationally, where the EMV chip comes in handy.

    • Thallewell

      Got it. Thanks for the additional info.

  • Herc333

    Do you know the expiration date of this offer?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      We don’t know the expiration date, but I’d hazard a guess that it’d be less than half a year.

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  • http://www.syalam.com/ Sheehan Alam

    I earned 100K miles last year with this card. I cancelled it last month in March. Would I be eligible this year to apply for this sign-up bonus?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      I would ask them beforehand, since many companies have policies against giving you the bonus if you cancel and re-apply for cards. They also have clauses in the fine print stipulating that they don’t have to give you the miles if you have a record of bonus-hunting.

  • http://www.nextpay.com/ payment processing

    The key to this card is to fly with a partner airline. My roundtrip ticket from Albuquerque, NM to Santiago Chile April 2012 had about $85 in taxes and fees. Adding the annual fee to the trip, it costs about $170 total. It takes some hustling and hassling with the airlines and flight dates, but it is possible to take advantage of this offer. Good luck everyone!

  • http://twitter.com/askmrlee askmrlee

    Two points are horribly wrong in this article.

    1) You cannot transfer BA Avios points to an American AAdvantage account. I think the author meant that you can redeem Avios for travel on American Airlines, but don’t think you can combine BA and AA points.

    2) Chase is issuing Chip and Signature cards, not Chip and PIN. You will likely still have trouble using automated ticketing machines and kiosks that require a PIN to complete the transaction.

    A mag stripe card can still be read at at attended merchant worldwide. Yes, you may have logistical challenges (and language barriers) to get a merchant to understand that you swipe not “dip” the card but a traditional card should still work.

    One key advantage with BA Avios is that they offer household accounts where you can combine points within a designated household at the same residence (not business), so you could get 100,000 points for each spouse’s card and combine this 200,000 into one big award. Also point expiration is 36 months, not 18 like most US airlines.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi there,

      You’re absolutely right about the chip-and signature technology: unattended kiosks in Europe may not work. It’s unfortunate that they’ve only going halfway, but it’s better than nothing.

      We mentioned that you can redeem your miles on AA, but you can’t transfer them into an alternative points program. However, you are able to use your miles to get an American Airlines (or other OneWorld partner) ticket, as long as you’re not going from the US to the UK or vice versa.

      The two points you mentioned are definitely advantages of the British Airways points program, and combined with the Travel Together ticket (which you get if you spend $30k a year with the BA card), it makes the Chase card a great option if you travel with someone.

      • http://twitter.com/askmrlee askmrlee

        Thanks for correcting. Hopefully people will read your reply because when the first paragraph says “you say you redeem them for AAdvantage miles”, it sounds like there is a point conversion option, but of course there is not.

        The only point conversion programs are with card programs like SPG, higher end Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, Diners Club and Amex Membership Rewards.

        • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

          Hi there,

          Thanks for pointing out the errors! Yeah, unfortuntately straight-up mile transfers are few and far between, and as far as I know, the Starwood American Express is a rare branded travel card to do so. On the plus side, they actually give you better than a 1:1 transfer: they’ll give you an extra 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 you transfer to airline miles, so you get 1.25 airline miles for every Starpoint transferred.

          There are a few airlines where you don’t get a 1:1 transfer, though: the value is halved on United and VARIG, doubled on LAN, and when you redeem for Air New Zealand miles, you have to trade a whopping 65 Starpoints for just one point (that said, a Kiwi mile goes a lot further than usual).

          • Askmrlee

            http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/british-airways-credit-card-review/

            I don’t want to take a second job as your editor (maybe guest writer) but could you please tell Tim that 100,000 Avios points do not equal 100,000 AAdvantage miles and that foreign transaction fees can be incurred without changing currencies or leaving the US. 

            Otherwise this is a great promo for the right audience.

  • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

    Hi there,

    Since you can use the miles at a 1:1 ratio on American and British Airways, we consider 100,000 Avios to be equivalent to 100,000 AAdvantage miles. And this is a good time to clarify: foreign transaction fees don’t require a conversion to another currency – it’s levied on all purchases made overseas. Thanks!

    • Joh

      how many times can you be wrong in a row?

      • http://smashingtops.com/career-2/10-credit-card-processing-companies/ Steve

        He straightened the mentioned errors, now what’s wrong? I totally agree with Tim.

        I guess some of you are just trolling around here.

        Steve

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  • Dd

    Mistake my friend, AVIOS points and the offer are NOT transferable to AAdvantage miles. Sadly Avios suck, they are expensive, surcharges are exorbitant and attempting to use their site for partner filght is close to impossible. Save the $95 annual fee and walk awayto better milage programs…

  • Sbalchemy

    caveat emptor… or however you spell it… buyer beware… i got this card, and yes, you DO ge the miles, but BA charges a “fuel surcharge” to cross the pond that can run the same as a discount ticket… I am not sure about AA….

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      BA’s fuel surcharge makes redeeming for a British Airways ticket quite a hassle, but thankfully, if you redeem for an American Airlines reward flight, you can avoid the surcharge. Your miles get really, really, really devalued when you redeem on BA, but they pretty much retain their value on American.

  • http://creditcardloginfinder.com/walmart-credit-card-login LOG

    Great offer!!
    Feeling cool to see this awesome offer!!
    I was seeking a such type of offer! I will test it ASAP!!

  • blakjak

    Big disclaimer to people who plan on booking AA flights using AVIOS flights: Some award travel is not even available when redeeming Avios points. I’ve run into this case a couple of times. I’ve called the AVIOS Executive Club and they mentioned that not all AAdvantage Award Travel is released to British Airways for booking.

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    Awesome offer!!
    I am feeling happy to see your wonderful offer.
    I would like to test your offer as soon as possible!!

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    Fabulous!!
    It is offer that i am looking for.what a nice offer!!
    I am really happy to see this offer.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  • sree

    Actually the miles are a great to be used to upgrade flights rather than book new since it makes sense.

  • Tobinc

    good luck trying to redeem AVOIS points for travel on American Airlines within the U.S. I’ve been trying for over 1 year and there is NEVER any availability. I’ve given up and am using them for car rental and hotels — only problem is that AVOIS points are only worth about 1/3 cents per point that way.

    • Micah008

      After doing a search, make sure you then click “Include Partners”. Then, you may need to use the “Search up to 7 days later” and “Search up to 7 days earlier” buttons to find dates with availability. Otherwise I would just call them.

      The website is very difficult to use, but at least for me there are some dates available.

  • Tobinc

    good luck trying to redeem AVOIS points for travel on American Airlines within the U.S. I’ve been trying for over 1 year and there is NEVER any availability. I’ve given up and am using them for car rental and hotels — only problem is that AVOIS points are only worth about 1/3 cents per point that way.