British Airways Credit Card Review: Get 100,000 Bonus Miles!
On the hunt for free airfare – say, a roundtrip business class ticket? Right now, the British Airways credit card is offering a massive signup bonus redeemable for both domestic and international flights. You’ll get 50,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus 25,000 when you spend $10,000 in the first 12 months and an additional 25k when you spend $20,000 total in the first 12 months.
If you’d like to redeem your bonus for domestic flights within the US, you can do so by swapping Avios for American Airlines airfare. Because British Airways and American Airlines both fall under the OneWorld Alliance, the exchange rate is 1:1, meaning 100,000 Avios translates to 100,000 AAdvantage Miles. Whichever airline you choose, you have $500 right off the bat. This is one of the biggest signup bonuses you’ll find today.
|British Airways Visa Signature® Card|
|Annual Fee||Signup Bonus||APR , Variable*||APR Promotions|
|$95||50,000 Avios Bonus after spending $1,000 - in the first 3 months||15.24% (Variable)||Purchase: None
Rewards: not just your average airline card
Most airline cards tend to offer 2% back on airline purchases and 1% back on everything else. The British Airways card does it a little better. You earn 2.5 Avios per dollar spent at British Airways, and the base rate is 1.25 Avios per dollar spent on purchases across the board. Not a bad little bump. And remember, Avios can be redeemed at full value with American Airlines. You actually earn 25% more American Airlines rewards with the BA Visa than with an American Airlines AAdvantage card.
TIP: As an astute reader pointed out, you can redeem your miles on American or other partner airlines, but you can’t transfer them. That is, you can’t combine 20,000 AAdvantage miles and 5,000 Avios for a 25,000-mile award flight.
Big spenders will also appreciate the opportunity to earn an annual “Travel Together Ticket.” Every year you charge $30k to your British Airways card, you will receive a voucher good for one companion ticket on a flight booked using rewards miles. The voucher is good for up to two years and is worth at least $200 (or 20,000 bonus points). If you use the companion ticket for a first-class or overseas voyage, your savings could potentially be in the thousands of dollars. For those who charge $30k annually, this is the most valuable recurring perk the British Airways Visa offers.
Foreign transaction fees? What foreign transaction fees?
Like any worthwhile international travel card, the British Airways charges no foreign transaction fees. The standard F/X rate is 3% on every out-of-country purchase (2.7% if you’re lucky). That means with most cards spending just $3,000 abroad incurs $90 in fees–nearly the cost of the British Airways Visa’s annual fee. Fortunately the BA Visa waives the F/X fee altogether, saving you a substantial chunk of money on every international purchase.
Don’t be deterred by the annual fee
At $95, the annual fee may seem a little steep. If you do a decent amount of traveling, this should be of little concern to you. The signup bonus alone is worth about $500, and the ongoing rewards are well worth the cost if you use your card enough. Plus, the savings from free foreign transactions help to balance out the price.
Can I book flights on American Airlines with British Airways miles?
Being a cardholder makes you an ”Executive Club” member. As such, you will be able to redeem British Airways miles for flights on any of the OneWorld airlines. This includes American Airlines and its subsidiaries, giving you access to both domestic and international flights.
British Airways Executive Club members can now earn and redeem miles and earn Tier Points on all American Airlines flights. This includes transatlantic flights and British Airways codeshare services operated by American Airlines booked under the BA code.
There is one small caveat. When booking flights between the US and UK, you’re required to fly with British Airways if possible (instead of booking cheaper tickets with another airline). Still, you can redeem Avios miles with partner airlines to any other destination. For a thorough breakdown of how many miles are needed to fly with BA or its partner airlines to various worldwide destinations, check out this table.
Not ready to commit to BA?
Rather than dedicating yourself to a single airline, you can use a card like the Capital One Venture for a wider variety of travel rewards. This is actually our favorite travel card, as it offers 2 miles for every dollar spent anywhere. You can redeem miles for flights on any airline, stays at any hotel or car rentals with any agency. Like the British Airways card, the Venture does not charge a foreign transaction fee. Its annual fee is substantially lower at $59 (waived the first year). We adore the Venture for its simplicity and versatility. The BA does have much larger signup bonus, and the companion ticket is a great deal, but the Venture doesn’t bind you to one particular travel service.
Another top-of-the-line travel card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a signup bonus of 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.. Rewards accumulate at 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, and the annual 7% rewards dividend adds another dimension to your earnings. The Sapphire has the same $95 annual fee as the British Airways card but is waived the first year. As you might expect, the Sapphire also has no foreign transaction fee.
The OneWorld Alliance
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines