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Shh, it’s a Secret: British Airways Credit Card Offers 100,000 Avios Miles Bonus

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That’s right, the British Airways Visa’s 100,000-mile signup 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 signup bonus to any partner airline. Whether you’re flying American or traveling internationally, this signup bonus can net you $1,000 of travel. Here’s how the bonus works: You’ll get 50,000 Avios when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. 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 100,000 total.

However, this card is not offered on the NerdWallet site. This means we can’t guarantee its accuracy and encourage you to triple-check the terms of the offer. (Also, you didn’t hear it from us). Here’s the link:

http://www.britishairways.com/travel/credit-cards/public/en_us#

About the British Airways card

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 BA card earns 25% more miles for American Airlines than does the AAdvantage card. 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 three major downsides of the British Airways card. The first is the annual fee ($95), which isn’t waived the first year, but which is more than mitigated by the signup bonus worth $1,000 of travel. The second is that to get the full 100,000-mile bonus, you need to spend $20,000 a year–a steep price for most people.

The third 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 BA 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
  • Waived foreign transaction fees, key for any self-respecting international credit card

The BA 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. It pays out 40,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, worth $500 of travel booked through Chase, when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Its $95 annual fee is waived in the first year, making it ideal for those who just want to snag the signup promo. It has no foreign transaction fee, but unlike the British Airways card, it doesn’t have fancy perks like a companion ticket, EMV technology or a higher rewards rate.

  • http://moneystepper.com/ moneystepper

    Sounds like a good deal – however, it seems that the offer for UK users is much less generous! No fair!!!

  • Diotallevi

    I just signed up for this. Great deal considering the companion ticket will save me at least a couple grand by itself. As a side note, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card now does have EMV technology. I just received mine today.

  • long.tail.of.finance

    As a U.S. resident, the best way to avoid the U.K. taxes and fees is to use your avios for hotel and rental car bookings. Wife and I did this for our Las Vegas trip and it worked out perfectly. Best to book your flights using U.S. domestic carriers like United and avoid those steep taxes. I mean really, $1,100 for business class on BA? What a rip off!

  • gum_guy

    The trick is to redeem Avios on AA flights. It’s stated in the post but really should be in bold and italics!