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Ends Tonight: British Airways 100,000-Mile Signup Bonus

May 5, 2011
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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Aw nerds! It looks like this offer has expired. Please visit NerdWallet’s British Airways Visa Signature® Card page for updated info.

Tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, the British Airways Visa 100,000-mile promotion will disappear, taking with it the chance to get essentially $1,000 for signing up. If you’ve been thinking about the BA Visa and have put off applying until, say, a commercial break, you’d better get on it before the promotion expires at 11:59 P.M. Eastern time.

This is the best promotion we’ve seen since Capital One’s Match My Miles program, which ended a month early due to popular demand. This has been a year of frenzied rewards credit card deals as issuers scramble to snatch the big-spending, little-risk customers before their competitors can get to them. Hopefully the termination of the two big 100,000-mile programs is not a signal of the end of an era – and truthfully, there’s no reason to take it as such. Banks are still lending scared, so they’ll seek out low credit risks, and if the Durbin Amendment is implemented as planned, they’ll have even more of an incentive to push people to pay with credit rather than debit.

Fly business class to Europe and back, for free

The British Airways Visa shells out 50,000 miles after your first purchase, plus another 50,000 if you spend $2,500 in the first three months.

The 100k-mile signing bonus is enough to earn two transatlantic flights on British Airways, business class, to France, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.K., to name a few. If you go coach, congratulations: that’s two round-trip tickets on the house.

British Airways miles can also be redeemed on any of the OneWorld Alliance airlines, including American Airlines. Patriotically redeeming the 100k miles nets you four round-trip domestic flights. Other partner airlines include Cathay Pacific, Mexicana and Finnair. For a full list, check out our blog post.

The ongoing rewards: keep ‘em coming

The card earns 1.25 BA miles for every dollar spent, and twice that for every dollar spent on British Airways. Plus, if you spend $30,000 in a year, you’ll get a Travel Together ticket that allows someone else to fly with you, roundtrip, anywhere in the world, as long as you fly business. There is an annual fee of $95, but if you were to earn absolutely no rewards on the card, you’d have to hold it for 11 years before the annual fees would negate the signing bonus.

There are also a few perks associated with the BA Visa, namely, no foreign transaction fee. The industry standard is 3%, so if you spend $5,000 abroad in a given year, you’ll save $150. It’s also a premium credit card with Visa Signature benefits, which include discounts on preferred airlines, hotels and rental car agencies, 90-day purchase protection, lost luggage reimbursement, and rental car accident insurance.

As travel rewards cards go, the British Airways Visa offers a good host of benefits as a Visa Signature card, and eliminating foreign exchange fees can be a boon to frequent international travelers. While the AmEx Platinum offers a better suite of fringe benefits, the $450 annual fee is a fairly significant deterrent, and the British Airways Visa is great for those who frequently travel across the pond.

The 100k-mile promotion sweetens the deal considerably, so get ‘em while they’re hot.