Reviews Chase British Airways Visa Signature card review

Chase British Airways Visa Signature card review

Published: August 7, 2017
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Airline Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 5.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.6
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Flight Options: 4.5
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The British Airways Visa Signature card is fantastic for avid travelers, and its varied and generous benefits perfectly mitigate the relatively high annual fee.

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Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 British Airways purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 Avios if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • 25,000 additional Avios (75,000 total) if you spend $10,000 in first year
  • 25,000 additional Avios (100,000 total) if you spend $20,000 in first year

Annual Bonus
Earn a Travel Together Ticket (companion ticket) each year you make $30,000 in purchases

Annual Fee
$95

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$871

APR
16.99% – 23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Pay for travel on British Airways and American Airlines with partial points
  • Use points for airfare, upgrades, hotel stays, car rental and experiences
  • No close-in booking fee
  • No booking fees
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Excellent redemption value on partner airlines and upgrades on British Airways

Cons

  • Phone booking fee
  • Limited rewards seats on flights (sometimes very limited)
  • Huge spend required to earn companion ticket
  • High cost for tax and fuel surcharges on long-haul British Airway flights (equals the cost of a regular ticket on some airlines)

Flight Options

  • Number of airline partners: 14
  • Number of daily flights: 14,250
  • Number of destinations: 1,000
  • Number of countries served: 150

Other Notable Features: No foreign-transaction fee, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage insurance, concierge service, hotel discounts and upgrades, purchase security, travel accident insurance

Rewards Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 5.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.8
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

One of the best airline cards on the market, this super charged premium card offers frequent transatlantic fliers an accessible sign-up bonus that amply rewards heavy spenders, a plentiful point bonus on airfare, valuable travel perks and generously priced rewards points that are worth more than twice the average credit card rewards point.

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Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 British Airways purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 Avios if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • 25,000 additional Avios (75,000 total) if you spend $10,000 in first year
  • 25,000 additional Avios (100,000 total) if you spend $20,000 in first year

Annual Fee
$95

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$871

APR
16.99% – 23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Pay for travel on British Airways and American Airlines with partial points
  • Use points for airfare, upgrades, hotel stays, car rental and experiences
  • No close-in booking fee
  • No booking fees
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Excellent redemption value on partner airlines and upgrades on British Airways

Cons

  • Phone booking fee
  • Limited rewards seats on flights (sometimes very limited)
  • Huge spend required to earn companion ticket
  • High cost for tax and fuel surcharges on long-haul British Airway flights (equals the cost of a regular ticket on some airlines)

Other Notable Features: No foreign-transaction fee, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage insurance, concierge service, hotel discounts and upgrades, purchase security, travel accident insurance

Travel Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

One of the most generous airline cards around, the British Airways Visa Signature card showers international travelers with ample rewards that are worth more than twice the value of the average credit card rewards point, an enormous sign-up bonus and enviable perks, such as an annual companion certificate for heavy spenders.

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Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 British Airways purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 Avios if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • 25,000 additional Avios (75,000 total) if you spend $10,000 in first year
  • 25,000 additional Avios (100,000 total) if you spend $20,000 in first year


Annual Fee
$95

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$871

APR
16.99% – 23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Pay for travel on British Airways and American Airlines with partial points
  • Use points for airfare, upgrades, hotel stays, car rental and experiences
  • No close-in booking fee
  • No booking fees
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Excellent redemption value on partner airlines and upgrades on British Airways

Cons

  • Phone booking fee
  • Limited rewards seats on flights (sometimes very limited)
  • Huge spend required to earn companion ticket
  • High cost for tax and fuel surcharges on long-haul British Airway flights (equals the cost of a regular ticket on some airlines)

Other Notable Features: No foreign-transaction fee, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage insurance, concierge service, hotel discounts and upgrades, purchase security, travel accident insurance

You might not like the $95 annual fee, but if you love saving money on travel, the British Airways Visa Signature card from Chase is worth the price of admission. The annual fee is a small investment, considering what you get out of this product. Such perks include an excellent sign-up bonus and great earning scheme. Plus, you get one of the best frequent flier programs in the world, with a global reach that goes beyond flying on one airline. No matter where you go in the world, Avios – the British Airways Executive Club currency – will help you get airborne even if British Airways doesn’t fly there.

Not everything about the British Airways Visa Signature card –and the airline itself –is peachy, but savvy globetrotters know how to thrive on the “good” and steer clear of the “bad.” You can use Avios on other airlines around the world, including American Airlines in the U.S. and Canada, Alaska Airlines to fly to Hawaii, LAN Airlines in Latin America; British Airways or Aer Lingus in Europe, Cathay Pacific in Southeast Asia, Japan Airlines in Japan, and Qantas Airways in Australia.

If you don’t mind doing some research, you can learn how to redeem Avios wisely. This helps you  maximize the benefits and minimize the cost. Redemption begins with just 4,500 Avios, or 7,500 Avios for flights originating or terminating in the U.S.

100,000 Avios sign-up bonus
You get 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This initial bonus is among the largest sign-up bonuses among airline rewards cards, and the spending requirements are relatively low for such a colossal bonus.

British Airways also recently tacked on additional bonuses for cardholders who use the card heavily within the first year. Cardholders can earn up to 50,000 additional Avios — 25,000 Avios for spending $10,000 on the card in the first year and another 25,000 Avios for spending $20,000 on the card in the first year — for a total of 100,000 Avios. This places the sign-up bonus on the British Airways card — which was already very generous — among the largest sign-up bonuses currently available among rewards cards. However, the $20,000 spending threshold required to earn the bonus is very high and may be beyond the means of the average cardholder.

Great earning scheme
The British Airways Visa Signature card earning scheme is above average as well. You earn three points per dollar on British Airways purchases and one point per dollar on everything else. If you frequently buy tickets on British Airways, you will rack up a substantial number of Avios in no time.

Travel Together Ticket
The Travel Together Ticket is a companion pass you earn each year after spending $30,000 on the card. This is a high spend requirement that cardholders may not be able to reach, but it’s a valuable perk if you can meet the threshold. It entitles you to a complimentary ticket for your companion when you book a flight with Avios. Of course, it’s not really “free,” because British Airways is known to add huge so-called “carrier surcharges” to your award ticket, equaling up to $1,250 per ticket.

There are other restrictions as well. You have to fly round trip from the U.S., and the companion pass is only valid on British Airways. Still, the Travel Together Ticket can be a terrific value, especially for flying business or first class on a special occasion.

High APR for a rewards card
The card comes with a variable annual percentage rate that is on the high side, even for an airline rewards card. As is the case with most rewards cards, the British Airways card is not designed for cardholders with revolving balances. If you do not intend to pay off your balance each month, you would be better served by a card with a low APR.

Other travel benefits
Aside from the generous bonuses and the companion ticket, the card doesn’t come with any special airline perks, such as free baggage or priority boarding. Still, it does include some useful benefits, such as car rental insurance and concierge services. Notably, the card doesn’t charge a foreign-transaction fee. You can use the card abroad without having to pay an extra 2 to 3 percent for the convenience, and earn some extra Avios along the way.

Reasons to get it:

  • You frequently fly British Airways, or one of its partners.
  • You want to take advantage of the British Airways Visa Signature card’s sign-up and spending bonuses.
  • You are planning a special trip in a business or first class and want to earn a companion pass.

How to use it:

  • Make sure to meet the $3,000 spending requirement within three months to earn the sign-up bonus.
  • Since British Airways Executive Club is a distance-based program, try to redeem Avios on short- and medium-haul nonstop flights for the best value.
  • Avoid redeeming Avios on British Airways for long-haul flights due to the excessively high “carrier surcharges.” For flights to Europe, redeem Avios on Aer Lingus or Air Berlin.
  • Use the Travel Together Ticket for flying in first or business class, where you will get a better value due to the high “carrier surcharges.”

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