Who Is the British Airways Visa Signature Card Good For?
Most co-branded airline cards offer two (or more, for more expensive cards) miles per dollar spent on their own airline, but they pretty much universally offer just one mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Though an extra quarter of a point doesn’t sound like much, over the course of the year, a 25 percent bonus on earning can go a long way. Combine this with the high value of Avios, and you’ve got a potent card that’s valuable for any traveler, whether you primarily fly domestic or international.
The British Airways Visa Signature card typically carries a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles called Avios, receivable after making $2,000 worth of purchases with the card within three months of opening the account.
The total sign-up bonus will sometimes rise to as much as 100,000 Avios. The Avios are disbursed through a tiered minimum spending structure, such that you’ll get 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000 in three months and the additional 25,000 to 50,000 Avios for spending $15,000 to $20,000 in a year.
- 3 Avios per dollar spent on British Airways
- 1 Avios per dollar spent on everything else
What Do Your Avios Get You?
Though British Airways belongs to the smallest of the three major airline alliances, oneworld, it opens you up to some powerful redemption options with:
- American Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- LAN Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- SriLankan Airlines
To fly domestically, you can take advantage of the British Airways partnership with American Airlines to get nearly anywhere you need to go domestically.
When you redeem Avios on these flights, depending on the destination and award availability, you can use significantly fewer Avios than you would American miles, because British Airways uses a distance-based award calculation, so you don’t automatically have to use a minimum of 25,000 miles round-trip to travel domestically. In addition, British Airways doesn’t have capacity-based award pricing, so that price will always be the same between any given city pair.
To fly to Europe without the high fees that British Airways is known for, you can transfer your Avios through Avios.com to Iberia, which is technically part of British, but operates under its own livery, to book the same flight with a fraction of the fees.
- No fees on international purchases
- Priority boarding on American Airlines flights booked with Avios
- Avios can be transferred directly to an Iberia account to fly to/from Europe without fuel surcharges
- Pool points together by household
- No last-minute booking fees
- Some of the highest fuel surcharge fees in the industry
- $55 change or cancellation and redeposit fee
- Avios can only be redeposited if you cancel more than 24 hours before departure
How Far Do Your Points Dollars Go?
British Airways Avios can have a very high value when redeemed for things besides British Airways flights.
When you use them for domestic flights on American Airlines, you can get a round-trip ticket for just 15,000 Avios by maximizing the distance-based award chart. Here’s one such flight:
If you bought that same flight in cash, you’d pay $357:
That gives your Avios a 2.38-cent-per-point value, and you can go even higher.
Additional Cardholder Benefits:
- Travel Together ticket for a free second award ticket, even in first class, after $30,000 spend per calendar year
- Auto rental collision insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel and emergency assistance