British Airways Visa Signature® Card
The British Airways Visa Signature card from Chase is a great credit card for any traveler, even if you don’t often fly with British Airways. It’s also the sole credit card geared toward U.S. consumers that earns British Airways Avios. We’ll explore why this is a great card worth considering even if you’re not a frequent flyer on this legacy carrier.
Right now, the card has an amazing 100,000 points sign-up bonus which can be used for some serious travel through Executive Club, British Airways’ great distance-based loyalty program. Another great benefit is the Travel Together Ticket, a companion award earned after spending $30,000 per year on the card. What’s more, the card has a great earning rate on purchases made directly with British Airways. The only downside to the Executive Club program is that British Airways adds high fuel surcharges to award bookings, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers and the value of the Chase Executive Club Avios you earn.
Right now, Chase is offering one of the highest sign-up bonuses ever for their British Airways card. After spending 3,000 in the first 3 months, you’ll earn 50,000 Avios, which is what the airline calls its rewards currency. But, it doesn’t stop there. If you spend a total of $10,000 within the first 12 months, you’ll be awarded with an extra 25,000 Avios. And if you spend an additional $10,000 (for a total of $20,000) within the first 12 months, you’ll earn an extra 25,000 points. That’s a total of 100,000 Avios, which is an amazing deal!
What You Get
- Earn 50,000 Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Get 25,000 more Avios after spending $10,000 within 12 months
- And an additional 25,000 Avios if you spend another $10,000
- That's a total of 100,000 Avios in the first year if you spend $20,000
After receiving your monthly credit card statement, Chase deposits your earned Avios into your British Airways Executive Club account. Your Avios are now part of BA’s loyalty program. Any Avios you earn from credit card spending, flying or BA’s other partners won’t expire as long as you collect, spend, buy or transfer one Avios every 36 months. Even if you cancel the card down the road, you won’t forfeit your earned miles.
What is the value of the Executive Club Avios?
British Airways’ award chart is based on distance traveled instead of zones. This means that the number of Avios you need for an award ticket is based on the number of miles flown (per segment if making stops) instead of where you’re originating from and traveling to. You’ll see that redemptions start at just 4,500 Avios for flights under 650 miles (but this only applies to flights outside of the United States). These short hauls can translate to great deals! Conversely, longer flights in premium cabins can cost a fortune compared to what other airlines charge for the same redemption, even on the same exact flight.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Executive Club Avios
Redemptions for the British Airways’ loyalty program, the Executive Club, are distance-based, as opposed to zone-based or revenue-based. Looking over their award chart, you can see the number of miles needed based on the distance per segment. In general, business class awards cost twice as many Avios as economy, and first class awards cost three times more.
As part of the oneworld alliance, Avios can be redeemed on any oneworld carrier, so there is real value to be had for economy seats. Business and first class awards are sometimes lower than what other zone- based carriers may charge, too.
New York–San FranciscoEconomy classMiles price25,000Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$621
Seattle–AtlantaEconomy classMiles price40,000Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$467
Boston–Fort LauderdaleEconomy classMiles price25,000Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$211
London–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price32,500Avios+$480.6 feeDollars price$848
Charlotte–BermudaEconomy classMiles price30,000Avios+$80.6 feeDollars price$897
Philadelphia–TorontoEconomy classMiles price32,500Avios+$80.6 feeDollars price$1,326
Chicago–Las VegasBusiness classMiles price50,000Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$829
Minneapolis–New YorkBusiness classMiles price50,000Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$767
Miami–HonoluluBusiness classMiles price67,500Avios+$11.2 feeDollars price$2,906
Washington–LondonBusiness classMiles price110,000Avios+$1267 feeDollars price$3,544
Dallas–DublinBusiness classMiles price168,000Avios+$1134 feeDollars price$3,766
Chicago–LondonBusiness classMiles price140,000Avios+$1265.42 feeDollars price$3,726
Other ways you can redeem Avios
Hotel Stays19 partners19 part.
You can book hotels using Avios to pay for part or all of your stay.
Car Rental2 partners2 part.
Another way to redeem Avios is for car rentals through British Airway’s website.
Currently, you cannot redeem your Avios for gift cards.
Redeeming Avios for cash back is not an option with the BA card.
When you use your British Airways card, you’ll earn one Avios per dollar spent on most purchases. Whether you’re going shopping, dining out or paying your cell phone bill, you’ll earn Avios with any merchant that accepts Visa. If you purchase airfare directly with British Airways, Iberia and Open Skies, you’ll earn two additional Avios per dollar spent. With this credit card, there is no maximum to the number of Avios you can earn each year.
- Car Rental
- Executive Club Purchases
- All Other Purchases
For every calendar year you make $30,000 or more in net purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you will earn a Travel Together Ticket valid for two years. Redeem your Avios for one reward seat for yourself, then use your Travel Together Ticket to bring a friend for only the cost of taxes and fees.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Whether at home or abroad, this card does not charge foreign transactions fees on your purchases.
Earn Elite Status Fast
Although you can earn Avios fast and even qualify for the Travel Together ticket by putting lots of spend on this card, doing so does not fast track you to elite status with British Airways.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The annual fee for the British Airways credit card is 95 . If we assume Avios are worth at least 1.66 cents each, you would need to spend $5,723 per year to cover the annual fee. That works out to about $477 per month. Conversely, if you spend about $2,000 per month on the card, you’ll have covered the cost of the annual fee in less than three months.
Another way to think about the annual fee is in terms of how much value you’re getting from the sign- up bonus. If you earn just the 50,000-Avios bonus, it would be worth $829.50 (using the value of 1.66 cpm). That would cover the annual fee for eight years. However, if you earned the full 100,000-Avios sign-up bonus, it would be worth $1,659 and would cover the annual fee for 17 years! That’s incredible value from one credit card sign-up bonus!
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100; up to $27 if the balance is $100 to less than $250; up to $37 if the balance is $250 or more
- Balance Transfer Fee
- Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Annual Fee
- Foreign Transaction Fee
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $1,908 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card . Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card
There are many reasons to get the British Airways Visa card from Chase. First and foremost, the sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 Avios is outstanding and among the highest ever offered with this card. Secondly, the Travel Together Ticket has the potential to be worth much more than the $95 annual fee. Here are the Top 5 reasons to get this card.
- Big Sign-Up Bonus: The card’s amazing 100,000 Avios sign-up bonuses is easily worth over $1,650 and potentially much more.
- Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn 3X Avios for all British Airways, Iberia and Open Skies purchases and 1 point per dollar for everything else.
- Free Companion Ticket: With the Travel Together Ticket, a family or friend can fly with you for free on award flights after you spend $30,000 or more on the card during the cardmember year.
- Not Subject to Chase’s 5/24 Rule: If you’ve already opened five or more cards in the last 24 months, Chase’s notorious 5/24 rule won’t hurt your chances of getting approved.
- Great Redemption Possibilities: British Airways’ Executive Club program has some great redemption sweet spots, especially for non-U.S. short-haul flights under 650 miles.
Should You Get the British Airways Visa Signature® Card?
Although British Airways Avios aren’t hard to come by, this credit card is a great way to earn even more with the extremely generous sign-up bonus. And because British Airways Executive Club offers some great redemption opportunities on its own metal and with oneworld carriers, you don’t need to be a frequent British Airways customer to get a lot of value out of the card.
With only a 95 annual fee, the sign-up bonus more than outweighs the cost of the card. Plus, if you spend $30,000 or more each year, the Travel Together Ticket carries some serious value that completely offsets the annual fee.
Although this card doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some other co-branded airline cards have, it’s a great way to earn Avios fast if you often fly British Airways and its sister airlines. Even if you never fly BA, Avios are valuable if you use them with oneworld partners, such as American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and more. And since it’s not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, you’re still eligible for this card even if you’ve opened a lot of cards in the last two years.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
Most airlines mileage programs allow you to earn miles by flying with that carrier or its partners, through co-branded credit card spending and through other channels. British Airways Executive Club is exactly the same in that regard. Things get different when it comes time to redeem your miles.
Most carriers charge you a set number of miles to travel within one region of the world (i.e. the United States), or between two regions (let’s say the U.S. and Europe). Regardless of which city in the U.S. you’re traveling from, the number of miles you’ll need to get to Spain is fixed. There are exceptions, but this is how the classic airline redemption chart works.
With British Airways, the cost of your award redemption is calculated based on the number of miles being flown on each segment of your trip. Your cost in Avios is calculated based on distance traveled instead of which regions you’re traveling between. Simply put, for a short trip, this can be a very good thing; for a long trip, this can cost you a lot of Avios.
For example, to take the short flight between Madrid and Barcelona on BA’s partner Iberia, It will only cost 4,500 Avios plus taxes. If you book that same flight using American Airlines miles, you’ll pay 12,500 AA miles. But this also means that if you want to go from the U.S. to Spain you’ll pay more Avios to depart from Los Angeles than from New York, while with American Airlines the cost would be the same regardless of your departure city since both cities are in the same zone.
Most definitely, and in a lot of cases, this is where you can get great value from your Avios. You’ll also avoid fuel surcharges since you won’t be doing a straightforward award redemption.
To upgrade your class of service, you first start by purchasing your airfare (hopefully using your new BA card to earn triple Avios). You can then manage your booking online and upgrade using a combination of cash and Avios if there’s award space available. The cost of the upgrade depends on the award cost of the cabin you booked compared to the award cost of the cabin you wish to upgrade to. You can upgrade immediately after booking or any other time before your flight.
Simply put, the formula according to British Airways website is as follows:
Avios for the cabin you wish to upgrade to - Avios for the cabin you make your booking in = Avios required to upgrade one way
Unfortunately, yes. British Airways is one of the worst offenders in the airline industry for charging high fuel surcharges (also called carrier charges) on award bookings. In some cases, these fees can be so high that they negate the value of the Avios you plan to redeem.
During the financial crisis when airlines weren’t doing well, they introduced additional fees on award redemptions called fuel surcharges. This made a certain amount of sense because fuel prices were at an all-time high and airlines don’t make any money on you as a customer when you redeem miles for a free flight. Since the crisis, many airlines have reduced or eliminated these extra fees, but BA has not and charges dearly when you fly their airline.
At times, these charges may be unavoidable, but in most cases, you won’t pay these high fees when using your Avios to fly on one of British Airway’s partners. Generally, that’s because the fees are levied by the airline you’re actually flying, not the airline from which you’re redeeming miles. As always, there are exceptions.
Yes and no. When redeeming Avios directly through British Airways, you need to have enough Avios in your account to pay for the full ticket. You cannot use a partial amount of Avios and pay cash for the remaining balance of the ticket. However, BA’s sister Avios program offered by Iberia is different. Although very similar, the Iberia Avios program allows you to pay for award tickets in full, or at predetermined tiers of miles plus cash.
Yes! Because both airlines are owned by the same parent company, they also use the same loyalty program currency. While the programs are separate, there aren’t many differences, and you can transfer points freely between both programs.
When you sign up for the British Airways Visa card, an Executive Club membership will be created for you if you don’t already have one. To then transfer your Avios to Iberia’s program, you’ll need to set up a separate Iberia Avios membership. When logged in to your BA Avios account, you can navigate to transfer points between the two programs at no cost.
The only caveat is that your Iberia account must be “seasoned” in order to make a successful transfer to or from your British Airways Avios account. This means your Iberia membership must be at least 90 days old, and you’ll need to have some sort of activity in the account. This can be miles credited from a flight or points transferred from another loyalty program (like American Express Membership Rewards) or earned through another of Iberia’s partners that award Avios.
- British Airways is part of the oneworld alliance, so you can use your Avios to redeem flights on any of their partners. Here’s a list of those airlines:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airways (JAL)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- SriLankan Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
Other British Airways cards
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||United MileagePlus® Explorer Card|
|Sign-up bonus||40,000 points||50,000 Avios||40,000 miles|
|APR On Purchases||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$474||$398||$551|
Presently, the British Airways Visa Signature card from Chase is the only BA co-branded card available to U.S. consumers. Other major carriers, like Delta or American, offer multiple credit card options and even have business versions, but this is not the case with British Airways. Further, Iberia’s Avios program also does not have a credit card option in the U.S.
That said, there are other credit cards you can use to convert points to Avios. With Chase, if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, you can convert your Ultimate Rewards points to BA Avios at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, if you have an American Express card that offers Membership Rewards, you can also convert to either Avios program, but at the smaller ratio of 250:200. This is why there’s a lot of value to getting the BA credit card.
Compare the British Airways Visa Signature® Card to Other Cards
The British Airways card is very similar to other co-branded airline credit cards. All of the cards in the chart below earn miles for their respective airline’s loyalty programs. Those miles can be used for award redemptions on that airline as well as any partner airlines. Additionally, all of these cards have an annual fee just under $100.
As you can see, there are also differences amongst these cards as well. The biggest one is that the BA card has the highest sign-up bonus, even if you don’t count the additional 50,000 Avios you can earn in the first year. And while the annual fee is not waived on the BA card the first year, the larger bonus more than makes up for it. Additionally, when spending money on airfare, the British Airways card offers 3X on British Airways while the other cards only offer 2X when spending with the co-branded airline.
Another difference is that for the Delta and American cards, they offer priority boarding and a first bag free benefit. The British Airways card does not offer priority boarding, but they don’t charge standard bag fees on any of their flights.
Like all airlines, each of these carriers has different airline partners. While British Airways and American are both part of the oneworld alliance, Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, and Southwest is not part of any alliance. A big consideration for getting any co-branded airline card is which carrier you like to fly with.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with the Visa card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 21 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- On eligible purchases, this card extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer's warranty by an additional year on warranties of three years or less.
- Purchase Protection:
- The card covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft for up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 25.99% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Chase offers a variety of security features with the British Airways Visa card to protect you against fraudulent charges and identity theft.
- Account alerts:
- Through Chase’s website or mobile app, you can set up account alerts to be notified of large transactions, unauthorized withdrawals and when your payment is due.
- Monitoring Your Account on the Go:
- You can keep up with your account and transactions with the Chase mobile website and app available for Apple and Android.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Like more and more credit cards, this card comes with chip technology that can be used at merchants in the U.S. and abroad that use chip-enabled terminals.
Chase offers a mobile banking version of their website as well as a mobile app for Apple and Android so you can always monitor your account on the go. You can check your account balance, transaction activity and even pay your bill straight from your smartphone.
Mobile Wallet: This card can be set up on your smartphone to use with Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
All consumers who are approved for the British Airways credit card are issued either a Visa or a Visa Signature card based on their credit worthiness. Visa Signature cards come with more benefits, which are listed below. These benefits are similar to those offered by American Express and World Elite Mastercard.
Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary after your personal insurance.
- Baggage Delay Insurance:
- Reimbursement for essentials such as toiletries and clothing if bags are delayed over 6 hours. Get up to $100 a day for 3 days.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags. Coverage includes cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.