Update: This offer is scheduled to expire today, September 30. If you haven’t yet applied for this card, you may want to soon.
For a limited time, Chase has waived the $95 annual fee on the British Airways Visa Signature credit card.
With this offer you will receive;
- 50,000 British Airways Bonus Avios points for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees for purchases when you travel abroad
- Get 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years, every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Card.
- Cardholders get 10% off paid British Airways tickets with promo code: CARDOFFERU
- This credit card includes a “chip” so it can be used in Europe.
- Once the free first year is up, there is a $95 annual fee.
British Airways, like American Airlines, is a member of the oneworld airline alliance.
The oneworld alliance is a group of 12 airlines including: Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines (including LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, LAN Express, LAN Peru), Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7.
British Airways also has non-oneworld alliance partners such as Alaska Airlines, Aer Lingus and Open Skies. Alaska and Aer Lingus can only be booked by calling BA at 800-452-1201.
This means that you can use your British Airways miles not only for travel on British Airways, but also on any of their oneword and non-oneworld partners.
British Airways “Avios” points are both from the best and from the worst points out there (Huh?! How is that possible?! Read on…). Where they are simply awesome, is when redeeming for “short-distance flights”. Unlike other frequent flyer programs which will charge you a minimum of 25,000 points -…. for a round trip domestic mileage ticket regardless of the distance flown, BA Avios redemption’s are distance based. For instance a flight from NYC to Detroit or from NYC to Toronto is 25,000 miles round trip – if you get saver award availability, otherwise its 50,000 – on United Airlines, but using Avios for these flights on American Airlines, is just 9,000 points round trip!
The Mileage Chart:
You can calculate the distance of your flight with the British Airways Avios Calculator or you can use the Great Circle Mapper.
Note: If the flight in question has a stopover, you will have to price each segment flown separately. Since British Airways doesn’t fly domestic, you will need to redeem your points on American Airlines for domestic redemption’s. Now, for instance, If AA has a direct flight to your destination and its under 650 miles, then the total cost will be just 4,500 points. What if though, AA doesn’t have a direct flight to your destination, and you need to take 2 AA flights to reach your destination? You will need to price each leg separately, and even though the total distance flown will be less than 650 miles you will end up paying 4,500 points x2 since there are 2 segments. This is different than he average US frequent flyer program which charges a flat redemption rate for tickets regardless of the stopovers,
The prices below are for coach travel. You will pay double for business class and triple for first class. Note: British Airways considers most domestic US flights being that they only have 2 cabins to only have economy and first class and will thus cost triple the coach rate to fly in business class. If the flight in question has 3 cabins with a “real first class”, the Avios needed will calculate accordingly. Also, this “issue” is only for flights in the US not for international flights, so a flight for instance, NYC – Toronto in business will price accordingly.
- Flights that are 1-650 miles = 4,500 Avios.
- Flights that are 651-1,151 miles = 7,500 Avios.
- Flights that are 1,151-2,000 miles = 10,000 Avios.
- Flights that are 2,001-3,000 miles = 12,500 Avios.
- Flights that are 3,001-4,000 miles = 20,000 Avios.
- Flights that are 4,001-5,500 miles = 25,000 Avios.
- Flights that are 5,501-6,500 miles = 30,000 Avios.
- Flights that are 6,501-7,000 miles = 35,000 Avios.
- Flights that are 7,001 miles or more = 50,000 Avios.
Where Avios are generally a bad value (compared to other US frequent flyer programs) is redeeming them to use for most long-distance flights or for any redemption that charges their notorious high fuel surcharges (most flights to Europe).
For instance, an award ticket redeeming American Airline miles from NYC – London will charge just $2.50 in taxes. On the other hand, if you are redeeming Avios, the total in taxes and fess will be a whopping $412.70 for the exact same flight!
Also, since Avios uses a distance based chart, you can get some superb value on short destinations. The caveat is though, when redeeming on long-haul flights, they will charge a lot more miles then their peers, and this is bedsides for the high fees.
The exceptions to the rule – where Avios does not request theses high fees are;
- Flights within North America redeeming points on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines
- Redeeming points for flights on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus or LAN
- Redeeming for flights on Qantas and are entirely within Australia
- Flights that are within Europe
- Additionally, Flights that are on Cathay Pacific have lower fees
- Also, If you have an Iberia account with miles in it, you can transfer BA Avios into Iberia at a 1:1 ratio and save with less fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia.
Other benefits of Avios points:
- There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings when booking with Avios.
- You can book one-way tickets for half of the miles of a round-trip.
- You can cancel tickets within 24 hours for free by calling British Airways at 800-452-1201. After 24 hours has passed you can redeposit miles for only the lessor of $40 or the taxes you paid. On a domestic ticket there is just $2.50 of taxes for each leg. That means you’ll pay just $2.50 to cancel a one-way domestic itinerary. Note: Date changes to a ticket cost $40, so if your ticket has less than $40 of taxes on it, its more worth it to cancel your ticket and rebook than to make a date change.
- British Airways Avios expire after 36 months if there is no activity in your account. You can extend the life of your miles for another 36 months for just $2.50 by booking a short-distance domestic award for 4,500 Avios points plus $2.50 and then simply cancelling it after 24 hours. This constitutes account activity which extends the life of your Avios.
- British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally and 0 extra miles domestically when adding the infant at the airport (if flying internationally, add them at time of booking!). This is true even when redeeming Avios for flights on American Airlines. Normally, American Airlines as well as other domestic carriers charge 10% of the full regular priced fare, even though you are booking with points. That can sometimes add up to a pretty penny.
- You can pool all your combined Avios points together within a household into one account.
- It’s easy to top-off your British Airways Avios account thanks to their partnerships with all of the transferable points programs. You can transfer Starpoints to BA at a 20K:25K ratio, American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio
- With short-distance flights starting at just 4,500 Avios you can get a lot of free travel from your Avios.