The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with an excellent upfront bonus of up to 100,000 miles, which are also called “Avios.” It also has many other high-quality travel rewards. However, note that you’ll have to pay taxes, fees and surcharges when using your rewards, which can put a damper on this otherwise good travel rewards card.
|Origin – Destination||Total Points Required||Total Round-trip Flights With 100,000 Bonus Points|
|Philadelphia – Miami||15,000||6+|
|Chicago – Dallas||15,000||6+|
|New York – Los Angeles||15,000||4|
After your first purchase with this card, you’ll earn 50,000 Avios. At the $10,000 mark, you’ll earn another 25,000 Avios and will do so again after the $20,000 mark. Note that each spending threshold must be reached within the first year to qualify for the mentioned bonuses.
The purchase rewards are fairly strong, as well. For each British Airways purchase, you’ll earn 2.5 Avios per dollar spent. All other purchases qualify for 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.
For each year in which you spend at least $30,000 with this card, you’ll qualify for a complimentary Travel Together ticket. This is a companion ticket that is good for up to 2 years.
An important benefit that this card has is smart-chip technology. As many foreign nations already have widespread use of such technology, you won’t run into the problems that a traditional US credit card with a magnetic stripe can pose while traveling abroad.
Despite the mentioned rewards, though, note that you will be responsible for paying taxes, fees and surcharges with this card. Your companion will have to do so, as well, if you are dealing with a companion ticket. Such fees are estimated at $650 on economy travel from New York to London. I’m not sure how they arrived at this estimate, but I just found an entire flight from New York to London on British Airways (including taxes, fees and surcharges) for $581. In any event, be very cautious when booking your flight with rewards to ensure that you don’t end up paying too much.
The British Airways Visa card has a relatively high annual fee of $95. The rest of the fees and APRs are similar to those found on most other cards.
Note that this card does not have a foreign transaction fee. This can be very beneficial when compared to other cards, as such fees can add up substantially if you travel frequently.
As British Airways Avios can be used on American Airlines, let’s take a look at how the British Airways Visa Signature card compares to the various Citi AAdvantage cards that are on the market:
|Card||Upfront Bonus||Purchase Rewards (per dollar)|
|British Airways Visa Signature Card||100,000 miles||2.5 miles (BA), 1.25 miles (all others)|
|Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card||30,000 miles||2 miles (AA), 1 mile (all others)|
|Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®||30,000 miles||2 miles (AA), 1 mile (all others)|
|Citi® Gold / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® card||30,000 miles||1 mile|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® American Express® card||30,000 miles||1 mile|
|Citi ExecutiveSM / AAdvantage® World EliteTM MasterCard®||25,000 miles||2 miles (AA), 1 mile (all others)|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Visa® card||35,000 miles||2 miles (AA – first year), 1 mile (all others)|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® MasterCard®||35,000 miles||2 miles (AA – first year), 1 mile (all others)|
By viewing this comparison, you may think that the British Airways Visa Signature card is an easy pick. However, given the high taxes, fees and surcharges that are associated with it’s rewards, you may be better off by taking a second look.
On domestic flights, you’ll pay $2.50 in extra fees on award tickets with American Airlines. On international flights, the most you’ll pay is $192.50 – far lower than you will on some British Airways flights when redeeming your rewards.
Due to the extra fees that are associated with the British Airways Visa Signature card, give strong consideration to either the Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage Visa Signature card or the Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard. Of course, the card that works best for you will depend on your situation, but these two cards should work well for most travelers.
- Incredible sign up bonus
- Complimentary companion ticket each year after $30,000 in spending
- Decent purchase rewards
- Annual fee of $95
- Beware of taxes, fees and surcharges that can put a damper on rewards
- High spending thresholds for some bonuses