Home > British Airways, Chase, Credit Cards > Return of the British Airways 100,000-Mile Bonus (sort of …)

Return of the British Airways 100,000-Mile Bonus (sort of …)

This card is once again the darling of the points world, now that the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus has dropped to 40,000 points. I won’t be signing up for this card since I got it just last year and still hold it, so I don’t qualify for the bonus. There are a few things that are different about this signup, mainly the amount of spend required for the full bonus.

The card gives 50,000 Avios on first purchase, an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $10K in the first year, and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $20K in the first year.

The card earns 1.25 Avios per $1 on all purchases, except for British Airways purchases where it earns 2.5 Avios per $1. This is a decent earning rate, as it beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred when it comes to earning BA miles (something that the new United MileagePlus Explorer card does not).

The card comes with no foreign transaction fees AND a smart-chip for those pesky automated machines in Europe. Since getting the card, I have kept this as my backup foreign travel card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which also has no foreign transaction fees.

If you spend $30,000 within a calendar year, you receive a Travel Together companion certificate for BA mileage redemptions. This means that if you book a Los Angeles to London award in business class for 120,000 miles, you can book another person on that flight for 0 miles. HOWEVER, you must pay British Airways’ fuel surcharges for both tickets. If you use this properly, it can be a great deal, since you’re effectively paying a fuel surcharge equivalent to an Economy seat and using 60,000 miles per person to “upgrade” to business class (although you don’t earn miles on the fare).

All in all, the signup bonus looks like this:

First purchase: 50,000 Avios

$10,000 within first year: 87,500 Avios (50,000 bonus + 25,000 bonus + 12,500 from spending)

$20,000 within first year: 125,000 Avios (87,500 from $10K + 25,000 bonus + 12,500 from spending)

$30,000 by December 31: 137,500 Avios + Travel Together certificate for British Airways flight redemption

Keep in mind that the $95 Annual Fee is NOT waived, so this should really be looked at as a 50,000-mile bonus for $95, unless you plan on putting a lot of spending on this card.

If you have multiple people in your family, you can also consider opening multiple cards to take advantage of Household Accounts. Unlike other airlines, which charge fees for transferring miles between accounts, BA allows household accounts, where your entire family can pool together miles. That way, a couple can each sign up for the card and share 100,000 miles easily. Or, you can both sign up for the card and get the initial 50,000 miles each, then spend only on one card to get the additional bonus miles and travel together certificate.

This is the first iteration of the card where the offer is under the new Avios scheme. Avios are great for domestic travel on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines as well as travel to/within South America on American Airlines/LAN Airlines. Why?

1) Because these particular airlines don’t incur fuel surcharges on these routes.

2) Since Avios redemptions are distance-based, shorter distance awards (especially under 650 miles) are much cheaper than other mileage programs. However, long-haul flights are much more expensive.

In February, I flew Lima to Cuzco roundtrip for 9,000 Avios + $13; the paid tickets were going for over $300! I also flew Santiago to Lima one-way in LAN’s amazing business class for 10,000 Avios + $105 cash + taxes, for a one-way ticket that was going for $400 in coach.

However, Avios prices are charged per segment, so the more flights you take, the more you’ll have to pay. If you live in an AA hub (like Dallas, Chicago, Miami, New York, or Los Angeles), you can easily find non-stop flights from your airport than someone who doesn’t live in a city with great AA service.

I’ll post later on some of my favorite aspects of the British Airways program and its redemption opportunities. If you haven’t held this card before, I strongly suggest taking a good look at it, even if you can only get the 50,000-point bonus.

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