updated Aug 26, 2016
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British Airways, together with Chase (JPM), are now offering an amazing offer for new US sign-ups to their British Airways Visa Signature® Card. In what could be one of the most attractive credit card bonuses in 2016, they are offering a bonus consisting of 50,000 Bonus Avios which can be redeemed for one round-trip economy class air tickets from North America to Europe. To be approved for this Visa (V) card, you need a good to excellent credit score.
Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening! New sign-ups can receive 50,000 Bonus Avios points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. These 50,000 Bonus Avios points are sufficient to redeem a round-trip flight from the US to certain European destinations. Here's the catch: You'll have to fork out any taxes, fees and surcharges from your own pocket, and flights are subject to availability.
You'll also earn 3 Avios points per $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases. There isn't any limit to the amount of Avios points you can earn. Avios points can be redeemed for flights on British Airways, partner airlines (including American Airlines) or flight upgrades.
This card has no foreign transaction fees, which means that when you use it to pay outside of the U.S. you won't pay a fee for the currency conversion. Most cards charge 3% of the transaction amount.
Every calendar year you'll receive a Travel Together Ticket for a companion that's valid for two years, when you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa card within that year. Watch out! After reading the fine print, I found out that first of all, you must be a member of the BA Executive Club (its frequent flyer program), which isn't a problem as you'll automatically be enrolled as a member when you sign up for this card, and secondly, you only get this companion ticket (in the form of a voucher) if you book your own British Airways flight (not on codeshare, franchise or alliance airlines) by redeeming accumulated Avios points. This means that you will need to earn enough points to cover your own flight before you can take advantage of this great offer. Both the cardholder and the companion must travel together on the same outbound and return flight, and they must be booked at the same time. It's also "subject to availability". Taxes, fees and carrier charges can come to nearly the cost of the ticket, which makes this companion ticket a less attractive perk than it would seem. But the good news is that your travel companion's ticket will match yours, so if you have enough points to redeem for a business class ticket, your companion will fly business class with you, in which case the companion ticket would still be a good deal, even considering the money you spend on fees and taxes.
This card comes with chip technology which also lets you use your card in Europe and other destinations for chip based purchases. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees when you use your British Airways Visa card to make purchases when overseas.
The $95 annual fee which you have to pay. Most frequent flyer credit cards from other airlines have similar fees, but there are other travel cards which don't.
No introductory offer on balance transfers or purchases. From the time you sign up, the 16.24% to 23.24% variable APR applies for both balance transfers and purchases. To avoid paying any interest on your purchases, make sure to pay in full by the due date every month.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you earn Ultimate Rewards and transfer them to the British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 point transfer rate (so 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards gets you 1,000 Avios). You earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening, and 5,000 bonus points after you make a purchase and add the first authorized user to your account within the first 3 months after account opening. Like British Airways Visa Signature® Card it has $0 foreign transaction fees. But using Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to pay for trips gives you trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, purchase protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement. You pay a introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. In short, this card gives you a lot more travel benefits than British Airways Visa Signature® Card does. You also get a lot more flexibility because you can transfer you points to many other popular frequent travel programs. You can also redeem your points directly for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and you get 20% off when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises that way (so 50,000 points can be redeemed for a $625 flight).
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card issued by United Airlines and Chase is a very rewarding credit card for United flights to Europe. Although the bonus offer (30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening) is much lower than what you could potentially get with British Airways Visa Signature® Card, this card gives you a lot of travel perks which British Airways Visa Signature® Card does not. For example, you can visit the United Club with 2 one-time-use passes every year, and you always enjoy priority boarding privileges as long as you are a cardholder. This card also entitles you to check your first bag for free, and when you use it to pay for travel bookings you get travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and auto rental collision damage waiver. By comparison, British Airways Visa Signature® Card doesn't give you a whole lot of perks. But if you like to fly British Airways then using their card keeps things simple, and if you're a fairly big spender you can also get a much bigger bonus.
Depending on how you spend, the welcome offers you get with British Airways Visa Signature® Card are some of the best around.
This card has a $95 annual fee, and considering the generous welcome offer, the good rates of Avios for various purchases, and the companion ticket perk, you can definitely get back your money's worth if you spend a fair amount with this card. If you already fly British Airways, the current offer is truly a hard-to-come-by deal. If you plan to fly to Europe in the future, you can certainly go places if you earn the bonus offer of 50,000 Bonus Avios. However, if you don't expect to spend a lot on British Airways purchases, or if you prefer to keep your options open, then a more flexible travel card like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be a better choice.
Ivan Daniel is a writer at GET.com a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: email@example.com.
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