British Airways Visa Signature® Card review
The information related to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Travel rewards credit cards take different forms. Some offer hotel-specific rewards, discounts, freebies, and benefits. Others accumulate points that can be used to fund or offset general travel purchases. And still others offer specific airline rewards that reduce or eliminate airfare costs.
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, belongs to the third group. It’s an airline rewards card that accumulates an unlimited 3 Avios points – British Airways Executive Club loyalty program points – for every $1 you spend on airfare purchases with British Airways, Open Skies (a transatlantic carrier wholly owned and operated by British Airways), and members of the oneworld airline alliance, which includes Iberia, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, among others. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent, also with no spending caps or restrictions. This card also has an insanely generous sign-up bonus.
If you are approved for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, you’re automatically enrolled in British Airways’ Executive Club loyalty program, which confers progressively more generous benefits as you achieve higher tiers. Avios points are redeemable for airfare with British Airways and its partners, including American Airlines and other oneworld members.
This card has a three-part sign-up bonus.
First, you earn 50,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within 3 months. Second, you earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $10,000 in the first year. Third, you earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $20,000 in the first year.
All told, the bonus is worth up to 100,000 Avios, good for a dozen short-haul flights within the U.S. and Europe, or at least two transatlantic flights between North America and Europe.
All British Airways purchases earn an unlimited 3 Avios per $1 spent. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 Avios per $1 spent.
Accumulated Avios can be redeemed for reward travel with British Airways and oneworld partner airlines, subject to a minimum redemption of 7,500 Avios. If you don’t have enough Avios for a full flight, you can combine Avios and cash. When you redeem for airfare, you’re still responsible for paying certain taxes and fees – starting at $5 to $6 per ticket for short-haul domestic flights – out-of-pocket.
The value of Avios varies based on the cost of the flights for which they’re redeemed, but reliably ranges up to $0.015 apiece – and can be much higher on long-haul flights in higher fare classes. Redemption thresholds and point values are subject to change at any time.
When you’re approved for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, you automatically earn membership in British Airways’ Executive Club. You start at Blue, the lowest tier, and enjoy relatively modest benefits such as priority standby, saved seat preferences (for instance, aisle seat over window), and priority access to members-only deals (such as hotel and resort discounts).
To move up the Executive Club ranks, you need to accumulate Tier Points, which build separately from Avios points. Tier Point earnings vary based on fare class and flight distance: An economy American Airlines fare from New York to San Francisco earns 20 to 70 Tier Points, depending on the subclass, while first class earns 210 Tier Points. You need 300 Tier Points to move up to the next Executive Club class (Bronze), whose benefits include 25% faster Avios points earnings and priority boarding (pre-general boarding).
If you spend at least $30,000 in any calendar year, you get a Travel Together bonus ticket that remains valid for 2 years. The Travel Together ticket entitles you to redeem your accumulated Avios points at regular rates on any flight and receive a ticket on the same flight for one Companion at no additional charge. This effectively doubles the value of your redemption.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
Airline rewards credit cards such as the British Airways Visa Signature® Card are great for frequent travelers who prefer to fly with one particular airline, or have easy access to that airline through a local airport hub. If you do travel often but don’t live near a British Airways or partner hub (or don’t enjoy flying with British Airways for whatever reason), you’re not likely to find this card to be very valuable. Furthermore, the British Airways Visa Signature Card isn’t ideal for light spenders or infrequent travelers who can’t justify the annual fee. Travelers looking for credit cards that offer travel discounts and financial perks right off the bat, or redemption bonuses and rebates, are apt to be disappointed too.
That doesn’t mean you need to avoid all airline rewards cards, of course. Even if it’s not served by British Airways or its partners, your local airport could be a hub for other carriers that offer rewards credit cards. Just about every major airline is on the rewards credit card bandwagon these days, so there’s sure to be a useful piece of traveler-friendly plastic with your name on it.
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a great asset for frequent, moderate- to heavy-spending travelers who don’t mind the $95 annual fee or lack of non-airfare redemption options. When used for British Airways or partner airfare purchases, this card earns points at a faster rate than many competitors, and points are often quite valuable at redemption. Plus, the signup bonus is potentially worth thousands, depending on airfare costs at redemption, when fully utilized.
This card’s great sign-up bonus, low redemption minimums, high point values, and the ability to earn points rapidly are all positives. The annual fee, lack of an intro APR, lack of redemption rebates, and very limited travel perks or discounts may not appeal to some.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card review