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British Airways Credit Card Review

British Airways Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Jun 13, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card lets you earn Avios that can be used for rewards on both the carrier and its global airline partners. If you travel regularly on the UK flag carrier, the money you spend on the card can translate into myriad options when it comes to booking reward travel.

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card’s sign-up bonus allows new cardmembers to Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.

The card also offers the following rewards rate: Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus purchases. Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when booked directly with the hotel. Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.

If you travel regularly on British Airways or its partners under the International Airlines Group banner, this card could be a good option. The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers higher Avios per $1 spent on flights and flight-related services than other airlines, plus you get access to flights operated under the oneworld alliance.

But the Avios you earn with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card are lower in important categories like non-airline travel, dining and gas. And if you don’t fly British Airways regularly, you may want to consider either another airline-branded card like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or a travel-branded card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Where the British Airways Visa Signature® Card stands out in its category

A big draw for this card is getting the Travel Together Ticket, which is good for two years. It allows you to bring a companion in the same cabin — even in first class — after spending $30,000 a year and booking a flight with your Avios. You can earn up to 20 Avios per $1 spent by shopping online at the Avios eStore, which features more than 400 retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Apple and eBay.

If you travel regularly on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, LEVEL and OpenSkies, the 3 Avios per $1 spent on those carriers is better than other airlines, which tend to be in the 1-2 points per $1 spent range. When it’s time to redeem your Avios for flights, you can not only use them on British Airways, but you also get access to its 13 partner airlines in oneworld alliance.

You can use a mix of Avios and cash to pay for your British Airways flights. Redeem Avios for hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages and airport parking, or use them for premium cabin upgrades on select paid tickets on British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines.

The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which can save you money if you travel regularly and use this card outside the country. Your Avios don’t expire as long as there’s activity on your British Airways Executive Club account for 36 consecutive months.

Where the British Airways Visa Signature® Card falls short in its category

New cardmembers have to jump over three hurdles in order to earn the sign-up bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.

If you were hoping that the Avios you earn on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card card would help you get status on the carrier, that won’t happen. And Avios earned in this program won’t be credited toward British Executive Club tier level status.

Unlike other airline-branded cards, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card doesn’t offer you travel-related perks like discounts on redeeming Avios for flights, priority check-in and boarding, a free checked bag, airline lounge access, in-flight discounts or access to a concierge.

You have to pay the taxes, fees and carrier charges on your Travel Together Ticket. For example, a flight from Seattle to London comes up to approximately $682-$1250 in taxes and fees per adult in economy or $1,250 in business class. That’s a bargain for business class, but you might be able to buy an economy  ticket cheaper, depending on the city pair and the time of year the flight is booked.

When booking Avios reward travel, British Airways flights get priority. You’ll only see partner airline availability if you include them as part of your search. You can only book with partners if British Airways doesn’t fly to that destination or it doesn’t have seat availability.

Additional card benefits

  • Decline the rental company’s collision insurance, charge the entire rental cost to your card and you’ll be covered for theft and collision damage.
  • Baggage delay insurance reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays that are more than six hours up to $100 a day, for three days.
  • Purchase protection covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement covers you and your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags for up to $3,000 per passenger if they’re damaged or lost by an airline.
  • Extended warranty protection adds another year to a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on eligible warranties of three years or less.
  • Access to Above & Beyond, which offers events and exclusive experiences for cardmembers.

Compare it with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • First checked bag free on domestic itineraries & preferred boarding

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

See additional details for Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

More Info

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a natural alternative to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card card, especially if American Airlines is your carrier of choice. They are not only members of the oneworld airline alliance, but they are also joint venture partners on flights between the U.S. and Europe, giving both cardholders more opportunities to redeem their miles.

New cardmembers Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. While this isn’t as good as the bonus Avios you can earn with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you also don’t have to jump through hoops to get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®’s sign-up bonus. That bonus is enough to get a round-trip economy class ticket to the Caribbean.

Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Although the British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers more Avios for airline-related spending, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers more points in the popular restaurants and gas categories.

Cardmembers get a $125 flight discount on American Airlines after spending $20,000 or more during your card year and when you renew it. You and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation get priority boarding and a free checked bag on domestic flights.

You can’t transfer your AAdvantage® miles to other airline or hotel loyalty programs, but you can use them on the other 13 carriers in oneworld® alliance, along with 22 hotel partners and 12 car rental partners.

You can make your miles go further when redeeming them for flights using American Airlines’ Reduced Mileage Awards program. This program allows cardmembers to redeem miles for 7,500 miles round-trip or 3,750 one way in the MileSAAver category to select destinations every other month.

There’s no maximum number of AAdvantage® miles you can earn on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, and miles don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem miles once every 18 months.

But this card isn’t perfect. It doesn’t give you a way to earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) to help get status on American Airlines and there’s no access to the Admirals Club airport lounge. If you book travel with the $100 flight discount and then either cancel or change the flight, you lose the $100.

You can’t transfer your miles to other airline or hotel loyalty programs, but you can redeem them on American’s oneworld carrier and hotel partners.

After you get the card’s sign-up bonus, you don’t have other ways to earn more bonus miles. And this card doesn’t offer the travel, rental car and retail perks available with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card and other airline-branded cards. You can only book Reduced Mileage Awards travel by calling American Airlines reservations or by visiting airport or city ticket centers. Either way, you’ll be charged a $35 service charge per person for bookings.

When it comes to choosing a card, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® gets the edge for several reasons. It has a simple sign-up bonus — Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening — and you don’t have to jump through hoops to get it. It has higher points per $1 spent for gas and dining. You get benefits like a free checked bag and priority boarding for you and up to four travel companions on the same reservation. And there are no limits on the miles you can earn, and they don’t expire as long as you redeem them once every 18 months.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee $95 $99, waived for first 12 months
Regular Purchase APR 15.99% - 22.99% variable 15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Rewards Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus purchases. Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when booked directly with the hotel. Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
Sign-Up Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening. Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Foreign Transaction Fee 0% 0%

The information related to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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