Credit Card Credit Card Reviews

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card Review

overall rating
4.1

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British Airways is an international airline, but its rewards program can provide a lot of value for domestic and international travelers alike. The British Airways Visa Signature credit card offers an impressive one time bonus over the first year, and big spenders can get even more value with its Travel Together Ticket. But keep in mind that British Airways is notorious for charging heavy fees on some of its award tickets. So it may take some extra legwork to maximize the value of your rewards.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

overall rating
3.4
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
On Chase's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 24.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per $1 on purchases with British Airways and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card

Pros
  • Potentially valuable rewards

  • Companion ticket good for any cabin

  • Discounts on flights

Cons
  • Costly flight surcharges

  • No airline-specific benefits

  • Maximizing rewards can be challenging

Pros Explained

  • Potentially Valuable Rewards: Because of its membership in the oneworld alliance, we value British Airways Avios at 2.1 cents apiece. That doesn't necessarily mean you’ll get that rate every time you redeem, but the potential is there. Also, the airline’s partnership with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines means that you can use your Avios to book flights within the U.S. So whether or not you have plans for a trip abroad, you don’t have to worry about leaving your rewards to collect dust.
  • Companion Ticket Good for any Cabin: You can qualify for the Travel Together Ticket when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year. The certificate is good for two years, which is double what you can typically expect from a companion certificate with other airline credit cards. You can use your Travel Together Ticket to bring your plus-one on the same flight and in the same cabin—that includes first class. Keep in mind, though, that it’s only good for flights with British Airways that originate in and return to the U.S., and you need to book your ticket with Avios. Also, you’ll need to pay taxes, fees, and carrier charges on both tickets, which can be steep.
  • Discounts on Flights: If you're booking a flight to London with Avios and use your British Airways Visa Signature credit card to pay for the taxes and fees, you’ll get a $100 statement credit for economy and premium economy fares or a $200 credit for business-class or first-class tickets. You can get up to three of these statement credits per calendar year.

Cons Explained

  • Costly Flight Surcharges: One of the appeals of an airline credit card is earning award flights from your card spending. You typically need to pay taxes and fees, but most airlines charge just a few bucks each way. With British Airways, though, the cost of redeeming Avios for a flight can be hundreds of dollars. If you book a flight from Seattle to London, for instance, the total cost between taxes, fees, and carrier charges range from $682 to $1,250 in economy and $1,250 in business class. Double that amount if you’re using a Travel Together Ticket. Depending on where you want to go and which airline you’re using, it may not even be worth redeeming your rewards for the fare.
  • No Airline-Specific Benefits: Most airline credit cards offer select perks whenever you fly with the co-branded airline. For example, you can usually expect a free checked bag for you and others on your reservation, priority boarding, in-flight discounts when you use your card, and possibly even more. With the British Airways Visa Signature credit card, however, you won’t get any of that.
  • Maximizing Rewards can Be Challenging: Because booking award travel with British Airways is so expensive, you may need to spend some extra time finding good ways to use your Avios. For example, booking flights in the U.S. with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines may produce extra value, as can international flights with other members of the oneworld alliance. Figuring out how to maximize British Airways Avios may not be a problem if you relish the process. But if you’re looking for a straightforward rewards program, this one isn't it.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Loyalty Status Seeker Persona
    Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
    Loyalty Status Seeker
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for International Traveler Persona
    Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
    International Traveler

The British Airways Visa Signature credit card is best for seasoned travelers who enjoy the challenge of maximizing their rewards. It’s especially worth considering if you're a big spender and can earn the Travel Together Ticket every year. Just remember that the costs associated with an award flight with British Airways limit the value you'll get.

Even if you don’t spend enough to get the card's companion certificate every year, it may still be worth applying to take advantage of the airline's oneworld alliance membership. Through the partnership, you may be able to achieve significant value when redeeming your rewards for an international trip.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card Bonus

As a new cardholder, you can earn up to 100,000 Avios—that’s 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months and an additional 50,000 Avios when you spend $20,000 total during the first year.

Most airline credit cards stick with a three-month period for bonuses, but you could potentially earn a lot more with this card if you can meet the full-year spending requirement. Even if you only spend enough to get the first half of the bonus, though, it’s still worth considering. Based on our research, 50,000 Avios are worth $1,050 (at $.021 per Avios).

Rewards Earning Details

In addition to a big one-time offer, the card also offers 3 Avios per dollar spent with British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia; 2 Avios per dollar on hotel stays booked directly with hotels; and 1 Avios per dollar on everything else. 

Many airline credit cards offer just 2 miles per dollar on purchases made with the airline. So if you're spending a lot on flights with one of those airlines and on hotels, you could rack up a healthy rewards balance fast.

Even if most of your purchases net you only 1 Avios per dollar, getting 2.1 cents per Avios is still impressive.

Rewards Redemption Details

The best way to redeem your British Airways Avios is by booking flights with one of British Airways’ partner airlines. As you do so, make sure to watch out for high costs that British Airways and other airlines may charge. 

And remember, airline rewards redemption rates can vary. So while we calculated an average value of 2.1 cents per Avios, you may get more or less than that based on your redemption strategy.

For example, let’s say you want to fly from New York City to Johannesburg, South Africa. We found a main-cabin fare through British Airways for $1,864, or 58,500 Avios, plus $562 in taxes and fees. 

Without the extra charges on the award ticket, you'd get an impressive 3.19 cents per Avios. But those extra costs drop your value per Avios to 2.23 cents apiece. That’s better than what other airlines average, but it can still be disappointing to lose value through surcharges.

Redeeming your Avios for flights will generally give you the most value. But if you want more flexibility, other options include:

  • Flight upgrades
  • Paying with Avios and cash
  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Travel experiences

As we researched redemption options through British Airways, we found several routes with limited award availability or none at all. So it may take some trial and error to find a solid redemption option.

Transferring Points

British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia have separate frequent flyer programs, but they all use the same currency: Avios. As a British Airways Executive Club member, you can transfer your rewards to either airline, giving you more flexibility with your redemptions.

You can’t transfer your Avios from British Airways to any of its oneworld alliance and other partners, but you can use your rewards to book flights with those airlines. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You’ll typically get more value out of redeeming your miles for award flights than any other option. However, it can take some work to find the best redemption value. This includes researching different itineraries and calculating how much value each one offers. You may need to try different dates and destinations.

To calculate how much your miles are worth, divide the retail cash price of the fare by how many Avios you'll need to book an award ticket. For example, divide $1,864 by 58,500 Avios to get 3.19 cents per Avios.

If you’re booking with British Airways, though, you’ll need to include the cost of the taxes, fees, and carrier charges in your calculation. If you have to pay $562 on top of your Avios for that $1,864 ticket, you’re essentially using your rewards to cover the remaining $1,302 of the cash price. If you then divide that amount by 58,500 Avios, you'll get 2.23 cents apiece.

Strategic redemptions can take time, but it can be worth it if maximizing your rewards is a top priority.

Average Case

The average cardholder may be able to earn the first half of the card's bonus, spending $3,000 in the first three months for 50,000 bonus Avios, but possibly not the $20,000 total required to earn the additional 50,000 Avios.

You may also have a tough time spending $30,000 in a calendar year to qualify for the Travel Together ticket. 

In this case, the bonus will be worth $1,050 based on our research, which is still impressive but not as valuable as what you could gain if you’re a big spender. 

Aspirational Case

If you can spend enough to qualify for the full first year bonus, you’ll get $1,470 worth of award flights, based on our valuation of Avios. That might mean putting all of your regular spending on this card until you reach the $20,000 threshold or even using the card for purchases you might not normally pay for by credit card. 

Either way, you could have enough for one or two international flights, or possibly even more if you’re flying domestic. 

If you're ambitious, you may even manage to spend enough to earn a British Airways Travel Together Ticket. When you use the companion ticket on a flight, you essentially get double the value on your redemption because you’re receiving two award tickets for the price of one. 

Remember that you’ll get a $100 or $200 statement credit if you use your British Airways Visa Signature credit card to pay for the taxes and fees on an award ticket to London. This will help boost the value of your redemption, and you’ll earn 3 Avios per dollar on the transaction.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Baggage delay insurance: If your baggage is delayed by more than six hours, you can get up to $100 per day in reimbursements for essential purchases like clothing and toiletries, up to three days total.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Covers you and immediate family members if your checked or carry-on luggage is damaged or lost. You can get up to $3,000 per passenger to recoup the loss.
  • Above & Beyond events: As a cardholder, you’ll have access to special events, such as private tours, stays at luxury hotels, and more.

Standard Benefits

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cardholder Experience

In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Chase ranked fourth among national credit card issuers. However, its overall rating was just one point higher than the average.

Chase provides free access to your VantageScore credit score through its Credit Journey program. Unfortunately, more lenders use the FICO credit score, so having access to your VantageScore doesn’t provide as much value. Many card issuers offer free FICO score access.

If you need assistance, you can send a secure message through your online account or call the 24/7 customer service line, which is a standard service. You can manage your credit card account online or through the Chase mobile app.

Security Features

With the Chase mobile app, you can lock and unlock your card, a feature that can come in handy if you lose the card and want to prevent someone from using it without your permission. This option isn't available with all credit card issuers. 

The British Airways Visa Signature credit card is also a contactless credit card. This means that if you’re using a contactless card reader, you can tap your card instead of swiping or inserting it. This security feature is becoming more popular but isn’t available from all credit card issuers. It can make for a faster checkout experience and provides the same level of security as your card's chip.

Our Verdict

The British Airways Visa Signature credit card has a lot of potential, but it can be tricky trying to get the most out of your rewards. 

Consider the card if you expect to spend enough to earn the maximum first year bonus plus the Travel Together Ticket every year. Just keep in mind that if you use your rewards to fly with British Airways, you may get slapped with costly taxes and fees. If you’re looking to maximize the value you get from the card, use your rewards on flights with partner airlines that don’t assess steep carrier charges. 

Also, if you want more flexibility with your rewards or fewer hassles with redemptions, consider a general travel credit card or another airline's card.

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For British Airways Visa Signature® Card
on Chase's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
4.1
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 24.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per $1 on purchases with British Airways and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.