I’m currently in the middle of a trip report about a vacation I took with the miles and discounts I earned from the British Airways Visa Signature Card, so it’s serendipitous that Chase has brought back the opportunity to earn up to 100,000 bonus miles for new applications. This is a tiered promotion that requires meeting several goals to earn the full amount, which could be enough to book as many as 26 individual awards at the lowest level.
A $95 annual fee still applies, but cardmembers will receive:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
- Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend $10,000 on purchases for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
- Plus earn another 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend a total of $20,000 on purchases within your first year for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
Those who manage to spend $30,000 in a single calendar year (it doesn’t have to be the first year) will also earn a Travel Together Ticket that provides the opportunity to book two awards while only redeeming Avios for the first one. Taxes and fees are still required for both awards, and I suggested on Tuesday that this may not be the best use of Avios.
Terms of the offer suggest that it may be open to previous cardholders, as well! Just make sure you don’t already have the card and that, if you used to, your last sign-up bonus was deposited more than two years ago. You may be able to determine this by viewing the transaction history in your BA Executive Club account.
The Best Ways to Redeem Avios
Instead, I recommend using all these Avios for travel on some of British Airways’ great partners. You may be familiar with American Airlines. Other oneworld Alliance members such as Cathay Pacific, JAL, and Qatar Airways can be booked, too.
|1 - 650||4,500||9,000||18,000|
|651 - 1,151||7,500||15,000||30,000|
|1,152 - 2,000||10,000||20,000||40,000|
|2,001 - 3,000||12,500||37,500||50,000|
|3,001 - 4,000||20,000||60,000||80,000|
|4,001 - 5,500||25,000||75,000||100,000|
|5,501 - 6,500||30,000||90,000||120,000|
|6,501 - 7,000||35,000||105,000||140,000|
|7,001 - 100,000||50,000||150,000||200,000|
Personally I use them for travel on Alaska Airlines since their network is more extensive on the West Coast. Awards are as little as 4,500 Avios one-way for flights up to 650 miles. Flights between 651 and 1,151 miles are only 7,500 Avios one-way, while flights from the West Coast to Hawaii are only 12,500 Avios one-way. Four round-trip flights to Hawaii would cost only 100,000 Avios, but you’ll earn 120,000 Avios or more if you spend $20,000 in the first year as a new cardmember.
As domestic flights, there are no fuel surcharges for these flights and only limited taxes and fees. Avios offers some of the cheapest awards you will find anywhere for travel under 3,000 miles.
Transferring and Pooling Avios
Other awards have become more expensive after a recent devaluation in spring. Business and first class awards, especially, are now a little unreasonable. But with the opportunity to earn so many Avios quickly, that may not matter as much.
Avios awards can still become expensive quickly because each leg of the journey is priced separately. This means you can take a stopover whenever you want, but non-stop flights will be cheaper than connecting even between the same cities. Fortunately you can pool your Avios with a Household Account to make it easier to book high-cost awards as well as transfer additional Avios from Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards. My wife, sister, and I were able to create a single pot with almost half a million points!
Transferring points will probably be the better approach to take if you want to continue earning Avios after obtaining the sign up bonuses. This card now earns only 1 point per dollar for most purchases, while there are many generous category bonuses with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa (2X on dining and travel) or the American Express Premier Rewards Gold (3X on flights and 2X on dining and groceries). I still think the card is worth holding onto for some people if you also buy paid flights. For this year and last, British Airways has offered a 10% discount on flights purchased from its website using the British Airways credit card.
Having used Avios for international and domestic flights, in first class and economy, I continue to find them valuable and an important part of my miles and points strategy. Click on the CardMatch banner below to see if you may be eligible to apply for this or other travel rewards cards. (Note: information in this post was current as of September 18, 2015.)