The British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card 100,000 Avios offer is back. This is a popular offer for many people but this one of those sign-up bonuses that have different tiers of spending needed to obtain the different bonuses. Also, Avios can sometimes be a tricky currency to utilize so it helps to have a good understanding of this card before applying. Here’s a review of the British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card.
3:40pm CST Update: bonus is switching back and forth from 75K to 100K (as seen from the screen shot below), the 100K change is likely in the works.
Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!
The British Airways Visa 100K Offer
- Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within the first year from account opening.
- Earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within the first year from account opening.
- Earn a “Travel Together Ticket” after spending $30,000 within the first year of account opening.
- Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways, Iberia and OpenSkies purchases.
- Earn 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
- $95 Annual fee (not waived)
- Not subject to 5/24
British Airways Visa 100K sign-up bonus
Each spending tier is cumulative, so all you have to do is spend $20,000 total to earn the 100,000 Avios or spend $10,000 total to earn the 75,000 Avios. But earning up to 100,000 Avios will take some work, so it’s best to break this sign-up bonus down to what’s realistic.
- 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000
This is pretty much the standard for a sign-up bonus, and I think 50,000 Avios is a decent bonus by itself even considering the annual fee. Thus, even if you don’t see yourself making it to $10,000 or $20,000 just earning this bonus could still be an option. Just keep in mind that historically there have been offers with the annual fee waived the first year, but I’m not sure if and when they’ll be coming back.
- 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000
For an additional $7,000 of spend you get 25,000 more Avios. You’ve got to factor in opportunity costs here as you could hit a few sign-up bonuses with that $7,000 spend that might net you something much better than 25,000 Avios.
- 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000
The same logic applies here. Consider what you could earn by applying that additional $10,000 elsewhere.
What can you do with Avios?
The Avios award system utilizes a distance-based chart so that your total Avios requirement depends on how far you actually fly.
To get an idea on how to use Avios, read my post about British Airways sweet spots here. As you’ll see in that article, Avios are excellent for short-haul flights around the US/Mexico/and Caribbean, flights from the west coast to Hawaii, economy flights from the East Coast to Europe, and other intra-continent flights around the world in places like South America and Australia.
For example, you could get around the US by using Avios points to book on partner American Airlines with the following rates:
- 15,000 Avios for routes up to 1,150 miles (e.g., MIA – JFK)
- 20,000 Avios 1,151 miles to 2,000 miles (e.g., SFO – IAH)
- 25,000 Avios 2,001 miles to 3,000 miles (e.g., LAX – JFK)
Keep in mind that you usually need to be located near an American Airlines hub to take advantage of short-haul rates. For example, I live in Houston, a United and Southwest hub. If I want to use Avios to get somewhere on American Airlines, it’s going to route me through DFW, MIA, PHX, or some other American hub, which will mean that I have to pay more Avios often making the redemption much less ideal.
Another big complaint with the booking American flights is the lack of SAAver availability. You might struggle to find open awards on American flights and thus not be able to use your Avios.
Aside from that, Avios can still present a lot of value for certain business class routes. I suggest reading my article on using Iberia Avios to get to Europe in business class and you’ll see that you could get roundtrip in business class to Madrid from Boston, New York, and even Chicago for as little as 68,000 Avios and with reasonable fees.
Other popular redemptions might be a round trip on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to the Maldives for 75,000 Avios. For some longer business class routes, the cost of Avios will be higher, but there’s still a lot of value to be had. For example, you could transfer your Avios to Iberia and for 62,000 Iberia Avios book a flight from from Hong Kong to Sydney one way on Cathay Pacific, which Google Flights has posted as nearly $5,000.
So I definitely think Avios can be a worthwhile currency. 100,000 of them could get you roundtrip in business class to Europe or get your several domestic roundtrips in economy. I suggest playing around with the British Airways award chart to see how much value you think you could get from it.
Travel Together Ticket
This card offers you an annual companion pass ticket after you spend $30,000 in a calendar year. Keep in mind that this is just a single ticket and doesn’t function like the Southwest Companion Pass you might be familiar with.
There are a number of restrictions for this benefit including:
- You can earn one Travel Together Ticket each year.
- The voucher can only be used for travel on reward flights operated by British Airways,
- Flights can be in any cabin class
- All travel must originate in and return to the US (must be round trips)
- Your voucher must be exchanged for an outbound ticket departing before the expiry date on your voucher, which is 24 months from date of issue.
The above limitations aren’t that bad but the killer here is British Airways fuel surcharges. The fees for British Airways aren’t always that bad for one way tickets especially if you route through London from another European city. However, the Travel Together tickets have to be roundtrip and have to route from the US and return to it which pretty much guarantees you’re going to be paying for a lot in fees.
Economy fees from Houston to London roundtrip were around $457 per person plus 32,500 Avios for off-peak awards. Flights are getting so cheap to Europe now and with Norwegian and even IAG/British Airways subsidiary Level coming into the market, I’d struggle to pay that much in fees and points knowing I could potentially find a fare just as cheap or cheaper by paying straight cash.
Thus, many people turn to premium cabins to get the best value for the Travel Together Ticket.
To get a roundtrip first class ticket you’d need 170,000 Avios from Houston to London. That ticket would also cost you about $1,256.79. So that X2 and you’re looking at a total cost of about $2,513 in fees. That’s just too much in fees for me to find attractive and while I really enjoyed first class on British Airways, I just wouldn’t ever want to pay that much in fees.
For that reason, I personally wouldn’t go chasing this companion ticket since I could put $27,000 of spend on other sign-up bonuses and rack up a ton.
This is a decent sign-up bonus and it really helps that it’s not subject to 5/24. Avios can be valuable you just have to know the sweet spots and know how to minimize the fees to get more value. Although I’m not big on the Travel Together perk of this card, I’d probably still consider applying for this card if I had any potential use for Avios.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.