The card that brought us the very first 100,000 mile signup bonus has brought it back.
I had heard rumblings yesterday that it would be coming, likely introduced during the day on Wednesday. But it appears to be both real and early, since there’s a banner on the British Airways Executive Club website:
Clicking on the banner takes you to an application page that doesn’t provide details on the bonus. I’d wait until Wednesday afternoon to apply as I’ll explain in a moment, and I’ll lay out in this post how the offer works.
The British Airways Visa is offering 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase and 50,000 after spending $2,500 on the card within three months. There’s a $75 $95 annual fee for the card.
If you haven’t already had a BA Visa, this is a great time to sign up. It’s even a pretty good card in its own right:
Earns 1.25 miles per dollar. This way, it’s as good for earning BA miles as spend on a Starwood Amex (though of course without the same flexibility)
No foreign currency transaction fees. International travelers need one of those, and this card provides a reasonable compromise between cost and earning from among the cards with this benefit (same fee as the Hyatt card with better earn, much lower fee than the Continetnal Presidential Plus Mastercard, the United Visa that comes with lounge membership, or the Amex Platinum).
Free companion award ticket after $30,000 in spend each year. This makes even awards which are pretty pricey through the BA chart much more manageable. You must fly British Airways metal, though, and that does mean incurring some pretty high fuel surcharges.
The British Airways program is really good, provided you’re willing to swallow the fuel surcharges they add onto award tickets. For a US to Europe award, assume about $450 per person. Flying via London to Africa it can be double that. Still, when you’re getting a $10,000 or $20,000 airline ticket it can be worthwhile.
The 100,000 miles don’t have to be spent on British Airways, of course. They’ve even started adding fuel surcharges onto American Airlines awards (since American has started including such charges in fares). But the charges are quite reasonable on some partners like Cathay Pacific. 100,000 miles is enough for a roundtrip business class award on Cathay Pacific from the US to much of Asia, and total taxes and fees are likely to be in the $250 per person range.
One other caveat about British Airways is that awards on its partners should only be booked using a single partner or a single partner plus BA itself. Awards on two partners get very expensive miles-wise.
Still, 100,000 miles is 100,000 miles and British Airways award availability, especially in premium cabins, is outstanding. If you want first class awards from the West Coast of the US to Europe, or from London to South Africa or Kenya, BA is among the most likely to deliver. And if you want multiple award seats on a single flight, again BA comes out on top — I often find six or more award seats in business and first on the Houston-London flight, for instance, and similar offerings from Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia. Of course you can fly American Airlines or Alaska as your one partner to get to those gateway cities.
Anyone who hasn’t had the card, and at least if you haven’t signed up for any cards with Chase recently, it’s time to grab this one. To me this is more lucrative than the recent Capital One 100,000 point signup offer, and it’s a whole lot less complicated (since there’s no ‘matching’ procedure involved).
The offer isn’t officially set to launch until tomorrow afternoon, there’s no hurry in applying as I understand they intend to run the offer through the month of April. In fact, it may well be a mistake that it’s on the BA website so early, as I say I don’t think it was supposed to be up yet.
Of course there’s no guarantee it’ll last for a month, of course, but you don’t need to apply on Wednesday or even this week in order to get the bonus. Just don’t let it go for too long as you won’t want to miss out on this.