British Airways Credit Card Review

Introduction to the British Airways Credit Card

The British Airways credit card offers Avios award points for all purchases. No, British Airways does not fly within the United States, but they partner with American Airlines who fly to most locations within the country. You can either earn your reward points directly with the BA card, or through either American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Quick Breakdown

  • For every $1 spent within the first year, you earn four Avios points. This means that if you spend $30,000, you are awarded 120,000 bonus points
  • For every $1 spent on British Airways, Aer Lingus and Liberia Airlines, you earn 3 Avios points
  • If you spend $30,000 per calendar year on your credit card, you are awarded a Travel Together ticket which is valid for two years
  • There are no foreign transaction fees applied when travelling abroad
  • The card is contactless
  • 14 airline partners
  • 1000 destinations
  • 14,250 daily flights

Benefits

There are several benefits associated with the British Airways Credit Card, these include the following:

  • Welcome Bonus: The welcome bonus depends on how much you spend. You earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
  • An extra 10,000 points when you spend $10,000 in the first year.
  • An extra 25,000 points when you spend $20,000 in the first year.

If you break it down, Avios points work out to be 1.3 cents each, so that means 50,000 points has a value of $650, 75,000 points has a value of $975, and 100,000 points has a value of $1,300. No matter how much you intend on spending throughout the year, the British Airways Credit Card is extremely lucrative.

• Eligibility: The majority of credit cards won’t accept you if you took out a card with them previously, this is not the case with BA. The card was established around ten years ago, so there are going to be a lot of people who had the card a while back and have decided that they want to open another account.

The card as well as the welcome bonus is available to anyone who doesn’t have BA card, as well as to those who haven’t had a welcome bonus in two years. This means that the majority of people are eligible for the card.

• Avios Value: Avios is very valuable and they have many other awards that you can take advantage of. There are several ways to redeem Avios points, these include the following:

  • Qantas flights within Australia
  • British Airways flights for short haul travel within Europe
  • Alaska and American flights for travel between Hawaii and US mainland
  • Alaska and American flights for domestic flights within the United States
  • LATAM short haul flights within South America
  • Cathay Pacific business class short haul flights within Asia

There is not enough space to name everything; but if you’ve got a miles and points strategy, it would be a good idea to incorporate the British Airways Credit Card into it.

Flight Discounts: Another major benefit is that all users get a 10% discount on any British Airways flights booked with the card. Most importantly, you can stack the discount with the AARP discount which gives you up to $200 off on every BA business class ticket you book. This will most likely translate into an even larger discount since BA often gives additional discounts on business class flights.

Companion Certificate: The BA Credit Card offers a reward called the “Travel Together Ticket” to anyone who spends more than $30,000 per year on their card. You are entitled to earn one per year, and it is posted to your Executive club account shortly after you have reached the required spend amount, this usually takes around 4-6 weeks.

This ticket allows you to book a British Airways award ticket all on your Avios points which includes surcharges imposed by the carrier. If you plan on travelling with someone, you will only have to pay the surcharges for the second person. This deal is particularly beneficial during the first year if you plan on spending $30,000 because you will get the full welcome bonus after you spend the first $20,000 and then the companion certificate after spending an additional $10,000.

Zero Close-in Ticket Fees: Customers love this benefit, when you redeem your rewards you are not subject to a close-in ticket fee. This is not the case with other airlines, you will find that United and American charge up to $75 to book a flight within 21 days of departure. British Airways allow you to make a booking all the way up until you are leaving and there is no close-in ticket fee.

This works really well when you book with British Airways because they also give awards based on distance which means you can book a short haul awards ticket at the last minute and pay with your points, then all you have to pay for are your taxes.

Household Accounts: One of the major problems when it comes to points is working out how to redeem them together. One of the main benefits of the British Airways Credit Card is that your entire household (up to six in total) can form one account. As long as your names are all registered at the same address, you can redeem your points collectively. This is especially beneficial when it comes to the welcome bonus.

No Foreign Transaction Fees: The assumption is that you travel often if you are planning on applying for this credit card. One of the major benefits here is that there are no foreign transaction fees which often make spending outside the United States a nightmare.

Drawbacks

Although there are many benefits associated with the BA credit card, there are also several negative features that are important to mention, these include the following:

High Surcharges: The awards programs might look good on the surface, but there are some seriously high surcharges that you might want to take into consideration before taking out a card. There are certain award tickets that have got very high surcharges. This can add a few hundred dollars onto the cost when you are redeeming your points. There is no set price for these surcharges because they depend on where you are going and what class you are travelling. So basically, you might think you are booking a free trip with your points but depending on the route, you may have to pay some serious cash in fees. In some instances, it might even be cheaper to pay for the ticket in cash which means that your points actually have no value. These fees have been challenged on several occasions, and there has also been a class action law suit filed. However, despite this, there has been no change in the fees.

Limited Domestic Flight Options: If you are flying outside the United States, there are plenty of opportunities to redeem your points with the BA card. However, this is not the case when travelling within America. The reason for this is that you can only book with Alaska and American Airlines. If you are redeeming your tickets with Alaska Airlines, you only have the option to book over the phone and not online.

Avios Points Expire: If you don’t spend, purchase, share, or collect your points for 36 consecutive months, they will expire. This is completely unacceptable since there are plenty of other credit cards that offer rewards that don’t expire.

Bonus Reward Issues: There is nothing wrong with having a yearly annual fee, the majority of credit cards have one. The problem is that you are only rewarded points that go towards your welcome bonus if you book your flights with British Airways, Aer Lingus or Liberia. This means that in order to break even, you will need to spend $3,167! Is it really worth it?

Difficulty Redeeming Points Online: Many card holders have made the complaint that they find it difficult to redeem their points online. The main issue appears to be the website interface, it has been described as “not very user friendly,” “horrible,” and “a complete waste of time.” Users mention that they spend several hours a day trying to look for flights where they can redeem their points. The site will highlight a flight as available, but once you click on it, you are then told that the flight is not available for customers who want to redeem points.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives with this card. These issues are only highlighted in the small print, and the majority of people don’t read them. So once you take out the British Airways Credit Card, these fancy benefits are actually pretty difficult to acquire. The fees are also very unfair, there are too many other credit cards with much better benefits to get trapped by this one. If you really do believe that this card is for you, it is advised that you fully understand the terms and conditions of the card, or you might end up very disappointed.

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