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Chase has announced two major changes to the British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card, without taking anything away: faster earning and taking on high taxes and fees on awards. The important takeaway is that the card will let you redeem British Airways Avios with less of a blow from the carrier’s surcharges. As a result, the card can add value even when you’re redeeming transferred Chase or American Express points.
Faster Earning for Spend
The card now offers 3 Avios per $1 spent with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL; 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel purchases booked directly with the hotel; and 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
New Statement Credit for Flight Taxes and Fees
The British Airways Visa will give you up to $600 in statement credits each year for flight taxes and fees (3 credits a year up to $200 each)
- $200 for a reward flight in business or first
- $100 for a reward flight in economy or premium economy
British Airways First Class
British Airways has reduced economy surcharges on some North America routes to as low as $65. Indeed, New York – London Heathrow one way now has a total of $93.70 in taxes and fees. This card’s statement credit would rebate it all.
Business and first class surcharges are much higher. Since the rebate is capped at $200, it may make sense to break up your award into two one ways and use it twice for the same trip.
No Cuts to Existing Benefits
The card’s inital bonus lets you earn 100,000 Avios: 50,000 Avios after $3,000 spent within the first three months and another 50,000 Avios after $20,000 spent in total purchases in the first year. It also gives you a promo code or 10% off British Airways tickets when you pay with the card.
And spending on the card can get you a companion award ticket for just the taxes and fees. The basic rules for the travel together ticket are:
- Each calendar year that you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature Card, you earn a Travel Together Ticket valid for two years. Travel must begin by the expiration date of the certificate.
- Since the vouchers are valid for two years, if you earn one in each calendar year it is possible to have two vouchers in your account at the same time. You can use both on the same trip so that four passengers can travel for the mileage cost of two awards (plus taxes and fees).
- You can earn only one companion award ticket per British Airways Visa primary account. Spending $60,000 on the card does not earn two.
- All travel must originate in or return to the US.
- The person who earns the voucher (the visa cardholder) must be one of the passengers on the award ticket.
- Only flights on British Airways aircraft may be used on the award.
- Regular award space must be available for all passengers.
It’s great to see changes to a card that make it more attractive. I still feel spend, beyond earning the initial bonus, makes sense on other cards. However getting up to $600 a year in statement credits when redeeming awards is a big increase in value.