Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 8:10 pm
Update: The waived annual fee limited time offer for this card was supposed to have ended almost 3 weeks ago. This limited time offer was the first time the BA card was offered with the annual fee waived for the first year.
If you’re on the fence and don’t want to miss this offer there’s no better time to apply than right now!
-Want to learn more about the BA Avios program. I’ve written up an entire knowledgebase of facts that you can peruse. Read it and you’ll probably find an answer to your question!
-You can click to view a list of every nonstop flight from:
that can be booked with Avios along with whether there will be a fuel surcharge for that flight.
-50,000 British Airways (BA) Avios for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
-With this new offer the annual fee is waived on this card for the first year. It is $95 thereafter.
-You will earn 1.25 Avios per dollar spent everywhere and 2.5 Avios per dollar spent on BA tickets. There are no foreign transaction fees and the card includes a chip to use when abroad.
-BA Avios are awesome. They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus. The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, especially for one-way flights, last-minute flights, or flights in business or first class. But programs like American are not great for short flights.
In 2011 BA launched the Avios program which provides an incredible value for short-haul flights. I’ve booked probably a dozen short-haul tickets in the past year for myself using Avios for travel on their partner, American. A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days or if you book last-minute. But BA allows me to use just 9,000 Avios for that same flight, a whopping value of over 13 cents per mile. Now I can hop over to Chicago or NYC on a whim without any kind of mileage regret like I used to have in the pre-Avios days.
-50,000 Avios has gotten me flights that would have otherwise cost over $6,500. Or those same exact flights would run some 140K American miles not even accounting for the $75 expedite fees and $150 cancellation fees that American would charge with their own miles compared to $0 expedite and $2.50 cancellation when booking an American flight with Avios!
-Cardholders get 10% off paid BA tickets with promo code: CARDOFFERU
-You can earn a free companion award ticket every year that you spend $30K though it’s only valid for travel on BA or Open Skies. The companion travels in the same class of service, so if you redeem Avios for a first class ticket your companion flies in first as well for 0 Avios but taxes and fees will be owed.
-Avoiding fuel surcharges:
-There are no fuel surcharges for travel on American Airlines within the Western Hemisphere
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas within Australia.
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, or LAN worldwide. You can fly to Europe without fuel surcharges for as little as 12,500 Avios each way in coach or 25,000 Avios each way in business.
-Flights within Europe also have no fuel surcharges as long as you have earned a single Avios mile in the past 12 months. That means you can fly to Ireland on Aer Lingus for just 12,500 Avios each way and then fly around Europe from just 4,500 Avios without any fuel surcharges. Or fly to Israel on Air Berlin with no fuel surcharges for just 30K Avios in coach or 50K in business each way. Bear in mind that Aer Lingus and Alaska Air flights as well as many connecting flights must be booked by calling them, they can’t be booked online though because of that they are willing to waive the phone fee.
-Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are also pretty low and you don’t even need to fly all the way to Hong Kong (though you should-great city with awesome kosher food, airport lounges with kosher food, and a business or first class flight you’ll never forget!) to get a taste of their awesome service, seat, pajamas, and amenities. They fly a daily 777 nonstop between JFK and Vancouver which I reviewed in this trip report.
-You can significantly cut the fuel surcharges when flying on Iberia by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios. Not that in order to do that you’ll first need to transfer 1,000 points from AMEX MR into Iberia to activate that account.
-British Airways 5th Freedom Flights (flights that don’t depart from or arrive to the UK) have significantly lower fees. For example even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer flight than NYC-London the fees in first class on Singapore-Sydney are less than half of those from NYC-London.
Advantages of BA Avios over most traditional mileage programs:
-There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings with BA Avios.
-You can book one-way tickets for half of the miles of a round-trip!
-You can cancel tickets and redeposit miles for the lessor of $40 or the taxes you paid. That means you pay just $2.50 for cancel a one-way domestic itinerary (and it’s why I always book cheap domestic flights as one-ways).
-British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally, even when traveling on AA. AA and other domestic carriers charge a whopping 10% of the full fare, which can add up to be a small fortune. When flying domestic you should add the infant at the airport for free.
-It’s easy to top-off your BA Avios account thanks to their partnerships with all of the transferable points programs. You can transfer Starpoints to BA at a 20K:25K ratio with the built-in 25% transfer bonus or American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards to BA at a 1:1 ratio:
-With short-haul flights starting at just 4,500 Avios you can get a lot of free travel from your Avios.
Award bands include:
Band 1: Flights that are 1-650 miles cost 4,500 Avios.
Sample routes: LGA-Cleveland, LGA-Detroit, LGA-Montreal, LGA-Toronto, Miami-Cancun, Miami-Key West, Miami-Nassau, London-Paris, Melbourne-Sydney, Los Angeles-Las Vegas
Band 2: Flights that are 651-1,151 miles cost 7,500 Avios.
Sample routes: JFK-Bermuda, Los Angeles-Cabo San Lucas, LGA-Chicago, LGA-Miami, LGA-West Palm Beach, Philadelphia-Miami.
Band 3: Flights that are 1,151-2,000 miles cost 10,000 Avios.
Sample routes: JFK-S. Maarten, JFK-Cancun, JFK-S. Juan, Los Angeles-Chicago, Berlin-Tel Aviv, Hong Kong-Singapore
Band 4: Flights that are 2,001-3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios.
Sample routes: Boston-Dublin, JFK-Los Angeles, JFK-Vancouver, Los Angeles-Maui, JFK-Costa Rica, Pittsburgh-Los Angeles
Band 5: Flights that are 3,001-4,000 miles cost 20,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-London, NYC-Berlin, Chicago-Dublin, Dallas-Maui
Band 6: Flights that are 4,001-5,500 miles cost 25,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-Buenos Aires, NYC-Rio de Janeiro, London-Johannesburg
Band 7: Flights that are 5,501-6,500 miles cost 30,000 Avios.
Sample route: NYC-Amman
Band 8: Flights that are 6,501-7,000 miles cost 35,000 Avios.
Sample route: S. Francisco-Hong Kong, JFK-Hong Kong
Band 9: Flights that are 7,001 miles or more cost 50,000 Avios.
Sample route: Los Angeles-Sydney, JFK-Sydney
Be sure to read the BA knowledgebase for tips and tricks to make some flights cheaper.
Other Chase consumer cards you can get at the time as the BA card include the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points, no fee the first year, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), Chase Southwest Visa (through 10/30 you can get 50K signup points and potentially much more, click here to read about it), Chase Freedom (which gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories and 10% bonus points if you have a Chase checking account), and the Chase United Explorer (which gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance in most countries worldwide besides Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more).
The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both give 50,000 signup points and offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year.