100K British Airways Bonus Offer: Not Worth It for Many

100K British Airways Bonus Offer Not Worth It

 

The 100K British Airways Visa signup bonus is back, but this offer has gone from being a great deal a few years ago to only #7 on my Best Travel Credit Cards page, for reasons I'll go into below. But first, here are the offer details:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after $3000 spend within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Additional 25,000 bonus Avios (so total 75K Avios) after spending $10,000 total on purchases within the first year, or additional 50,000 bonus Avios (total 100K Avios) after spending $20,000 total on purchases within the first year 
  • 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases 
  • Smart Chip Technology 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel Together companion ticket valid for 2 years after $30,000 spend within a calendar year 
  • $95 annual fee is NOT waived for this offer

 

5 Reasons the 100K British Airways Visa Offer Isn't Worth It to Many

1. Poor British Airways First Class Award Availability for Popular Routes

Is there British Airways First Class from London LHR to Los Angeles LAX? Of course, and on the A380 no less, if you want to pay about $17,000 round trip or ~$12,000 one way for it. Is there any first class award availability? Nope. Not only for April, 2017, but also May 2017, June 2017…in fact not anytime in the next year. So don't count on redeeming British Airways Avios for First Class between LHR and LAX. Not happening.


2. Expensive British Airways Award Chart, Especially for First Class and Business Class Long Haul Flights

Given that you can fly JAL First Class from NYC to Tokyo one way for 70,000 Alaska miles + $19, for a 14.5 hour flight, British Airways First Class (a much inferior product vs. JAL First) is expensive at 100K Avios + $477 (peak pricing) or 85,000 Avios + $477 (off-peak) for a shorter one way from LHR to SFO of less than 11 hours.

 

3. Poor AAdvantage Saver Award Availability for U.S. Domestic Awards

If you've opted out entirely of international long haul first class and business class awards and are seeking to use your Avios for shorter intra-regional flights, you'll need a lot of flexibility. For example, most months there is *no* saver award space for nonstop flights between Miami MIA and NYC JFK.

Poor AAdvantage Business Saver Award Availability

 

As a result you can't use British Airways Avios for anything except economy class on the nonstop, and even that can be limited.

Poor AAdvantage Saver Award Availability Even in Economy for MIA-JFK

 

4. High Fuel Surcharges on British Airways Award Flights

Certainly the high APD (air passenger duty) on flights departing the UK and British Airways' high fuel surcharges are well known to anyone redeeming for first class and business class on British Airways, but it bears repeating. Count on ~$480-$500 in taxes and fees each way on first class or business class awards between the U.S. and Europe.

 

5. “Meh” British Airways First Class Product

Unfortunately, in comparison to other top first class cabins, such as Singapore Suites on the A380, Singapore First Class, JAL First Class, Etihad First Apartment on the A380, Emirates A380 First Class, ANA First Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, Lufthansa First Class, etc. British Airways First Class is a let down. It has too many seats in First Class and feels cramped for a first class product, the mattress pad is thin and the bed not very comfortable, and the service and food and drink quality have steadily declined over the years. It's just not worth it to us spending the $30K to earn the Travel Together ticket, then spending the miles and fuel surcharges to fly this product.

 

6. High Spend Requirement to Earn 100K Miles and Travel Together Ticket

Unlike, say, the 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve, which only had a $3000 spend requirement and effectively a $150 per year annual fee ($450 annual fee less the $300 annual travel credit) the British Airways Visa requires $20,000 total spend within the first year, and $30,000 within a given calendar year if you want to earn the Travel Together ticket. That's a good chunk of most people's yearly personal spend on credit cards, so there could be opportunity costs vis-a-vis other spend opportunities to earn other signup bonuses or category bonuses.

While I would be sitting this one out regardless, since I earned a British Airways Visa bonus within the last 24 months, we have the opportunity to apply my husband for this card but won't. In fact, I still have Avios languishing in my British Airways Executive Club account that I haven't had occasion to use, since my Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, AAdvantage miles and Alaska miles have been so much more valuable for our recent travels and award redemptions.

Do you plan to apply or sit out this 100K British Airways Visa bonus offer?

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