50K British Airways Visa with Annual Fee Waived First Year

50K British Airways Visa with Annual Fee Waived First Year

The 50K British Airways Visa bonus offer now waives the annual fee the first year, and I've updated the link on the Best Travel Credit Cards page. This brings the signup bonus offer more in line with other Chase cards such as the 50K Ink Plus, 50K Ink Bold and up to 45K Sapphire Preferred, but is actually a first for the British Airways Visa, which to my knowledge has never before waived the $95 annual fee the first year.

Here are the offer details:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after $2,000 spend within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Chip and Signature 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 waived for the first year (special offer; usually not waived)

Am I Eligible for The 50K British Airways Visa if I Previously Had the Card?

Yes, if you have not received a bonus for this card in the past 24 months. Note this is of course different from having applied or were approved over 24 months ago, since you typically receive the bonus several months after being approved for the card.

Is it Worth Earning the British Airways Companion Ticket, Given the Expensive Fuel Surcharges?

It depends on your travel style. If you tend to travel economy, then no–it's definitely not worth earning the companion voucher for economy awards, since you do have to pay taxes and fuel surcharges on both tickets. If your goal is to travel in first class between the U.S. and Europe, then it could well be worth it, since there are limited first class options to Europe available in advance with miles, so British Airways New First Class is a good option. Expect to pay ~$1100 per person for a roundtrip first class award U.S. to London and back, so ~$2200 for two, plus the miles needed for one award.

Which Tickets Can Be Booked Using British Airways Avios With No or Low Fuel Surcharges?

In general, apart from the companion voucher on British Airways flights, the best use of British Airways Avios is for short nonstop regional flights, e.g. domestic U.S. flights, domestic Australia flights, domestic Japan flights, etc.
  • airberlin flights to and from Europe (plan well in advance for these–business class books out quickly)
  • Aer Lingus flights to and from Ireland (Dublin or Shannon airports)
  • Domestic U.S. flights on American Airlines or US Airways
  • Domestic Japan flights on JAL
  • Domestic Australia flights on Qantas
  • Alaska Airlines flights (note that these must be booked by phone)
  • Cathay Pacific First Class and Cathay Pacific Business Class flights–these have low fuel surcharges, although do cost more Avios after the British Airways devaluation. 
  • Fifth Freedom flights, for example British Airways' flight between Singapore and Sydney. There are fuel surcharges, but lower than between the U.S. and London. Good luck finding award availability for two in the same cabin however–very limited award availability.
50K British Airways Visa with Annual Fee Waived First Year Best Uses-Fifth Freedom Flight with Lower Fuel Surcharges
Any Advantages of British Airways Avios?
A few advantages of Avios are:
  • Inexpensive award chart for short, nonstop economy flights as noted above
  • No close-in booking fee
  • Lower change fee of $55 per ticket, compared to $75-$100 for United MileagePlus and $150 for American AAdvantage
  • Award calendar opens earlier than AAdvantage, giving you the ability to book certain awards ahead of those using AAdvantage miles
Do you plan to apply for the 50K British Airways Visa with first year annual fee waived?

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