Chase is back with the British Airways 100,000 point signup bonus: 50,000 points after first purchase, 25,000 additional points after $10,000 in spend within a year, and 25,000 more points after the next $10,000 in spend (ie after $20,000 in spend) during that first year. There’s a $95 annual fee, not waived the first year.
However, like the Capital One 100,000 point signup bonus offer, this year’s iteration of the Chase British Airways offer isn’t quite as generous as it has been in the past.
- British Airways gutted their award chart in November (something I predicted six months earlier).
- The first time they offered this — it was the biggest bonus ever at the time for a credit card signup — the terms were 50,000 points with first purchase, 50,000 points after $2000 in spend within 3 months. When it came back in April, 2011 the requirements were similar.
Still, this is probably the very best current credit card signup bonus. It’s a publicly-available bonus, albeit one that will be available for a short time. It’s likely to work only for first-time British Airways credit card holders, Chase doesn’t like giving out bonuses for the same card more than once.
100,000 British Airways Avios points are enough for business class from the West Coast to London (East Coast runs 80,000 roundtrip). But they charge pretty significant fuel surcharges, you can expect to pay over $1000 in taxes and fees when you count not just fuel surcharges but also the UK premium cabin departure tax, which doesn’t apply when just connecting in the UK. Still, $1100 and a credit card signup for roundtrip business class is a pretty good deal. 100,000 is also enough for business class non-stop roundtrip between New York and Buenos Aires. South America flights don’t incur fuel surcharges. And of course short-haul awards are cheap, starting at 9000 points roundtrip, and routes (like US domestic routes) which don’t add fuel surcharges to paid travel don’t incur them on awards.
But is this really a 100,000 point bonus, or rather is it worth pursuing the full 100,000 point? It’s 50,000 with first purchase, and then for each of your first $10,000 in spend within a year on the card you effectively earn 3.75 points per dollar (since the card normally earns 1.25 points per dollar and $10,000 earns 25,000 points). That’s a great deal. It’s a better deal than most credit card spend, even most bonusable credit card spend. For instance, I’d (barely) take 3.75 British Airways Avios over 2.14 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (Sapphire Preferred earns double points on travel and dining). But it’s not a huge bonus.
It requires significant spend. But then again, if you’re a big spender anyway, it’s a good reason to go for high spend since at $30,000 you also get a companion award ticket as well — two people travel on a British Airways-metal award for the points price of one award ticket, though you pay the taxes and fees for both. That’s a way to stretch the points even farther. If you can hit $30,000 in spend by the end of the year on the card, you’ll pocket that companion ticket and 137,500 points. That’s within spitting distance of two first class award tickets from the West Coast to London, more than enough for first class from the East Coast to London for two passengers.
Many folks will still prefer to use their spend for signup bonuses on more credit cards, rather than using limited spend to hit these bonuses. But if you’re not churning credit cards for bonuses, this is a great offer. Or if you have enough spend that you’re not trading off with hitting minimum spend on other cards, it’s a great offer. It’s just not quite as generous as previous iterations of the offer.