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The Comeback: 100,000 Miles for British Airways’ Credit Cards

The Comeback: 100,000 Miles for British Airways’ Credit Cards

Still kicking yourself for missing last year’s much-heralded bonus for new British Airways Visa cardholders—100,000 miles after charging $2,000 in the first three months?

Stop kicking and start clicking.

British Airways and Chase, the card issuer, have reprised the promotion, more or less in its original form. Yes, including that eye-popping 100,000-mile bonus.

This time, though, the offer is better in at least one key respect. Unlike its first appearance—during which the offer appeared and disappeared, seemingly at random, leaving consumers wondering whether they’d earned the bonus or not—the new promotion is displayed prominently on British Airways’ website, complete with a published end date.

Offer Details

Through May 5, new customers for the British Airways Visa Signature card can earn up to 100,000 bonus Executive Club miles, as follows:

  • 50,000 miles after the first purchase charged to the card
  • 50,000 more miles after charging $2,500 during the first three months

Card Details

  • Annual fee: $95
  • Annual percentage rate: variable, Prime Rate plus 10.99 percent, currently 14.24 percent
  • Cardholders earn 2.5 Executive Club miles for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases, 1.25 miles for every $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Cardholders receive a free companion award ticket every year (calendar year, that is) they charge $30,000 to the card.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Deal or No Deal

At the time, I called the original the most lucrative credit card offer ever. While similar in most respects, the new promotion is marginally less generous.

Where the latest promotion requires $2,500, the initial version delivered the second 50,000 miles after spending just $2,000 in the first three months, so the spend hurdle here is slightly higher. But anyone who can qualify for the first promotion can probably qualify for this one as well.

The annual fee for the card has increased as well, from $75 to $95.

And since the first British Airways promotion, there have been other developments in the credit card space. Capital One, for example, upped the promotional ante with their just-ended 110,000-mile bonus for new Venture cards.

The chief negative of this and any promotion that features Executive Club miles is British Airways’ policy of imposing outsized fuel surcharges for award travel on its own flights. Paying several hundred dollars for an award flight to London significantly undermines the value of Executive Club miles, versus miles in a competing program where such surcharges are more modest or, better, non-existent.

But there are ways around the surcharges, including, somewhat ironically, avoiding British Airways’ own flights for award travel. (After the last promotion, readers weighed in with their suggestions for redeeming British Airways miles.)

So, is this a king’s comeback, or an also-ran rerun? Without getting into a hair-splitting debate about the relative value of Executive Club miles versus Capital One miles, this remains one of the best offers ever for a travel-rewards credit card.

Reader Reality Check

Did you take advantage of this promotion the first time? If so, please share any tips for redeeming the miles you earned.

If you missed the first promotion, will you sign up this time? Any plans for using the miles you’ll earn?

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