Let your everyday spending take you closer to Great Britain. With every purchase made with your British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you're one step closer to a trip across the pond. Or by booking with one of British Airways' many airline partners, you can use some of your up to 100,000 Avios (British Airways currency) to plan a trip a little closer to home.
A welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios is one of the better ones on the market, and British Airways makes it easy to snatch up this reward. Spend just $3,000 in your first three months from account opening and earn 50,000 Avios, and then earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening and earn another 25,000 after you spend $20,000 total in the first year for a total possible bonus of 100,000 Avios.
And that's just the welcome bonus! To make your spending all the sweeter, each time you use your British Airways Visa Signature® Card on a British Airways, Iberia Airlines or OpenSkies (non-stop flights between New York and Paris) purchase, you'll earn three Avios per $1 spent to use toward British Airways flights or on flights with its oneworld® partners which include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, AirBerlin, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways and more. Your Avios can also be redeemed for hotels stays, car rentals and trip experiences. You'll also earn one Avios per $1 on all other purchases.
Lastly, every calendar year that you spend at least $30,000 on your card you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket for a companion, good for two years. Simply redeem your Avios for a British Airways reward flight and use your voucher to take someone special with you in the same cabin. The seat is complimentary! All you pay are the taxes and airlines fees. That companion ticket alone more than offsets the $95 annual fee for this card.
Other notable features of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card:
Our favorite feature of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is easily the generosity with the miles and the rewards. Consider that a Travel Together Ticket good for any cabin on any flight could easily be worth $1,000 or more if you choose an international flight or first-class fare. Then there's that huge bonus. While there are other cards out there with large welcome bonuses, one as high as 100,000 miles/rewards is rare.
Furthermore, we also like that Avios redemption isn't restricted to British Airways flights. Thanks to British Airways' oneworld® alliance network, travelers can fly to hundreds of destinations around the world on a plethora of airlines, both domestically and internationally, using Avios. If you can manage a little research, you'll be able to redeem your Avios wisely and really maximize the benefits and minimize the cost. Even if you aren't headed overseas anytime soon, this card could still work for you. In fact, an argument could be made that Avios are even more valuable for short-haul flights here in the U.S. on one of the partner airlines, as redemptions start at just 7,500 Avios.
Lastly, Avios can also be used on hotel stays, car rentals, and trip experiences so you aren't just limited to one redemption category.
Plus, with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, it's easy to quickly rack up additional Avios with three Avios earned on every British Airways purchase and one Avios on everything else, helping you to arrive at your dream destination even sooner.
And, once again, let's not forget that Travel Together Ticket opportunity...
Though you can use Avios to fly on British Airways from the U.S. to Great Britain, the high fees and fuel surcharges charged by British Airways will often cancel out the savings of an award ticket. Because of this, to make the most of your Avios, your best bet for long-haul international flights would be to book a rewards flight with one of British Airways' many travel partners, like Aer Lingus for a flight from Boston to Dublin. Then, once you're abroad, you'll be better off on short-haul British Airways flights so you can avoid those high fuel surcharges associated with flying across the Atlantic. It's also possible to book a domestic flight with one of British Airways' partner airlines, with deals as low as 7,500 Avios for flights originating and terminating in the U.S.
Second, while the Travel Together Ticket for a companion can be a fabulous perk, the $30,000 spending threshold might be a bit steep for some. And furthermore, even though it's advertised as complimentary, it's not really free as you're still responsible for paying taxes and fees for the second ticket, which can range from $680 to $1,250 depending on your departure and arrival locations, as well as travel dates. There are other restrictions as well. With this ticket you have to fly round trip from the U.S., and it's only valid on British Airways, however, it can still be a terrific value depending on your dates and destination, especially if you're looking to fly business or first class.
Lastly, some might not like the $95 annual fee that comes with the card. However, we think this fee is easy to overlook considering what you get with the card. In our opinion, the excellent signup bonus and great earning scheme will likely make the fee worth it for most users.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card vs. Discover it® Miles (This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
Though Discover it® Miles doesn't offer a huge signup bonus initially when opening an account, it does match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year, and with an unlimited 1.5 miles earned on every $1 spent, there's some serious earning potential to be had that first year of card membership. With that said, one would need to spend $25,000 with Discover it® Miles within that first year to earn as many miles as you can with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card signup bonus.
With Discover it® Miles, however, you redeem your miles for statement credit to cover your travel purchases, so you aren't restricted to any one airline (or hotel, etc. as your miles can be redeemed for a variety of travel purchases). Additionally, since you actually buy each airfare and then redeem miles to cover the cost at the level of your credit card statement, you can earn frequent flyer miles for even your reward flights.
If your decision comes down to these two cards, you'll need to consider your spending habits and loyalties. Big spenders might really benefit from the Discover it® Miles as there's no limit on how many miles you can match your first year. If you spend $30,000 your first year with the card you'll earn 90,000 miles at the end of the year, spend $50,000 and earn 150,000 miles at the end of the year, etc. As you can see by the numbers, the earning potential with Discover it® Miles your first year can be huge; however, the match offer is only good for the first year. After that, you'll only earn 1.5 miles per $1, compared to the three Avios per $1 on British Airways purchases you could earn with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.
Discover it® Miles could be great for those who don't want an annual fee, who are looking to make a lot of big purchases in their first year, or who want the freedom to redeem purchases with any airline, but if you're loyal to the British Airways brand and can hit the spending threshold for that companion ticket, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card might be the better choice between the two.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
It's not the up to 100,000 Avios like you can get with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, but Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® cardholders earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles: 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in the first 12 months of account opening,* and that certainly isn't a bad offer for those loyal to the American Airlines brand (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser).
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® cardholders earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases,* versus the three miles the British Airways Visa Signature® Card earns cardholders for British Airways flights, but with the Citi card you'll also earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card.* If you're exclusively making flight purchases with American Airlines and also want to earn some on your everyday purchases, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a fine choice, but if you often fly with British Airways, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card may be the way to go as you can still use Avios to fly American Airlines since it's a British Airways oneworld® airline partner and there's no opportunity for a companion ticket with the American Airlines card.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®'s annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months*.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
This is another general travel rewards card as compared to an airline-specific card, which means you can redeem your rewards for a wide range of travel opportunities. Plus, with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases, making this an excellent card for people who don't want to worry about earning more rewards for purchases in certain categories or keeping track of a spending cap.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers new cardholders 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel, after spending $3,000 within the first three months. Miles can be redeemed without worrying about a particular brand or blackout dates.
Lastly, as you would expect with a card with "venture" in the name, you won't be paying foreign transaction fees if you use the card abroad. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card's annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.
Bottom line is that you'll want to consider your loyalties and plans for your rewards; if you want flexibility, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is probably a better fit.
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a great choice for those looking for a large signup bonus and for those who frequently travel on British Airways, Iberia Airlines, or OpenSkies flights. Those who often travel any of British Airways' oneworld® airline partners, such as American Airlines, AirBerlin, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas or Qatar Airlines (to name a few), could also really benefit from this card, thanks, at least in part, to the possible 100,000-Avios bonus that could be used towards flights as well as other travel purchases.