British Airways Visa Signature Card Review

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The British Airways Visa Signature Card, issued by Chase, offers exceptional rewards for heavy spenders who fly abroad regularly. The bonus offer stands out from the competition, though after the first year, rewards diminish for anyone with a limited budget. 

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Overall Rating
3.5
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate 3 Avios for every $1 spent on Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia purchases, 2 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations, and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
2.3
for Rewards
3.4
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Brand Loyalist

If you tend to charge a lot and have good credit, the British Airways Visa Signature Card is a great way to amass a slew of points to pay for your next international vacation. In your first year, you don’t need to fly British Airways or buy items in any particular spending category to earn a big sum of bonus points.

But after that, you’ll earn the most Avios points on British Airways (and partner airline) purchases, so like many airline-branded credit cards, this card favors frequent flyers of the airline. Heavy spenders are the one exception: No matter how long you’ve had the card, you’ll snag a companion ticket each year you charge $30,000. 

Pros
  • You can earn lots of points in your first year

  • Points are valuable

  • Heavy spenders can earn a companion ticket every year

  • Plenty of airline choices

Cons
  • Once the welcome bonus is gone, you need to spend a lot to get the most value

  • You may get stuck with big carrier fees

  • Missing some top travel perks

Pros Explained

  • You can earn lots of points in your first year: Even if you don’t travel, the British Airways Visa Signature Card offers an exceptional first-year promotion. If you charge at least $1,700 a month on your card—on anything—you could get enough points for at least one international round-trip flight your first year, based on our research.
  • Points can be very valuable: Our research shows that frequent flyer miles from BA can be a superior value when used for international flights, and a very good value when used on American Airlines flights for U.S. travel.
  • Heavy spenders can earn a companion ticket every year: If you charge at least $30,000 in a calendar year, you’ll get a “travel together” ticket to be used with your own award ticket (you just need to pay taxes and fees).
  • Plenty of airline choices: Besides British Airways, your points can be used for flights on 12 partner airlines in the oneworld alliance when you book those flights through BA.

Cons Explained

  • Once the welcome bonus is gone, you need to spend a lot to get the most value: This card’s regular rewards-earning potential is lackluster. You only earn bonus points on purchases from three airlines and on hotels. And to get that companion ticket, you’ll need to spend $30,000 in a year on the card, which could limit your ability to rack up points or miles on other cards. 
  • You may get stuck with big carrier fees: British Airways has earned a reputation for big carrier charges on international flights. Those can cost you hundreds of extra dollars, even if you use Avios points to pay for the base fare. For example, British Airways may impose a carrier charge of anywhere from $682 to $1,250 per adult economy ticket, or $1,250 for business class based on a trip between Seattle and London.
  • Missing some top travel perks: Unlike some competing cards, the British Airways Visa Signature Card doesn’t offer priority boarding, free checked luggage, or an application fee credit for TSA Precheck/Global Entry or an airline fee credit. 

Bonus for New Cardholders

The British Airways Visa Signature Card offers one of the biggest bonuses available, but only if you’re a heavy spender.

If you spend $3,000 within the first three months, you’ll get 50,000 points—about what you’d get from other travel cards that may only require you to spend $2,000 (and may waive the annual fee for the first year.) This card stands out, though, if you have a big budget month in and month out; if you charge $20,000 in the first year, you’ll earn another 50,000 points for a total of 100,000. 

If you don’t plan to spend an average of at least $1,700 a month on your British Airways Visa Signature Card, then you may be better off with a different travel card that allows you to use your rewards for flights with this oneworld alliance airline.

Earning Points & Rewards

Once cardholders have maxed out the card’s new-cardholder bonus offer, the British Airways rewards program becomes less appealing—especially if you don’t plan to fly British Airways, Iberia, or Aer Lingus regularly. 

Cardholders are awarded 3 points per $1 spent on those three airlines (some competitors with similar fees only award 2 points per $1 spent on the co-branded airline) and then 2 points per $1 spent on hotel reservations. Unfortunately, there are no bonus points for everyday purchases such as groceries or gas. You’ll just earn the standard 1 point per $1 spent on every other purchase.

Redeeming Rewards  

You can use Avios points to pay for flights with British Airways and 13 partners, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. If you don’t have enough Avios points to pay for an entire flight, you may be able to pay the rest in cash if you’re booking a British Airways flight, an American Airlines flight between North American and the United Kingdom, or flights on select partner airlines.

The rewards program doesn’t impose any blackout dates on travel, but it does limit the number of reward seats that are available, which can have the same effect. Route, flight distance, and seat type will also impact reward ticket cost. For example, The Balance found that a short, one-way economy flight on British Airways within Europe may cost about 14,400 Avios, while a longer distance first-class ticket may cost about 62,500 Avios.

British Airways may have higher carrier charges than its partners on transatlantic flights, so look for rewards flights with other airlines in the program first. Or, if you’re traveling in designated areas, you may be able to use the Rewards Flight Saver program, which charges just one fee plus the required Avios points. 

Besides airfare and related expenses, you can redeem Avios points for select hotel stays, car rentals, tours, and in-flight drink and snack purchases. You can’t redeem them for cash, statement credits, gift cards or merchandise, though.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Charge at least $30,000 every year in order to earn the companion ticket. In the first year, that will also earn you the full 100,000-point bonus. 

Take advantage of other opportunities to earn extra points, such as shopping through the British Airways eStore or using this card to book hotel reservations. When redeeming your rewards, book partner flights whenever possible to avoid steep carrier charges. 

The British Airways Visa Signature Card’s Excellent Perks

The British Airways Visa Signature Card doesn’t offer all the travel perks that some airline cards do, but these are the ones we think are the best: 

  • Companion pass: Every year you charge $30,000, you’ll receive a complimentary ticket for a companion who will accompany you on an award flight (you just need to pay taxes and fees). The pass, which British Airways calls a “Travel Together Ticket,” is good for up to two years and can even be used for first class. This is an ongoing benefit, and is pretty generous, considering the annual fee is just $95. 
  • Annual statement credits for airline flight purchases: Get up to $600 back in statement credits each year by booking an award flight to London on British Airways and using this card to pay applicable taxes, fees, and carrier charges. You’ll earn $100 back for each economy or premium economy flight, or $200 for business and first-class tickets, three times each year.  
  • Insurance coverage for lost or delayed baggage: You’ll be reimbursed up to $100 a day to cover essential purchases for three days if your baggage is delayed by more than six hours. You’ll be reimbursed up to $3,000 per ticket if your or an immediate family member’s luggage is lost or damaged in transit.

The British Airways Visa Signature Card’s Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Extended warranties
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases

Customer Experience

Chase took fourth place out of 11 national credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s 2020 credit card satisfaction study, getting an about average score of 809 out of 1,000 points.

One convenient feature that’s worth noting is the British Airways Visa Signature Card’s “tap and pay” technology. You can save time at the cash register by tapping your card at any payment terminal that accepts contactless payments. 

Security Features 

The British Airways Visa Signature Card offers standard security features, such as zero liability for fraudulent purchases as long as your report suspected fraud immediately. 

Fees That Stand Out

The balance transfer fee on the British Airways Visa Signature Card is higher than some competitors, at 5% of the transaction (many cards charge 3%). The card doesn’t charge a penalty rate if you fall behind on payments, which is somewhat unusual. It also doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

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CURRENT CARD
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
3.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate 3 Avios for every $1 spent on Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia purchases, 2 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations, and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. British Airwarys. "oneworld." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  2. Chase. "British Airways Visa Signature card." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  4. Chase. "Pricing & Terms." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.