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British Airways Visa Signature credit card review: Combat high fuel surcharges and earn flexible Avios

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Editors note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

British Airways Visa Signature Card overview

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card might not be your top choice for using one of your valuable 5/24 slots with Chase, but its low annual fee, strong earning potential and credits to cover fuel surcharges make it a compelling option for many British Airways loyalists. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Some lucrative credit card options from foreign airlines are often overlooked, and the British Airways Visa Signature® Card — the only cobranded credit card that British Airways offers in the U.S. — is among them.

It has a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year and a recommended credit score of 670 or higher. It doesn’t come with common airline benefits such as a free checked bag or priority boarding. Nevertheless, it’s one of the more valuable airline cards on the market because of its big sign-up bonus and money-saving perks.

Let’s examine whether the card deserves a spot in your wallet.

British Airways Visa pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn a Travel Together Ticket (companion pass) every calendar year you make at least $30,000 in purchases
  • Save up to $600 annually in award taxes and fees on British Airways flights
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Signature card perks including trip and baggage protection
  • Miles redemption limited to British Airways and Oneworld alliance partners
  • Hefty taxes and fees on British Airways award flights

British Airways Visa sign-up bonus

The British Airways Visa is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

And for a limited time, you’ll also earn 5 Avios on every dollar spent on gas, grocery and dining in combined purchases (either up to $10,000 or for the first 12 months from account opening, whichever comes first).


TPG values Avios at 1.5 cents apiece, so earning 75,000 Avios would get $1,125 in value. Then, if you maximize the $10,000 cap in combined purchases, you’ll earn another 50,000 Avios for a total of 125,000 Avios — worth a total of $1,875. That places it toward the top of our best limited-time welcome offers available.

One important note: Like other Chase-issued cards, the British Airways Visa Signature Card falls under Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), your application will likely be automatically rejected — even if you have a nearly perfect credit score.

Related: Cards currently offering sign-up bonuses of 100,000 points or more

British Airways Visa benefits

Although the British Airways Visa lacks many of the usual cobranded airline card perks, such as a free checked bag and priority boarding, the ones it does offer can still save British Airways flyers a significant amount on cash and award tickets.

  • Reward flight statement credit: Receive a statement credit three times a year of $100 for Economy (World Traveller) and Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) seats — or $200 for Business (Club World) and first-class seats — when you book a reward flight to London traveling on British Airways and pay taxes, fees and charges with your British Airways Visa Signature Card.
  • Travel Together Ticket: Spend $30,000 on the card each calendar year and earn a Travel Together Ticket, which allows you to add a companion to a Reward Flight for no additional cost or save 50% on the Avios required if you’re traveling solo. This is on any round-trip British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus redemption in any class.
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Get great value for your BA Avios when using them to book flights on Oneworld partner American Airlines. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Again, these are different benefits than you’ll find on many cobranded airline cards, but they can provide significant value to those who regularly book award flights using Avios.

Related: British Airways Executive Club: Guide to Avios, elite status and transfer partners

Earning Avios on the British Airways Visa

The British Airways Visa outdoes most other cobranded airline cards on the earnings side. With the British Airways card, you’ll earn:

  • 3 Avios per dollar spent on purchases with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL
  • 2 Avios per dollar spent on hotel bookings made directly with the hotel
  • 1 Avios per dollar spent on all other purchases
British Airways A350 Club Suite NICHOLAS ELLIS/THE POINTS GUY

Additionally, with the current sign-up promotion, you’ll earn 5 Avios on gas, grocery and dining purchases (up to $10,000 or for the first 12 months from account opening, whichever comes first).

Outside of the bonus categories for the first year, these aren’t particularly impressive earning rates. Still, the bonus categories, along with the value cardholders can get from the card’s additional benefits, will make this a good card option for many British Airways frequent flyers.

Related: The best ways to earn British Airways Avios

Redeeming Avios on the British Airways Visa

The most obvious way to redeem the Avios you earn with the British Airways Visa is to book award tickets with British Airways. Thanks to British Airways’ distance-based award chart, one of the biggest sweet spots in the program is for short-haul awards. The program charges a mere 11,000 miles for award flights that are 651 miles to 1,151 miles long and 20,500 miles for business.

Disney Aulani in Hawaii SUMMER HULL/ THE POINTS GUY

Still, British Airways imposes hefty taxes and surcharges on some of its own international award tickets, so the best uses for Avios are sometimes for partner awards. There are more than a dozen Oneworld alliance airlines on which you could redeem your points, such as American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Iberia. Plus, unlike some other airline programs, including American Airlines, British Airways doesn’t charge any close-in booking fees on last-minute awards.

Related: How to maximize the British Airways distance-based award chart

Transferring Avios on the British Airways Visa

You can transfer Avios on the British Airways Visa to other Avios-earning airlines like Aer Lingus and Iberia. This opens up the possibility of traveling to several OneWorld destinations that can be booked with these Avios.


As the mileage currency of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, you can transfer Avios between the three airlines. Iberia tends to charge significantly lower taxes and surcharges than British Airways and periodically offers discounted award redemption rates, including business class to Europe, for just 34,000 miles one-way. Additionally, Iberia charges based on total miles flown instead of per segment, making it the winner for some connecting itineraries.

I have gotten good value from my Avios by using them to book through Iberia to fly from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Madrid in business class for under 34,000 Avios each time.

Related: How to book Iberia flights to Spain (and beyond) using Avios

Which cards compete with the British Airways Visa Card?

You may decide to go with a different card that earns Avios or a card that earns transferable points that you can transfer to Avios, like one of these:

  • If you are not over the 5/24 rule: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also comes with a $95 annual fee and earns 5 points per dollar spent on travel when booked through the Chase Travel℠ portal and 2 points per dollar on all other travel. It also earns bonus points on dining and select streaming services. For more information, read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • If you are over the 5/24 rule. The American Express® Gold Card has a higher annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees) but also offers higher earning rates and comes with many valuable perks that offset the annual fee, including up to $120 in annual dining credits (enrollment required). The Membership Rewards points earned by this card can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to British Airways. For more information, read our full review of the Amex Gold.
  • If you want to earn Avios with a different card: The Iberia Visa Signature® Card has the same earning structure as the British Airways Visa. However, it has more Iberia-specific perks, like a 10% discount when booking here. For more information, read our full review of the Iberia Visa Signature.

For additional options, check out our full list of the best airline credit cards.

Related: 5 reasons you should care about Avios 

Is the British Airways Visa worth it?

The British Airways Visa is well worth it if you want to earn valuable Avios. With the low annual fee, the benefits included could easily help you recoup the annual fee cost like the 10% flight discount and the up to $600 reward flight statement credit. However, you’ll likely prefer a different card if you’re over Chase 5/24 or don’t travel on airlines that use Avios.

Bottom line

Diversifying your portfolio of loyalty currencies is critical in the world of travel rewards, and the British Airways Visa represents a fantastic way to do just that. With the current welcome offer, low annual fee and opportunity to get some of your taxes and fees credited back, this card is a great choice for British Airways loyalists.

Apply here: British Airways Visa Signature Card

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.