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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your British Airways Visa 100,000 Mile Bonus

The popular British Airways Visa Signature Card with 100,000-Avios  bonus offer is back!

Chase British Airways Visa Bonus

The Chase British Airways Visa 100K bonus offer is back for 2012.

Last year, we gave an in-depth breakdown of the offer and the benefits of flying British Airways, so this year we are going to tell you what has changed, and (most importantly) how to make the most of those precious Avios (or "miles" to us laymen).

The spend amount has gone up this year if you want to get all 100k Avios. You get the first 50K just for using your card for the first time, so no hassle there. The next 25K in miles comes after you spend $10,000, and the final 25k is awarded after another $10,000 spent. While those spend amounts can seem like a lot, it is doable for most households if you work to put as much as possible on your card. The $95 annual fee and 1.25 miles-per-dollar spent have all stayed the same.

Now that you know how to get your Avios, make the most of them with these top three tips:

Use the BA Avios on Domestic Flights

One of the most frequent complaints we hear about this card is the admittedly large fuel surcharges levied by British Airways...especially on flights to Heathrow. The simple way of avoiding this is to fly domestic. BA has revalued their rewards chart in such a way as to make short-haul flights on American Airlines very cheap. You can get a one-way domestic ticket for as low as 4,500 Avios, which is 1/3 the amount of AA miles required.

Fly Partner Airlines

In many cases, you can still score a good deal on an international flight if you take advantage of their partner airlines through oneworld. For example, you can get to the British Isles for less by avoiding Heathrow. American flies from Chicago to Dublin and then you can fly BA's codeshare partner Aer Lingus from Dublin to London. Also, among many other examples: Iberia flies from O'hare or JFK to Madrid, AirBerlin flies from JFK to Berlin and American flies from O'hare to Paris.

Flying out of Boston, the closest US destination, you can get roundtrip in Economy for 25K Avios, or Business Class for 50K Avios, which is a great deal. Fees on a test booking we made showed just over $100 in taxes and fees, which is a far cry better than the $600+ when flying into London.

Work the Mileage Thresholds

As we mentioned before, BA has reworked their rewards chart, and you can take advantage of it by sneaking in flights at just under the thresholds. Use the BA Avios Calculator to test out city pairs and experiment with alternate airports.

Here's a direct link to the BA Visa Application. Outside of the very generous bonus, this card has a low interest rate and a healthy rewards program that put it on par with our fav Amex Starwood card. We've had to wait almost a year to see this offer return. It's scheduled to run through November, but we've seen Chase cut offers short due to popular response in the past, so don't put it off!

For more great travel deals, see our sister site TravelHacks.com!

 

 

About the Author: Casey Runyan

Casey is part of the deal-finding team at BradsDeals. A bargain hunter to the core, she's sometimes haunted by nightmares about deals that expire before she can write them. She's also pretty sure she got her job by telling Brad about the time she got a free golf club.

20 Responses to “3 Ways to Make the Most of Your British Airways Visa 100,000 Mile Bonus”

  1. Mike says:

    Brad,

    Thanks for the info. Are there blackout dates for flights taken on American with Avios miles? I have 2 small children and won’t be going to Europe to anytime soon. Do you think this is a good card for domestic travel to Orlando from JFK or LGA in NY?

    • Casey from Brad's Deals says:

      Hi Mike, there are no blackout dates, but there are a limited number of award seats available on each flight. It is 7500 Avios each way to go from JFK or LGA to Orlando. You can check award seat availability on the BA website. You’ll need to sign up for the Executive Club (it’s free) before you can search the reward flight availability here: https://www.britishairways.com/travel/redeem/execclub/_gf/en_gb?eId=106019&tab_selected=redeem&redemption_type=STD_RED

      Hope this helps!

      • Mike says:

        Thanks Casey…Are the seats very limited for domestic flights? Is there a way to find out how many award seats are available per flight? My family (4 of us) will be taking several flights in the next 2 years and I’m trying to get some thoughts on whether or not this is a good card for our needs. We charge everything (about $3-4k per month) and always pay off our balance but we never pay annual fees on our cards. Our “go to” card for the past 2 years has been the Citibank Upromise card for college savings–which is linked to our 529 College Savings Plan. It’s a nice card but I’m not seeing great benefits. Hopefully, the upromise $ will really add up with the power of compounding interest over the next 14 years. Any thoughts on that card?

        • Brad says:

          Hi Mike, the 529 is great but I’d rather keep the 529, contribute my own cash and get a better card with a huge pot of bonus miles to get free travel.

          Even without or after the huge pot of bonus miles, I’d rather charge $1 on my card and get 1 mile rather than $0.01. Simply, the miles when well-used are worth much more than the cash.

          Since you can put the cash in independent of the credit card you might as well have the best card with the best bonus AND the 529.

          As for NYC-ORL, there are 7 MilesAAver award seats in economy on tomorrow’s flight (4/17) from LGA. Same with 4/24. There are 7 on 4/25 from JFK. There are 3 from JFK on 4/29. There are 7 from JFK on 5/1, 5/2, 5/8, 5/9 and 5/10. That’s pretty good coverage. (Note: I checked the actual seat count using a tool called ExpertFlyer that I use for $9.99 / mo. You can also check a little more slowly via the AA or BA site.)

          There is even better coverage if you don’t mind a connection in MIA because that is one of AA’s hubs.

          Those flights are almost all $123 one-way right now. That’s pretty good. I wouldn’t spend 12,500 American miles for an award ticket on those flights at these fares since, at a minimum, the miles are worth $0.01 each. But I’d consider spending 7,500 BA miles…especially when they were free!

          If you get the card and spend $20k with your $3-$4k monthly spend to get the full bonus you’ll end up with 125k BA miles. Even if you redeemed those for flights with a relatively attractive $123 cash fare, you could book 16.67 of those flights at 7,500 miles each with your 125k miles. That’s worth $2,050!

          That’s pretty good and gets even better if you only use them when the cash fares are less attractive.

          • Mike says:

            Hi Brad…Thanks for the detailed response! I’m definitely going to make the switch to this card. Your web site is GREAT!

  2. TKF says:

    I noticed that Aer Lingus is not part of Oneworld. Does that matter? As any searches on British Airways website only show a direct flight from Chicago to Dublin, which are all operated by American. Am I missing something?

  3. keith says:

    Hi Brad,

    Just got the card….my question is can I buy more than one ticket. For example if me and my gf wanted to fly domestically can I purchase 2 tickets with my miles. A naive question maybe, since this is my first foray into using miles rewards.

    • Brad says:

      Keith, sorry for the slow reply!

      No dumb questions.

      There are no extra restrictions on these miles. If you have 50k miles in your BA account you can book two 25k award tickets on American for domestic flights, assuming they’re available.

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Brad,
    I am trying to find out what the “qualifying purchase” on the card is in order to get the 50,000 avios. I tried contacting Chase for more details, but they directed me to BA. Does it need to be an airfare purchase or will any purchase qualify? Thanks!

    • Brad says:

      Hi Amy, sorry for the slow reply!

      I’m not sure why they make that sound so complicated. It doesn’t mean anything more than your average credit card purchase so no need to spend it on airfare! ;)

  5. Linda says:

    Brad, I got my card and eventually want to get a business class ticket on BA. I read thru the info and I’m aware the price but for me it’s worth it. My question is, do I need to book waaay in advance to get my best shot at a business fare ticket? Thanks for all the info, it’s great!!

    • Brad says:

      Hi Linda, booking way in advance or way last minute can certainly help. A ton of stuff opens up late. There is a non-stop from Chicago to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific that I’d love to be on some day soon. It’s REALLY tough but last-minute changes that dramatically.

      Randomly looking at Chicago to Heathrow in Business right now I see 5/22 and 5/23 open plus a few in June, July, August and September and much more availability in October-December. This stuff is so fluid though. These days will close and others will open up.

      I’ve been successfully using BA miles for many short-haul domestic AA flights lately and I usually book less than two weeks out.

      BA.com has a great search feature that makes this easy. You can search in 28 day junks.

  6. Jana says:

    I have tried to book domestic flights on AA using these miles and am unable to find availability even looking six months in advance from new York to Miami or new York to Seattle. Very frustrating.

    • Brad says:

      Just looking in the next week, I see availability on Monday and Tuesday from Newark to Miami and on Sunday 5/26 from all airports.

  7. Jim says:

    I have this card from a previous offer and the BA miles worked for out recent trip to Hawaii via Alaska Air. But we tried many times to use the award miles to get to Europe and despite countless searches many months in advance we could not locate any “award seats” on any travel dates we tried to any cities inside the continent………it was very frustrating. So I guess we will just use them up on partner domestic travel.

  8. Judith says:

    I got this card last time it was offered, and haven’t been able to use it. We have a ton of miles, but ‘you just can’t get there from here’. We want to go to Scandinavia, Denmark or Norway, and can’t find a way to get there without going through London, and the fees are so high to go through London that we could buy a ticket on another airline for what it will cost us to fly BA! Doesn’t make sense to pretty much pay full price AND use all our miles.

    Then we decided we’d just use the Avios and go somewhere else. We looked at St. John, but it looks like American stopped flying there.

    At this point, I’m just frustrated with the whole thing.

  9. Terry Malone says:

    Brad,

    What is the best way to see the availability of flights….you make it sound so very easy! I get onto BAs sight and only find routes +/- 7 days and it takes forever!

    Any tips??

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