Chase British Airways Credit Card Review - Rewards Summary

Picture of Item Reviewed

Editor's Rating:

Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Annual Fee Credit Needed
N.A. $95 Excellent
Executive Summary - An airline card that is not only great for those who fly British Airways, but also one that is suitable for those who fly American Airlines or Alaska Airlines domestically since they are partners with BA. The fact that their Avios program is based on "distance" rather than "regions" means it is better to use BA miles for short haul AA and Alaska Airlines flights. For the savvy international traveler, their annual companion ticket will save you lots of money.

Bonus Promotion - This card is having a mega promotion right now. Here is how it works. After you spend $1,000 within the first three months, you get 50,000 bonus Avios miles. If you spend $10,000 within the first year, you get another 25,000 bonus miles. And if you spend a further $10,000 (also within the first year), you get an additional 25,000 bonus miles.

Over the last few years, Chase and British have made incremental improvements to their affinity card and it is now perhaps one of the best frequent flyer card around. Below is a summary of their key features

  • Miles Earning Capacity
  • - In 2009, this card broke the rule for airline cards in terms of giving customers the number of points they can earn. A typical card from a carrier would allow holders to earn double miles whenever they use the card to buy tickets from them directly (or their partner airlines). Then, for other regular things that they charge, you earn the standard one mile per dollar.

    BA upped the ante in this space in 2009 by announcing that in addition to the bonus, you will also get 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases. There are a couple of cards like that the Virgin Atlantic and Premier Rewards Gold card that give holder triple miles on airline ticket purchases. But aside from these, BA stands close to the top of the pack in this regard.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • - In 2010, BA and chase improved the card further by getting rid of the foreign transaction fees on the card. That's right. It means that US card holders who travel abroad will not be subject to the usual 3% FX transaction fee that is common in most US based credit cards (some cards like Amex charge 2.7%).

  • EMV Technology
  • - Then, from 2011 onwards, this card was issued with an EMV chip2. Most countries outside the US only accept cards with EMV chips (Europay, MasterCard, Visa), whereby you swipe your card and enter a 4-digit PIN number rather than signing on the receipt (which "magnetic" US issued cards work). With this new feature, this is an ideal card for card holders who travel abroad.

    Perhaps their most interesting feature is that companion ticket, which we will explore next.

    References
    1. British Airways, Chase Card Services Offer US Consumers New and Unprecedented Travel Benefits
    2. Chase and British Airways Unveil First Airline Co-Brand with EMV Chip-with-Signature Technology
Table Of Contents
Next: Companion Ticket »