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Part 7: British Airways Visa Signature - Pros and Cons

Picture of Item Reviewed

Editor's Rating:

Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Credit Needed
N.A. $95 Excellent
  • Ability to earn slightly more than double miles (2.5) on BA tickets and 1.5 miles for regular purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • EMV Card - more use friendly in Europe and the World
  • Free Travel Companion Ticket after spending $30,000 a year on the card
  • No free baggage (but international flights allow you to check in a couple (subject to weight)
  • No lounge access privileges
Executive Summary - Lots of good things to say about this feature. In fact, the lack of any features compared to domestic airline frequent flyer credit cards is simply due to the fact that it is not a domestic airline!

Now that we have looked at the key features of this card, let's dissect and consider both the pros and cons.

Pros - There are several things I like about this card. Firstly, it is one of the rare frequent flier cards that allows you to earn more than double miles (2.5 miles per dollar to be precise) and also 1.25 miles on regular non BA purchases.

I also like the fact that having this card makes it easy when you are traveling abroad (from a US cardholder perspective). The reason is because the card does not charge any foreign transaction fee and it is also a EMV card rather than the traditional magnetic strip card. Hence, your card is definitely going to be accepted in Europe and the rest of the world where EMV technology is the norm.

But perhaps the best feature is their free companion ticket that they give to cardholders who spend $30,000 on their card a year. Unlike other cards which require that you purchase a ticket for you to use the companion ticket, with this card, you can actually use it even when you get your seat via award tickets. For folks who spend enough on the card a year to get a roundtrip award, this can really add up to significant savings.

Cons - There are a couple of features which BA lacks compared to traditional US carrier cards. For example, they do not give free baggage perks like most domestic airline cards. However, if you are flying British Airways, it means you are taking an international flight and they normally have free baggage check ins up to a certain weight anyway. So the lack of this feature is actually trivial.

Another feature which this card lacks is the ability to access their lounges. This would be a great feature for cardholders (especially those that use points to redeem for economy tickets only). Even giving just one or two club lounge passes (like United does) would be nice.

Another feature which this does not have (and other domestic carrier cards have just introduced) is the ability to get discounts for in flight purchases. However, since you are likely to be traveling abroad when you fly BA, food is served and won't cost you a dime. Their entertainment system is also much better than domestic airlines. So the lack of this feature is also trivial.

Unlike other cards, British Airways does not allow you to earn any so-called "elite miles". In fact, you can only earn "elite Avois miles" by actually flying with BA. They are called tier Avois miles. So given how the program is structured, the lack of this feature is understandable.

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