If you’ve ever flown British Airways long-haul from the U.S. to London, you’ve probably lingered when walking past those sleeper seats in the “Club World” section. They don’t just recline, they lay fully flat. You won’t run the risk of a small child kicking the back of your chair for hours before you endure the endless escalator rides at Heathrow. Thanks to this spring’s special offer from Chase’s British Airways Visa Signature Card, you can treat yourself to this luxury for about the same price as a standard coach class ticket.
Right now, Chase offers a signup bonus for new British Airways Visa Signature cardholders. British Airways calls their frequent flyer miles “Avios,” and you’ll earn 50,000 of them when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months.
In addition, every calendar year you spend $30,000 in purchases, you’ll earn another bonus. Specifically, you’ll receive a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
Saving Avios and flying on the cheap
You don’t always have to splurge on a sleeper chair, though. Your 50,000 bonus Avios are plenty to cover the cost of a “World Traveller” round trip base fares between London and any of BA’s stateside hubs in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. This isn’t a discount airline you’re flying, either. British Airways’ coach seats on these flights resemble other airlines’ business classes. You get a private entertainment system, hot meals, and impeccable service from a flight crew that only gets testy if you don’t give them the chance to serve you.
The special smart chip you won’t see on other travel credit cards
Only a handful of American credit cards include the embedded smart chip that you’ll need to make routine purchases in Europe. Chase puts that “EMV chip” front and center on the British Airways Visa, and you’ll appreciate it when your travels take you off the beaten track. To combat fraud, many European merchants won’t accept American magnetic stripe credit cards outside of common tourist areas. The EMV chip saves you time and hassle, especially if you want to use any automated parking meters or vending machines during your visit.
No foreign transaction fee
Your $95 annual fee buys you another important perk that you’ll find on few travel rewards cards: no foreign transaction fee. Chase makes the process easy for frequent U.K. visitors: charge your card in pounds sterling at no extra fee, while enjoying Chase’s best currency conversion rate for the day of your purchase.
Rewards and risks of airline credit cards
Of course, British Airways is still a traditional airline, with a typical frequent flyer system. Regular BA travelers say that the 2012 Olympics and London’s business boom have made reward seats scarce, unless you plan your free trip far in advance. You’ll also have to pay redemption fees, airport service fees, and other taxes on each reward ticket.
If you value flexibility in a travel credit card, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card instead. You’ll earn as much as 2 percent back on your everyday purchases, in the form of statement credits that you can redeem against any of your travel expenses. Still, given the high price of transatlantic airfare, the British Airways Visa Signature offers tremendous value, if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops.
To take advantage of the 10,000 Avios offer, check out the British Airways Visa Signature Card from Chase today. You will need excellent credit in order to be approved, and be aware of the $95 annual fee.
Updated December 15, 2016 and originally published May 7, 2012.