The Chase British Airways Visa Card You’ve Probably Never Heard About

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Although I’m not as fastidious as some I still keep a pretty close eye on my credit card portfolio as I hate paying any more in annual fees that I actually have to. This generally means that I review my credit card usage on a reasonably frequent basis and, when an annual fee becomes due, I do my very best to persuade the card issuer to either waive the fee or to at least offer me some miles/points to help offset the fee in some way.

Since the Platinum Card from American Express started offering 5 points/dollar for air travel booked directly with airlines my Chase British Airways Visa card has been living on borrowed time.

Amex points convert to British Airways Avios at a ratio of 1:1 so, every time I purchase an airfare with my Platinum Card I’m effectively earning 5 Avios per dollar spent and that beats the 3 Avios per dollar the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card offers for spend made with BA.

I also have no need for the “travel together” voucher that comes after $30,000 spend on the card and I have more than enough cards that don’t charge me foreign transaction fees so the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card has been service very little purpose in my day to day life.

Recently the annual fee came due on my BA card and, as every year, I called up Chase to see if they would offer me any Avios to keep the card for another year.

Historically Chase has offered me 9,000 Avios in exchange for spending $1,500 on the card in 90 days and I’ve always accepted the offer as the Avios more or less cancel out the $95 annual fee. Not this year.

This year Chase had nothing to offer me.

My $95/year BA Visa card has been with me for quite some time so, while it offers me very little from day to day, it helps increase the average age of my credit card portfolio and that in turn helps keep my credit score looking healthy. That’s important to me.

The Chase agent I spoke to when I called up to try to get the annual fee waived was very helpful and explained that although I couldn’t product change the card to another variety of Chase card (one with no annual fee) there was another BA card I could downgrade to.

This was news to me.

I’ve never read about another Chase British Airways card and I’ve never even seen one published on the Chase website so I was surprised to be told that such a card exists….but it does.

The unpublished Chase British Airways card comes with no annual fee ….but only earns 1 Avios per $2 spent and doesn’t offer the “travel together” voucher after spending $30,000.

a close up of a card

Aside from those differences I haven’t been able to find any other ways in which this no annual fee card differs from the Chase British Airways Card….it even waives foreign transaction fees.

A curious thing about this card is that it’s actually a little more useful than a quick glance at the membership guide may suggest.

Here’s the front cover of the no-fee BA Visa card’s membership guide….

a close up of a credit card

…and here’s a scanned image of the actual card I was sent:

a credit card with a chip and a pattern on it

Can you spot the subtle difference?

For those who can’t spot it here it is:

a close up of a sign

The no annual fee British Airways Visa card is a Visa Signature card and the guide that comes with the card confirms this:

a close up of a document

The benefits on offer include:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance services

The card also gives the holder access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel collection.

Ok, so none of those benefits sound massively exciting but they’re not bad for a card that costs nothing and that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

On top of all that the no-fee card also looks exactly the same as the $95/year card. Here they are side by side:

a close-up of a credit card

That should put your mind at rest if you’re worried that your friends will think you’re cheap for not splashing out $95 on the regular Chase BA card đŸ™‚

Bottom Line

I don’t believe you can apply for this card directly but you can definitely downgrade to this card if you’d like to….and why wouldn’t you?

The card is free, you can use it to keep your BA Avios balance alive without having to transfer valuable Amex or Chase points over to BA, it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and, if you’re in a similar position to me, it can help keep the average age of your credit card portfolio where you’d like it to be.

As a card to use for everyday this is clearly a terrible option but as an alternative to cancelling your BA card it’s actually pretty great.