A lot of the miles & points blogs have been getting overly exited in the last few days because Chase has brought back a 100,000 Avios offer on their British Airways Visa card. At least that’s how a lot of the blogs have been “headlining” the offer. But it’s not that simple.
Note: There are no credit card affiliate links in this article.
The offer in question isn’t visible on the standard Chase BA Visa page (that still shows the usual 50,000 offer)….
The upgraded offer is available though a different link and, when you see what Chase are calling this offer, you’ll start to see why calling it a 100,000 Avios bonus is a little misleading….
The offer is actually an “up to” 100,000 Avios offer and not as straight forward as some blogs are making out in their headlines.
Most credit card signup bonuses are simple affairs and usually run along the lines of:
Spend $X in the first 3, 6 or 12 months of card membership and get a bonus of Y.
But the bonus Chase is offering for the British Airways Visa card isn’t that simple – it’s more layered than that….as Chase’s own information shows:
So, in fact, the base offer is similar to what it normally is – spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of having the card and get a 50,000 Avios bonus. To get the full 100,000 Avios bonus you have to spend a total of $20,000 on the card in your first year of card membership….and that’s a lot of spend.
That’s actually not the only issue with this offer.
In addition to requiring cardholders to spend at least $10,000 to get more than the standard bonus this offer doesn’t appear to waive the $95 annual fee. With the standard offer the annual fee is waived for the first year while, with this “enhanced” offer you are, in effect, paying Chase $95 for the opportunity to try to hit the higher spending requirements.
Despite the huge devaluation that Avios underwent earlier in the year, 100,000 Avios is still a nice chunk of change and would probably be welcome to anyone flying short-haul routes in the continental US (no fuel surcharges and low redemptions costs make these some of the best Avios redemptions) but this offer is definitely not for everybody.
$20,000 is a lot of spend to put through on a credit card and, unless you’re into “manufacturing spend” or you have a business that allows you to run a lot of its expenses though your credit cards, you will find yourself putting a lot of everyday expenses on your Chase British Airways Visa Card just to hit the high targets. And these are expenses that may be better charged to a different credit card.
Put simply, you need to be very sure you’re going to hit the higher spending targets before deciding to go for this offer.
The Chase British Airways Visa card gives users 3 Avios/$ on all British Airways spend but then only 1 Avios/$ on all other spend – that’s not great.
If you were to take a look at most people credit card bills you’d probably see that the majority of their spend goes on everyday necessities like groceries, gas and utilities with some dining thrown in for good measure. The British Airways Chase Visa would pay just 1 Avios/$ on all of those purchases.
Every time you put your everyday spend (i.e non-British Airways spend) on your Chase British Airways Visa you’re choosing to forgo valuable miles/points in other currencies.
American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are just two examples of currencies that are considerably more valuable and useful than Avios…and you can earn those in multiples when doing your everyday shopping.
The Amex EveryDay cards will earn between 2 and 3 Membership Rewards (MR) per dollar at grocery stores with further bonuses available.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will earn 2 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points per dollar on all dining and all travel expenses.
The Chase Ink Cards will earn 2 UR points per dollar on gas purchases and 5 UR points on cell phone, landline, internet and cable TV.
Note: There are other cards, including cash back cards, that will give good bonuses on the categories mentioned above – I’m focusing on MR and UR in this part of the post.
Every dollar you spend on your Chase British Airways Visa (in any of the above mentioned categories) means that you’re choosing to earn Avios rather than the more valuable options of Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards.
Why are Membership Rewards & Ultimate Rewards more valuable?
Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards are currencies that don’t limit you to one airline or one hotel group for redemptions:
Membership Rewards can be transferred to 16 different airline programs (at varying rates of conversion)…..
….and 4 hotel loyalty programs too.
Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to 6 different airline programs at a 1:1 ratio….
….and 4 hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio too.
Even if you’re set on earning Avios you’d be better off putting your spend on to a credit card that gives you Ultimate Rewards – Ultimate Rewards transfer to Avios at a 1:1 ratio so why would anyone use their British Airways Visa in a situation where an Ultimate Rewards card gives you more points?
You need to be very sure that you’re going to hit at least $1ok of spend on the British Airways Visa card if you’re going to sign up for the enhanced offer. If you don’t spent at least $10k then you’ll just get the 50,000 Avios bonus and you will have paid $95 for the privilege when you could have earned the same number of Avios for nothing (using the regular offer).
You need to have a good plan for what you’re going to do with the Avios if you’re not going to “manufacture spend” or if you don’t have a lot of business expenses you can run though the card.
Avios may not be as bad as Delta’s SkyMiles (yet!) but British Airways’ fuel surcharges and continuing devaluations mean that Avios is far from being one of the top currencies to earn. If you’re going to forgo Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards points while attempting to hit your spending targets you need to be sure you’re going to get the bonus Avios at $10k and $20k spend or you’ll be missing out on better opportunities elsewhere.
If you are going to “manufacture spend” then this offer is probably for you. You should be able to hit your targets swiftly and without missing out on earning the more valuable currencies so, providing you know what you’re doing, you should be just fine.
Good luck to anyone signing up for this offer – I hope you hit your spending targets quickly and easily 🙂
Miles & Points are great fun but only if they’re not costing you anything. If you carry a balance on a rewards card the interest will outweigh any miles/points you earn….and by a significant margin. Also, if your quest to earn miles and points means you start spending more than you would otherwise spend on your cards you’re missing there point completely – step away from your credit cards.
Are you going to sign up for this offer? If you are, what use do you have in mind for your Avios?