Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Possibly the Best Airline Credit Card Offers Available

By Mike Grasso
It's new, it's hot, and it's all the buzz over in the Flyertalk and FatWallet forums. We're talking about British Airways Visa Signature Card from Chase - where you can earn 50,000 miles for using the card once, 100,000 for spending $2000 within 90 days. But, there are strings attached.

According to the offer, new BA Visa Signature cardholders will earn 50,000 British Airways miles upon first use of the card - enough for a free roundtrip ticket to Europe. Then earn another 50,000 miles when you spend atleast $2000 within 3 months of account opening - which scores you a second roundtrip ticket. Wowie wow!

And now the strings: As with most award ticket redemption's, the customer is responsible for paying all applicable taxes, fees and fuel surcharges. Unfortunately British Airways is notorious for being the "industry leader" in tagging these charges on. So be aware that your award ticket redemption may set you back up to $250 if flying British Airways. Also, British Airways offers limited service to/from the Bay Area, so availability for award seats, which are capacity controlled, may be slim pickins. Finally, keep in mind there is an annual fee on the card of $75.

But here's some good news: You can redeem BA miles on partner airlines, such as Japan, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific, from 50,000 miles. Or choose to use the miles for domestic trips on U.S.-based partners, American and Alaska from 25,000 miles, and the fees would likely be fairly insignificant compared to flying internationally. Something else to be all jazzed about: British Airways has a pretty robust search engine for searching award availability with partner airlines, which helps limit the need to contact the airline directly for bookings.

Overall, this offer impresses me, and may very well be one of the best deals out there. I just received my approval this week and will report back any difficulties. If you are interested in applying, do it soon as word has it the offer may be pulled by months-end.