BA Visa Offers up to $600 Per Year to Cover Fuel Surcharges

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Chase has just announced a huge new benefit for its British Airways Visa Signature® Card. You can now get up to $200 in rebates (per booking) to cover award taxes and fees—up to three times a year. There are a few conditions, but that's a lot of money!

British Airways Visa Signature® Card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios. Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL
  • 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations, plus 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book by March 31, 2020
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
  • 3X Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL
  • 2X Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations
  • 1X Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Why this Benefit is a Huge Win

British Airways Executive Club can be an incredibly useful loyalty program thanks to the unique way it prices award tickets. Instead of paying a flat rate from the U.S. to Europe, the Avios points required for an award is based on the distance you fly. Sometimes, that means you'll pay far fewer points. We've covered this in more detail in our post on British Airways basics.

The problem, when it comes to BA award tickets, is that the program imposes huge out-of-pocket costs when you redeem points. Most of those fees can be blamed on a single factor: the dreaded fuel surcharge. On British Airways operated flights, Executive Club makes you pay for the jet fuel, even when you’re redeeming points. Until now, our advice to maximize value with Avios points has been to avoid British Airways flights like the plague—when you fly with partner airlines like Iberia or American Airlines, you won't pay these huge fuel surcharges.

But this new benefit is a game-changer because Chase is sharing a significant part of the cost to book BA flights when you pay the taxes and fees with your British Airways Visa Card.

The Basics

With the new benefit, you can claim up to $200 (awarded in the form of a statement credit) for a transatlantic flight. The amount of the rebate depends on the class of service you book for your award ticket:

  • Get a $100 credit for economy-class (World Traveler) flights
  • Get a $100 credit for premium-economy (World Traveler Plus) flights
  • Get a $200 credit for business-class (Club World) flights
  • Get a $200 credit for first-class flights

You can claim a credit on three bookings per year, for a total of up to $600 in statement credits, as long as you use your British Airways Visa Card card to pay the taxes, fees, and surcharges.

The Fine Print

The only awards that qualify for this deal are British Airways flights departing from the U.S. and crossing the Atlantic.  It's fine if other flights on your itinerary are with partner airlines as long as the U.S. to Europe transatlantic flight is with British Airways. The award travel must be booked from the primary cardmember's Executive Club account.

You must cover the taxes, fees and surcharges of the flight with your British Airways Visa Card to get the rewards. Chase reserves the right to reverse the credit if the flight is canceled, but otherwise, the reward should show up in your account within 45 days.

Our Take

Transatlantic British Airways awards have some pretty steep surcharges. One-way business- and first-class redemptions can come with taxes and fees well above $500. Economy and premium-economy flights are a bit more reasonable, but one-way award fees can easily exceed $200, depending on the flight.

Based on the language in the terms and conditions, it seems reasonable to assume that you will still get a credit (but only one credit) if you book a round-trip award ticket that also includes a return westbound flight from Europe to the U.S. It's also good news that you can include partners for the non-transatlantic segments of the trip. That means you could include a flight on American Airlines if you don't live in a U.S. city served by BA, and you can continue on from London to another European destination with a partner like Iberia without affecting your eligibility for the credit.

However, you won't get a credit for a one-way trip booked from London to the U.S., and it isn't clear whether you'll get a credit for a round trip that originates in the U.K. (In other words, if your first transatlantic flight is westbound, does flying back from the U.S. to the U.K. still trigger the credit if that flight is operated by British Airways?) We'll continue to update this post as we learn more.

Regardless, this benefit has a huge impact on the value of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. If you can use the credit on a single economy flight, you've covered the card's annual fee of $95.

If you can meet the sizeable spending requirement, you can currently earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios when you open a new account—50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.

BA Visa Offers up to $600 Per Year to Cover Fuel Surcharges
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Comments

  • It’s nice to see some of the less popular cards get a makeover. That said, it still seems better to simply avoid BA metal altogether. Last time I checked a BA itinerary, the surcharge was hundreds of dollars, so although better than nothing, there’s better ways to book transatlantic flights.

  • But this new benefit is a game-changer because Chase is sharing a significant part of the cost to book BA flights when you pay the taxes and fees with your British Airways Visa Card.”
    When I have flown BA from the USA to London in Business Class, the fuel surcharge has been $900-1000 for a round trip. So, getting a rebate of $200 certainly is not a “game changer” for me or for most other folks, I would surmise.

  • Interesting that the new benefit only covers eastbound flights from the US to the UK.
    I suppose as long as the flight originates from the US, booking a one-way or round-trip ticket doesn’t matter?

  • That certainly is a generous offering with the $600 if you can make the details of the trip work in your favor. Does that mean that if you book a trip for you and your spouse that each would get the $200 credit?

    • Hi Mara, I think the ideal way to handle that would be to book each ticket as a separate reservation. I’d expect (by don’t have any definitive data) that they would offer only one credit on a ticket for two, but you could earn a credit for each ticket if booked separately, as long as both reservations come from the primary cardholders Exec Club account.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    It sounds good until you look at the huge spending requirement, you can currently earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios when you open a new account. Not sure if this will pencil out on my budget.

  • Nice to see more BA cards on offer.
    BA fuel surcharge is traditionally very high compared to US carriers.

  • This is better than nothing, for sure, but the surcharges on BA flights are so insanely high sometimes that even getting $200 off is still not enough to make the flight worthwhile. I would not use the BA miles on BA flights – maybe AA short-hauls etc.

  • I’ve noticed some high taxes on AA bookings through British too.

  • Even with $200 off, BA’s carrier imposed charges are a massive rip off.

  • I have to say, even with the spectre of fuel surcharges always looming, I have still felt like I was getting huge value from the BA F redemptions we’ve made over the years. The way I’ve always viewed it is that we were “purchasing” massively discounted F tickets. Experience-wise, our flight crews have ranged from excellent to downright awesome, and the First Class ground experience is right up there near the top… in fact, I think the Concorde Room at JFK might be my all-time favorite lounge. To me, this is an “enhancement” that actually is an enhancement.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This beats paying for tickets to and from Europe in that the Avios points you pay for are awarded based on the distance you fly. This could work.

  • $600 goes really fast considering the surcharges but it’s better than nothing

  • Do AA award redemptions on BA count?

    • Does not seem likely. From the T&Cs: “a. …receive a statement credit of up to $200 US per booking… when redeeming Avios for a reward flight on British Airways.” If it’s an AA award, one is not redeeming Avios.

  • Do you think it is possible that BA finally became aware of the millions and perhaps billions of dollars in fares they have been losing to other airlines as a result of BA’S EXTREMELY large fees?

  • On the surface, this seems like a great deal if you travel on BA a lot. But not sure if it’s a great enough carrot for me to start traveling on BA for a leisure, one time trip.

  • This is great! Although I probably still won’t get this card, it is a benefit that I would like to see on some other cards. It definitely would lessen the pain of fuel surcharges.

  • It would be better if BA just didn’t charge as much for fuel surcharges!

  • This is good news because it is a way to reduce our costs.

  • This does have me thinking about BA. They do have lots of taxes yes and that usually is why I don’t use them. Haven’t had any use for intra Europe flights with them. I will still have to look into AA possibly passing on anything using their miles on BA. But I do want to fly them. Their biz really looks enticing.

    Would there be any reason to really use Chase points or MR points to cover the paid cost of the flight? I’m sure that there is a post. I will have to look at the basic BA info blog too.

  • that’s great! make a sense

  • Even more valuable when you think about how this works with one-way flights. Just book your flight back with some other points

  • So if you travel, economy, you’ll need 3 bookings to save a maximum of $300.

  • The spending requirement to get the full bonus is pretty absurd for a consumer card. Out of reach for most, I imagine.

  • BA should get rid of this charge in the first place instead of giving partial credit.

  • As mentioned by quite a few above, while certainly welcome, this only makes a small dent in their ridiculous surcharges.

  • Seems like there are a lot of gotchas. Very careful planning might net the full $600, but only if you can snag biz/first seats to start with. At least at $95 (easy to make the 3 mo 50K miles spend; most probably won’t make the second 50K) it’s a reasonable gamble.

  • Those surcharges make me cringe, but it’s always nice to see positive changes.

  • Makes the charges more palatable for a trip or so but overall, the fees are a rip off.

  • The restrictions on flights originating in US is still weird. Wish they could have made it originating or ending in US.

  • This would be better if the surcharges on BA tickets were lower.

  • How does BA keep up in the face of competition from low cost carriers?

  • At least BA is admitting that they have high taxes and fuel surcharges.

  • This benefit makes this card a no-brainer for BA flyers. Easily covers the annual fee.

  • How about they just do away with a “fuel surcharge” that has ZERO to do with fuel but everything to do with Surcharges and deceiving consumers.

  • Great offer, but as others have said some surcharges that BA imposes are ridiculous. On the other hand RFS is one of the few best ways to redeem points in any FFP.

    Wish UK-based BA card offered anything this generous.

  • Definitely a good feature, BA redemptions are ridiculously expensive on longhaul flights.

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