(Editor's Note: This on-again-off-again promotion is currently on. The latest information is here.)
Has there ever been a more lucrative credit card bonus than the latest from British Airways? If so, I'm not aware of it.
For starters, new customers for the Chase-issued British Airways Visa Signature card can earn a whopping 100,000 Executive Club bonus miles—enough for two coach round-trip tickets between the U.S. and Europe—awarded in two steps.
First, there's a 50,000-mile bonus for signing up for the card, which carries a $75 annual fee and a variable annual percentage rate (APR), currently 13.24 percent.
The second 50,000-mile bonus kicks in after cardholders charge $2,000 within three months of opening the account.
The card has more than the 100,000-mile up-front bonus to recommend it. On an ongoing basis, cardholders earn 1.25 miles per dollar charged to the card—a nice bonus over the industry-standard one mile per dollar. And when charging British Airways tickets, the card earns 2.5 miles per dollar, versus the two miles per dollar awarded by most other airline-affiliated cards.
There's also a free companion award ticket—redeemable on British Airways flights only—offered when cardholders charge $30,000 within a calendar year.
And finally, cardholders can take advantage of a $50 discount on British Airways transatlantic tickets, booked by December 31.
It's worth remembering that British Airways allows members of the same household to pool their miles in household accounts. So two cardholders linked in a household account could earn a combined 240,000 miles, effectively worth 480,000 miles in awards, by charging $2,000 to one card (to earn the second 50,000-mile bonus) and $30,000 to the other card (to earn both the second 50,000-mile bonus and the free companion ticket).
For most travelers, those who are just looking to get solid value from their participation in a core program or two, I typically don't recommend taking advantage of offers from programs that don't play a central role in their long-term travel plans. While such opportunistic earning and burning can generate good return-on-investment, the time and energy required are simply beyond what many consumers are willing to invest.
This offer may be the exception that makes that rule. Spending $75 to enroll and charging $2,000 within three months is eminently doable, and a small price to pay for two award tickets to Europe. And for those who establish household accounts and charge $30,000 in a year, the payoff is potentially huge.
The landing page for the card indicates that this is a limited offer, but there's no deadline shown. So the bonuses could be withdrawn or scaled back at any time. As we say on this side of the Pond: Get it while the gettin's good.