By: Revanche

The accidental airline card: British Airways

November 20, 2010

There’s an idea PiC and I have been floating, kicking around, actually, for the past several weeks.

A friend is going traipsing about across continents for several months and has been prodding us to jump in for a bit of that trip sometime in the spring. We’d previously half-promised to join a pair of PiC’s friends in Greece “sometime in spring” but that couple has already decided on a week on Greece and another in Italy and at a time that may not work so well for us.

Leaving aside the question of whether I can save enough vacation time, there’s still the actual cost to get there and back, and fill my ever-starving belly!  A very rough estimate of an acceptable budget: $2000-3000.

It’s a pretty crazy thought.


So Delicious.

I hit FlyerTalk and Fatwallet to confirm my suspicions and sure enough, there had been a fantastic promotion for the British Airways Signature Visa months ago – 50,000 bonus miles after a first purchase and a $2000 spend in three months, but the current promotion on offer was pretty anemic at only half that so I held off.  It’s nothing like the one from last year offering twice that, for a total of 100K miles, though. *dramatic sigh*

Lo, when I tried to book my travel for work, Chase/BA ambushed me with the premium offer, only if I were to apply right then and there and pay for my travel with that very same card.

Pacing back and forth, assailing PiC with demands for his assessments of our usual spending that goes on credit cards for the next three months, I found myself, after two hours of obsessing, applying for the card.  What I did not notice, shame on me, was that a waiver of the annual fee wasn’t part of the promotion. I’d taken that for granted as a normal business tactic for all the new cards.  And they get you right up front, too!  The charge hit my card two days after I got it in the mail.

As a bit of emotional solace, though it’s hardly a real offset against $75(!), I just found out that this card no longer charges a foreign transaction fee.  So there’s that.

The 50,000 bonus miles will pay for one transatlantic flight, so that’s one of us taken care of.  Perhaps it’s worth $75 for PiC to pick up his own card after I’ve completed my $2000 spend so we can combine costs on his card?  I don’t want to be spending above need just for the sake of getting bonus miles, of course, that’s silly and wasteful.  But I am planning to pay things like car registration earlier to get it into the three month cycle for this card. We can do that for a number of things like Costco gift cards (which are another story entirely).

I don’t know if, when or how this trip will happen yet.  There are still a lot of issues (hi, family problems) to be settled between now and then so it might be completely unrealistic to try and go away for such a big trip. But I’ll just keep squirreling money and miles away. Just in case.

3 Responses to “The accidental airline card: British Airways”

  1. These decisions are mind-boggling. Whenever my mind is boggled, I realize that it is because these deals are designed to be confusing. A few years ago, we called all our CC companies and inquired about the dratted foreign transaction fee, The one that claimed not to charge it–and I called three times to confirm–had ANOTHER fee, that amounted to the same thing. Thanks for doing all the research!

    Did you ever decide on your coat?

  2. Revanche says:

    I was about to blame the increasing confusion on my advancing years – I really don’t remember it being this difficult to navigate the more arcane CC rules back in the day.

    But I’ve finally gotten confirmation that this card does NOT charge the fee anymore.

    And I have FOUR coat options to choose from, each mutely mocking my inability to make a decision and complete the packing process. 🙁

  3. […] had me thinking on the BA card, ruing having  missed the better bonus offer, then had the premium offer offfered when I needed to book another ticket so I figured that it’d be worth the exchange of an annual fee ($75) for the […]

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