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There’s no tip-toeing around the fact that Chase has a lot of great rewards credit cards, so choosing the right Chase credit card can be downright difficult, especially for those just starting out. Is it better to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs British Airways Credit card?
Best Sign-Up Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Not bad at all. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards is a nice haul and is good for statement credits or cash back (not that I would recommend using your UR points this way). Or you can get even more value by transferring your points out to travel partners. More on this later.
The British Airways Visa comes with a sign-up bonus of earning 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases, up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening. That equals up to 120,000 bonus Avios. 50,000 Avios can get you 10 low-level one-way tickets at the cheapest Avios booking rate of 4,500 miles, or a round-trip ticket from Boston to Dublin in business class. But more on the value of Avios later. You can do a lot with 120,000 British Airways Avios.
This is a tough call, but I’m going to go with the British Airways Visa since you can currently earn up to 120k Avios.
Best Spending Benefits
The British Airways Visa earns 1x Avios on allpurchases. I love earning more than 1x per $1, but 1x doesn’t get me too excited. However, you will get 3 Avios per $1 on British Airways purchases after the first 12 months.
There is an additional spending bonus with the British Airways Visa. Every calendar year that you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for two years.
The Travel Together Ticket lets you bring a companion for free on an award ticket. Well, kind of free. You will still have to pay the taxes and fees on the award ticket. And we all know those can be hefty on BA, but still a great value if you’re traveling in a premium cabin.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x Ultimate Rewards pointson dining and travel. I said it before, but man do I spend a lot on dining & travel, so it’s nice to know there’s a card with a built-in perk for those purchases. All other purchases will earn 1 point.
I think the British Airways Travel Together Ticket offers some great value, but not everyone will want to spend $30,000 in a calendar year. I gotta go with the Sapphire Preferred and its 2x spending bonus on dining and travel.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Best Perks Chase Sapphire Preferred or British Airways Visa?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and British Airways Visa are both chip & signature cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. This makes them an attractive option when you’re traveling abroad.
Also, both cards are Visa Signature cards, which I’ve written about before here.
Visa Signature benefits are additional benefits you can receive for travel, movie tickets, dining, or special occasions. You can check out the Visa Signature page here.
The Sapphire Preferred and British Airways Visa pretty much even each other out here.
Best Points Ultimate Rewards or Avios?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns uber valuable Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred out to many top tier travel programs.
You can use them for international travel on United, Korean, Virgin Atlantic, and yes, British Airways. You can fly to Europe by transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to United in economy for 60,000 miles.
You can fly domestically with your UR points by transferring to Southwest, British Airways (AA), Virgin Atlantic (Virgin America) or United. I prefer to use my Ultimate Rewards points for domestic flights through Southwest or British Airways (actually fly AA).
And there are many hotel chains that you can transfer your points, including: Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG. I prefer Hyatt, but that’s because I have elite status with them.
And of course, you can also use your Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits or cash back, but I wouldn’t suggest using them in that way since this is a travel site, after all.
Ultimate Rewards points can be combined with household member accounts, and if you hold multiple Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards. I do. Combining and transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners is easy.
The British Airways Visa earns Avios. I love Avios, and since Membership Rewards & Ultimate Reward points transfer to British Airways, it’s easy to top off your account. I love having a couple options to top off my points balance.
The British Airways loyalty program is distance based. That means the longer the distance of the flight, the more you will pay in miles and in fuel surcharges/taxes. Gross. Flying in First Class and Business Class can be worth the fees, but that’s not for everyone. However, there are definitely some gems.
For example: You can fly to Dublin from Boston in business class for 25,000 Avios one-way, or 12,500 in economy. Smoking. You can also avoid the hefty fuel surcharges by flying air Berlin. And then there’s Iberia. You can combine your British Airways Avios with Iberia Avios to book a flight. And Iberia will sometimes have fare sales like earlier in the year when you could book a one-way business class ticket to Spain for 20,000 Avios!
So you do have some options with Avios to fly long distance and avoid their fees. But don’t forget about their short-haul gems, both domestically and internationally. I’m have taken advantage of these gems many times. Domestically, you will actually be flying American Airlines and US Airways once the merger is complete with American. I always look to British Airways Avios first when I need a domestic flight.
We have also jaunted across intra-Europe with Avios. Last year, after going to Dublin, we hopped over to London for 4,500 and $30 each. That’s not bad at all. Almost felt bad about that redemption. And on our current trip, we’ve used Avios to hop to Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid.
The fact that Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to British Airways and many other programs obviously gives it the edge here. But the British Airways loyalty program is one of my favorites for its redemptions and because you can top it off with Membership Rewards (lower redemption rate) and Ultimate Rewards points.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and British Airways Visa are both great card offerings from Chase bank, but if I could only choose one, I would have to go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Ultimate Rewards points are just too darn flexible.
I could see the British Airways Visa being more attractive if you’re a big spender, so you can take advantage of the Travel Together Ticket, but I understand that’s probably a small market. Also, the sign-up bonus is slightly higher with the British Airways card, so if you had a specific BA redemption in mind, then it could make sense to choose it over the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
My wife and I both have had these cards, and they have actually worked quite well together. It’s hard to go wrong with these two cards. I hope this helps if you’ve been on the fence about applying for either card.