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Is It Worth Spending $20,000 on the British Airways Visa to Earn 100,000 Avios?

Last week, I wrote about how to spend the 100k sign-up bonus from the British Airways Visa. There are still lots of great ways to redeem 100,000 Avios. However, the current sign-up bonus isn’t quite as good as it was before the devaluation of the British Airways award chart and standard credit card earning rate. To earn the full 100,000 Avios sign-up bonus, you’ll need to spend a total of $20,000 on the card. The question is, is the British Airways Visa the best place to channel $20,000 worth of spending? Especially with banks like Chase are cracking down on manufactured spending. Churning out $20,000 on one credit card could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. 

Mile Earning Credit Cards

There are credit cards out there with lower spending requirements in return for annual bonuses in the form of miles, points, elite status, and free hotel nights. I’ve compiled a list of these bonuses, along with a summary of whether they’re worth channeling $20,000 worth of credit card spending to:

Cash Back Credit Cards

Are 10,000 Avios worth more than $630? Absolutely. You can redeem 100,000 Avios fuel surcharge-free on partner flights like those operated by American Airlines between the West Coast and Hawaii. You can cover roundtrip airfare for four people to Hawaii with 100,000 Avios. Try doing that with $630 cash.

  • Discover It Miles Card – Earn $600 Cash Back
  • Barclay Arrival – Earn $420 worth of travel cash
  • Fidelity 2% Cash Back Visa – Earn $400 cash back

Airline Elite Status

Whether you’re trying to get a jump start on airline elite status or you’re anticipating an EQM shortage, channeling $20,000 on your airline credit card can help you re-qualify for elite status.

Hotel Elite Status

$20,000 worth of credit card spending can go a long way towards helping you obtain hotel elite status without actually staying at hotels or mattress running. The amount of required spending to earn status with the Marriott card is quite steep. Still, $20,000 can take a large chunk out of it if you’re able to allocate additional spending to these cards

Annual Airline Miles Bonus

A few airline credit cards offer bonus miles annually after a certain amount of credit card spending is completed. The number of miles won’t measure up to 100,000 Avios. However, some people prefer to have their accounts topped off for a specific award they’re saving up for. These people may prefer 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles over 100,000 Avios. Add to this the minimum 20,000 miles earned from $20,000 in spending and it may make sense to trade off 100,000 Avios for fewer miles from another program.

Annual Free Nights

Annual free nights offered by the Hilton credit card can actually be worth a lot if used for high-value redemptions. Putting your free night from the Hilton cards to use at a top-tier hotel can be worth over $1,000. The annual free night from the Club Carlson card, on the other hand, is pathetic and not worth mentioning since there are hardly any good Club Carlson hotels left in the U.S. where the free night would be worth using.

Rewards For Over $20,000 Worth of Credit Card Spending

Many credit cards offer bonus miles, free nights, or elite status in exchange for higher spending requirements (over $20,000). Even though $20,000 doesn’t fulfill the spending requirement, it contributes substantially to earning a reward. I’ve outlined these cards, along with how much more than $20,000 you’d have to spend in order to get the reward:

Should You Spend $20,000 on the British Airways Visa?

Assuming your capacity for manufactured spending is limited, should you spend $20,000 to earn the sign-up bonus on the British Airways card or channel it towards earning one or more of the above mentioned travel bonuses? It really depends on your travel needs. If you’re applying for the British Airways card without any kind of redemption plan, you may as well put your rewards account password on the internet and let strangers go to town on your miles.

If you have an actual redemption in mind and you’ve decided it will get you more value than, say, EQM’s towards AAdvantage elite status or a free Hilton weekend night certificate, then go for it. But don’t follow the herd and don’t spend $20,000 earning a sign-up bonus you don’t have any plans to redeem any time soon. As you can see, there are plenty of other ways you can get rewarded for that amount of spending.

Which credit card would you channel $20,000 worth of spending to?

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Ariana Arghandewal

8 Comments

  1. Has Chase been cracking down on MS? I haven’t MS’d on their cards in a couple of years due to not wanting to get in trouble with the most popular cc bank.

    • Not any more than usual, but I prefer to be cautious. I think it’s safe to ms with them but don’t overdo it and don’t use money orders or Walmart bill pay to pay your card off.

  2. I think Chase asked for it by putting such a high spend on the BA card so you should give Chase the manufactured spend.

    • True. Though to be fair, Chase hasn’t been coming down on ms’ers as hard as Amex. They know it happens to some extent and I think as long as cardholders don’t overdo it, it should be fine.

  3. Barclay Arrival – Earn $630 worth of travel cash w/ 20k spend? huh?

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