Credit Cards

A New British Airways Card Benefit Shows How Airline Cards Could Step Up Their Game

southwest companion pass for 2017
Written by Charlie

Airline credit cards really need to start innovating with benefits more to be of value to regular customers. This latest BA benefit shows it is possible.

When it comes to the travel credit card space, few cards are actually thinking outside of the box when it comes to benefits and earnings. There are some (like I really like how US Bank Altitude Reserve offers 3X points on all digital wallet payments) but most just follow along with the rest.

Travel Credit Cards Need to Innovate with Unique Benefits for Their Customers

I mean, how many cards do we really need to have offer free Global Entry reimbursement? The list is huge and most of us probably have at least 4-5 ways to offset that now. Recently, we even had United complaining that the popular and awesome Chase Sapphire Reserve was taking customer spending away from their very average cards. Of course, they could always go back to a benefit like this one that was a great, unique benefit for real United flyers.

Yesterday, OMaaT wrote about a new British Airways benefit that shows that there are ways for airline credit cards to come up with new benefits. While this new benefit may not be as great as it initially looks (depending on how BA chooses to allow it to be used), it is a great example of what card issuers and partners could do.

New British Airways Chase Card Benefit of a Surcharge Rebate

The new British Airways Chase card benefit is the rebate of carrier surcharges. When it comes to carrier surcharges (or, as airlines like to call them “fuel surcharges”), British Airways is one of the worst. Since almost all of their flights transit London which already has a higher tax, the combination of taxes and fees can take a premium class award ticket to over $1,000! That is just ridiculous!

Well, this new surcharge rebate could help soften that blow. According to OMaaT, here is how that would break down:

  • Get a $200 rebate for a flight in British Airways first or business class
  • Get a $100 reward for a flight in British Airways premium economy or economy
  • Receive up to $600 in rebate credits each year for taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges on awards
  • 3 credits per year

One big thing still up in the air is if it is valid for one way travel. If it is, that could open up some great opportunities when you start from other cities in Europe (besides London). Also currently unknown is if you can use it for other people (I would imagine it is tied to the actual purchase so my guess is “yes”) and if it is only valid for US departures (since it is a US-issued card).

This Demonstrates It Is Possible for Card Issuers to Innovate

The thing I like the most about this is how Chase and British Airways are innovating on a cardmember benefit. With a card that has a $95 annual fee, offering up to $600 back when traveling on BA awards is certainly a good thing for the customer. Of course, it would be even better if you didn’t have to pay those annoying surcharges at all but if you have the Chase card, at least you get something back now!

It would be really great to see other airline cards follow suit with something unique. The new Southwest business card that offers free WiFi up to 365 times in a year is another example. United and American should really be thinking what they could do!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • The terms are already posted I would include a link but probably not allowed in the comments. The main detail to know it is this does appear to be valid for one ways but it is also only valid ex-US. Thus you are stuck paying the highest fuel surcharges since ex-US is more than ex-EU and other locations. It still has some value but clearly far less than it could have been. Relevant term from Chase (search this to find Chase page with details):

    d. The booking must be for a transatlantic international travel itinerary redeemed from Cardmember’s Executive Club account with the transatlantic portion departing from the United States solely on aircraft operated by British Airways. The booking may include a connecting flight on a code share partner for the non-transatlantic portion of the itinerary.

    Chase raised their already insane fuel surcharges ex-US late last year adding about $200 to J and close to $600 F (round trip). This at best restores us back to the prior state. Also it doesn’t look like you can double dip on a two person award so this may be a further hit the value of a the Travel Together certificate.

    It is still nice to see some innovation going on but this is not a real game changer assuming the implementation matches the terms.