New British Airways Credit Card launches in South Africa

Edward Chamberlain-Bell Avios British Airways launch
British Airways’ Avios credit card- note the design resembles an aeroplane’s engine turbines.

The new British Airways Credit Card was launched in Johannesburg this week, and now offers shoppers exceptional benefits with the best Avios earn rate in South Africa.

I was invited to the launch, held at Signature Restaurant in Morningside, Sandton, by ABSA, MasterCard and British Airways. It was an exceptional venue to launch their new card and was attended by an eclectic mix of media and bankers. It’s not often that my bank calls me with good news but I went in the blind hope that they might throw a free credit card into the goodie bags (wrong) but it does allow me to say that I had lunch with MasterCard- as opposed to saying that I had to pay for lunch with my MasterCard.

Before you ask what are Avios, they are points earned on all shopping transactions concluded through your credit card that can be exchanged for flights to worldwide destinations. This could have explained it better because I’ve always confused them with Voyager miles but a quick Google search clarified everything.

Matharithmatics is not my strong point but lets do some to see if Avios is worth it. Every R7.50 you spend on your card will earn you 1 Avios. You need 9,000 Avios for a return reward flight on British Airways from Johannesburg to Durban, Port Elizabeth or even Harare. The obvious question is how much do you need to spend to earn 9,000 Avios? Answer: R67,500.

That looks like a lot of money, and it is, but aren’t you spending that, if not more every month on groceries, petrol, clothes, entertainment? So why not maximise your credit card by earning Avios on everything you buy with your British Airways MasterCard? There are no limitations when it comes to earning Avios anywhere- unless they don’t take credit cards. There’s also a preferential earning rate of 1 Avios for every R5 spent at British Airways, Pick n Pay and BP.

There were some amusing discussions at the launch about how one cardholder earned himself 25,000 Avios by paying for his new car with his credit card.

The card is tailored to meet the needs of frequent flyers, who will earn Avios at a preferential rate on all purchases on their credit card. It is designed to reward customers by giving them Avios every time they swipe their credit card. Avios can be used towards reward flights on premium airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and other one world alliance airlines. Avios can also be used for car hire and hotel bookings. The more you shop, the further you can fly.

There’s an aggressive, and generous, incentive to encourage as many registrations as possible before 31st July 2014. New cardholders will automatically earn 5,000 bonus Avios when they first swipe their card (for any amount!), plus an additional 4,000 Avios if they spend R24,000 within the first three months of getting their card. Over and above this, a special launch offer enables cardholders to earn double Avios on all of their expenses spend until 31st July 2014. It’s not an excuse to go shopping, but it’s not impossible to reserve all you shopping for your new British Airways Credit Card.

The financial services market is a highly competitive arena- check out this cool infographic about the top 20 most expensive keywords on Google Adwords, so they launched the new British Airways credit card with as many bells and whistles as possible to make it attractive to new users. There are also a number of additional benefits, such as Priority Check-in for all cardholders, spend tier bonuses such as lounge access, 10% Avios back on redemption of domestic and regional flights, as well as Companion and Cabin upgrade vouchers that you can view on the bacard.co.za website. This is great news for consumers looking for more value from their credit service providers.

Nick Pilbeam, Director of New Markets and Business Development for Avios Group, said they wanted to offer their cardholders value for money and is confident that the special launch offers, and opportunities to collect double Avios, will be well received. It’s certainly a tempting offer.

To apply for the British Airways Credit Card, applicants need to have a minimum monthly income of R8 000, a valid ID and proof of residence, and they must be older than 18 years.

The way I see it, I’m already spending so much a month on my credit card, just on Adwords, why not get rewarded for it?

Which brings me to my final point; what is the least amount, or cringiest amount, you’ve ever swiped your card for? I think mine was R10 because I didn’t have enough cash on me to buy a bottle of water.


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