Johannesburg- British Airways has launched a new BA credit card aimed at its Executive Club members looking to capitalise on what the airline says is the best Avios earn rate offered in South Africa currently. The card is tailored to meet the needs of frequent flyer members of the airline’s executive club, who will earn Avios at a preferential rate on all purchases on their credit card. Avios can be used towards reward flights on premium airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and other oneworld alliance airlines. Avios can also be used for car hire and hotel bookings. This new BA Absa Credit Card takes over from the British Airways Standard Bank Credit Card, which came to an end on 31 January 2014. British Airways confirmed vouchers earned via the Standard Bank Credit Card would still be redeemable, with certain benefits such as Slow Lounge access being available until 31 May 2014. Members wanting to make the switch to the New BA card could still earned Avios in the transition period, but would need to registered for the new BA card by 10 February in order to do so. So what exactly is does the best Avios earn rate in SA look like? One1 Avios is earned for every R7.50 spent, while 1 Avios is earned for every R5 spent when purchasing British Airways tickets as well as selected partners that include Pick n Pay and and BP.
Announced as part of the card’s launch, members qualify for a double-rewards rate on the above-mentioned structure until 31 July on all purchases. New members also receive a 5 000 Avios bonus on the first swipe and those spending R24 000 within the first three months of taking out the card will earn an additional 4 000 Avios. While Avios are earned on everyday spends this card is very-much geared towards the Executive Club frequent travellers as the tier rewards structure indicates: Annual Spend tier bonuses and benefits of the card include: – R50 000 – lounge day pass and Upgrade voucher for you and a companion (return trip) – R100 000 – 10% back in Avios on Reward Flight Saver redemption. – R200 000 – one year unlimited SLOW lounge access when flying with British Airways. Free Companion flight voucher (return trip), Upgrade vouchers for you and a companion (return trip) – Priority Check-in: Dedicated check-in counter to help get customers settled on board sooner. – Lounge access day pass: Complementary lounge access into the SLOW Lounge at OR Tambo (domestic and international), Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. – Lounge access card: A card that will allow access into the SLOW Lounge at OR Tambo (domestic and international), Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports, valid for 12 months. – 10% back on Reward Flight Saver redemption: When spending the Avios that a customer has accumulated, they will be given 10% back of the Avios used.
– Companion voucher: A complimentary return flight (excluding taxes, fees and charges) for a companion of the customer’s choice, on the same flight and in the same cabin, when a ticket is booked by the cardholder with British Airways. – Cabin upgrade vouchers: Entitles the cardholder to a complimentary upgrade to Club (business) class when purchasing a British Airways domestic or regional Y, B or H Traveller (economy class) ticket. Sticky airport taxes An while redeemable rewards are great to wrack up, travellers often find that the pinch in the system are the additional taxes. Notoriously high across the world but even more so in South Africa where airline taxes, fees and carrier charges can make up 50% of the expense. With the new BA Credit Card, instead of paying these taxes, Avios Travel Rewards Programme members as well as British Airways Executive Club Members who collect 1 Avios in the 12 months prior to booking flights qualify for their ‘Reward Flight Saver’.
Essentially meaning the taxes on an Avios fare ticket are capped at R700 per person on a return economy domestic British Airways flight. This is applicable to South African destination flights such as Livingstone, Windhoek, Mauritius, Harare and Victoria Falls as well. So what are the pitfalls? While interest rates are said to be determined on an individual basis, the high-cash injection required on a card such as this means the 55-day interest-free period is the best way to maximise its benefit. And while all till point transactions are free and earn you Avios, the same cannot be said for cash withdrawals, casino transactions, internet banking transfers and budget plan purchases. “Other exceptional benefits of the new credit card include points that don’t expire as long as customers remain active, flying privileges and status, and world-class customer service,” said Arrie Rautenbach, Head, Retail Banking, Absa. “World MasterCard Rewards provides access to a range of priceless travel and lifestyle experiences and offers, from culinary adventures to teeing off at renowned golf courses from around the globe” said Philip Panaino, Division President, South Africa, MasterCard. “
“We are delighted to launch this new partnership with Absa” said Nick Pilbeam, Director of New Markets and Business Development for Avios Group (AGL) Limited. “We strive to bring our cardholders value for money and we are confident that the generous launch offers and opportunities to collect double Avios will be well received.” 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. Visit www.bacard.co.za or call 0861 422 000 to apply or for more information.