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I fly between the US and UK about twice a year - though so far I've only racked up about 16,500 Avios points with British Airways.

I'm due to fly back again for Christmas and New Year. If I were to fly economy and pay normally then the ticket would cost me $1600-$1800 depending on the dates, this is a return direct flight from Seattle to Heathrow.

BA advertised to me their Avios rewards Visa card (issued by Chase, I'm not an existing customer of theirs) which promises 50,000 Avios points (worth about $900) after making a $2000 purchase as well as ongoing points for each subsequent purchase.

The thing is, Avios points aren't worth much in practice because of the approximate 40% cost of the airfare that goes towards taxes and duties (thank you, HM Revenue), but it's still a good saving.

I'm thinking of applying for the card, buying something expensive I was going to get anyway (like the new iPhone for $849) in addition to the $1800 airfare (thus pushing me over the $2000 limit and entitling me to the 50,000 points, which I would then use to fly to the UK next year at a substantial discount.

Does this make sense? I read through the card details and I see no problem keeping the monthly payments done (in fact, I might just use the card for this and then forget about it, or maybe only buy flights on the card).

...but this is just for BA and Avios. What about other airlines? Surely when I look at the market there's going to be another airline+miles-scheme+card combination that works our better, but is it worth the stress and hassle of finding it? It would also render my existing 16,600 Avios points useless unless that airline also participated in the scheme.

The card has a $100 annual fee, but that's nothing I'm worried about.

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I am a proud member of the BA frequent fliers' club (Executive Club). Their service is superb.

Their avios (aka miles) are quite useful. However, that is if you're not flying with British Airways, because if you do - you'll pay enormous amounts as "taxes". I've used their avios on Air Berlin, American Airlines and Iberia - several times each, and their prices are very reasonable (including trans-Atlantic flights, although I mostly used it for domestic flights in the US and EU).

If you only fly BA - their club charges ridiculous amounts for taxes and you would probably want to be in one of their partners' clubs. Depending on your traveling pattern - I'd suggest American Airlines (if you travel a lot in the US) or Qantas (if you travel to far East). I'm not familiar with other partners' clubs, so can't tell.

So whether or not the 50K avios worth the investment is really up to you - it depends greatly on your traveling pattern and where you can use them. If only on BA - not sure if it is worth the trouble (although you do end up with about 50%-70% discount of the regular price when you buy miles tickets).

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