British Airways VISA Promotion FAIL

At the end of 2010, British Airways was promoting a pretty incredible offer I was really tempted to jump on.  New cardholders would receive a bonus of 100,000 British Airways miles — 50,000 miles after their first purchase and another 50,000 after spending at least $2,000 in the first three months.  That's easily enough miles to do some big-time free travel.  I pondered it a bit and the $95 fee and decided to stick with my tried and true 2% cashback model.  It's not particularly sexy, but by sticking to cashback cards for the most part, I don't have to worry about points being whimsically re-valued or de-valued.  So I felt OK with the decision.

Then I read the NY Times Haggler yesterday where a fellow had taken part in a similar (less lucrative) British Airways promotion.  Listen to this experience:

"So I paid the $95 it cost to sign up for the card, charged $3,500 and, last month, booked two British Airways tickets to London. Not a bad deal, I thought. Until I learned that these tickets cost $527 in taxes and fees. Each. When I contacted customer service, they informed me that the promotion had stated that taxes and fees would be additional. I knew that, but $527?"

Blech.  Big hassle factor and ridiculous fees.  Yeah, it's still a discounted ticket, but totally not worth if from my perspective.  No thanks British Airways.

Anyone else have a similar rewards experience?

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