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The BAA Worldcard Visa is offered in conjunction with BAA, who run many of the UK's largest airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Southampton. Bank of Scotland is the issuer of the card.
I initially applied for the BAA Worldcard Visa as an upgrade to my existing BAA WorldPoints card, BAA's loyalty card system which rewards purchases made at BAA outlets. The application was made on a form provided in the BAA WorldPoints mailout, and was processed quickly. (Applications can now be made on-line). The card subsequently arrived, with a realistic Credit Limit ( I was a student at the time, so £750 was great for me!) A silver card, with a silver magnetic strip as well, it is attractive and received many admiring glances in shops. I was also impressed that it was one of the first credit cards I saw that had an in-built chip, which is now becoming more common in the fight against fraud.
The APR at 17.9% is around average, although new applicants can receive a 2.9% special rate for six months on balance transfers and purchases.
Bank of Scotland send the bills, and deal with telephone support. A mixture of automated information and real life people, I am very happy with the service I have received from their helpline, which is charged at local rate. Request for an increase in credit limit (this is not done automatically, only on request it seems) and for a new PIN were dealt with promptly. I understand that On-line facilities for managing the account are on their way.
So far, it sounds like a bog-standard credit card, so what sets this card apart from the opposition? As you would expect from BAA, the Rewards are mostly of use to users of the relevant airports. Most of these Rewards are earned using WorldPoints. You earn 1 WorldPoint for every £1 spent, and if you use your card at a BAA airport, then you'll earn double WorldPoints. You can also earn extra points at certain BAA outlets. The points balance appears at the bottom of the credit card bill every month.
Examples of benefits include BAA shopping vouchers, which can be used in all shops, restaurants and bars at all UK BAA airports, (make sure you have time after check-in to use them , although they are valid for a year after issue!) money off car parking, and reduced price offers on the Heathrow Express, Stanstead Express and the Gatwick Express. To claim these rewards, you have to phone to order and receive vouchers in advance
Those already members of two Frequent Flier schemes can also exchange 500 WorldPoints for bmi - 750 diamond club destination miles or Virgin Atlantic - 500 flying club miles.
BAA being BAA, they also offer some rewards which are, I believe, unique. For 100 points you can Fast Track security at Stanstead, which could be very handy if you are running a bit late (thanks to the Stanstead Express not running at the weekends, don't get me started on that..........) or you just fancy a bit more time in the departure lounge spending those shopping vouchers. You are also entitled to a free upgrade (for no points) to First Class on the Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express when you buy a ticket before you board the train. This was a godsend to me when I arrived back in London after an overnight flight from LA, not to have to sit in a carriage with lots of screaming kids. (I'm allergic to them.) So if your company expenses policy says "no first class", you can get the perk without getting in trouble.
Cardholder receive a nice glossy magazine from BAA a couple of times a year, with information on all sorts of glam shops (if I was I London and wanted a Harrods Shopping bag, would I buy it at the Airport? Somebody must..) and also details of how to earn and spend WorldPoints. There are also some special offers vouchers, usually in the form of extra points when certain purchases are made.
The card is not ideal for those who borrow on their cards, as the APR will soon outweigh the benefits. However, if you are someone who uses BAA airports on a regular basis, and particularly if you use the Heathrow or Gatwick Express services, the Rewards are certainly attractive, and can make that business trip a little easier to bear. Leisure travellers can also treat themselves to little extras at no financial cost. All in all, a good package.