In the last 24 hours, British Airways (BA) has launched what appears to be a targeted promotion for purchasing or gifting Avios.  Unusually, no emails have yet been sent out regarding this offer, although this may well follow in the next few days.

Currently, the only way to see if you were targeted, is to head to the ‘Purchasing Avios’ section of the BA website.

I logged in and found my account had the following offer listed:

Buy Avios promotion with a 50% bonus
BA ‘Buy Avios’ promo

I selected the maximum amount you can purchase in a calendar year: 100,000 Avios. This is priced at £1,615 and included a bonus 50,000 Avios.

If I was to purchase at that price I would be paying roughly 1.07p per Avios, which isn’t a terrible price. Admittedly, it is above my personal ceiling of what I would pay for Avios. I am generally able to generate Avios at a much lower cost as I outlined in this article about buying cheap Avios. Nevertheless, your personal circumstances may mean this is a good deal.

It seems not everyone is being offered the same 50% bonus though. Reports on Flyertalk suggest that some people have been offered a 35% bonus and even that is only available when purchasing between 85,000 and 100,000 Avios.


When does it make sense to buy?

Here are a couple of situations where you may find it worth it to jump in on this offer. My analysis will work on the basis that you have the 50% version of the bonus. If your offer is less than 50%, even these scenarios will probably represent poor value, although as always this is very subjective.

1.) Just short of a redemption – If you are planning a trip but find yourself short of the requisite Avios, the savings you will make by being able to book an Avios ticket rather than a cash one should easily exceed the cost of topping up your account.

Similarly, you may be working on a trip for 2018 and intend to secure the seats you want as soon as they are released at T-355. You find yourself 50,000 Avios short and missing out on those seats isn’t an option. This 50% bonus should make having to purchase Avios directly from BA more palatable.

2.) To purchase a specific redemption – Say you wanted to travel to Hong Kong in business class on either British Airways or Cathay Pacific. Cash tickets for a random date in November come in between £3,000 and £4,000. Alternatively, you can see there is Avios availability for your dates.

A return trip using Avios would cost:

  • Cathay Pacific = 180,000 Avios + £244 in taxes.
  • British Airways = Between 150,000 and 180,000 Avios (Off-peak/peak) + £554 in taxes.

On that basis, purchasing the maximum 150,000 Avios at £1,615 would mean you are effectively ‘buying’ an (Avios) business class ticket for under £2,000, saving between £1,000 and £2,000 over the cash price.

(Remember since Cathay Pacific requires 180,000 Avios, you would need to acquire/already have a further 30,000 Avios). 

Of course, any example such as this assumes you would have paid the cash price if need be, otherwise your ‘savings’, in all honesty, aren’t really savings at all. 


How to purchase/gift Avios

Visit this page on the BA website and log-in to see if you have been targeted.

Intriguingly, the terms suggest this promotion is targeted at British Airways American Express Cardmembers. Indeed when you get to the payment stage and click on ‘type of card’ the British Airways American Express appears as the first option. However, as you can see below, other card types are also offered.

Buy avios promotion payment options

It remains to be seen if BA will enforce this, but it’s worth being aware if paying with a different card that they would have the right to invalidate your bonus.

Here are a couple of other points to bear in mind:

  • This deal runs between Wednesday 13th September and 23:59 GMT on Friday 29th September 2017.
  • Eligible Participants may Gift Avios (purchase for someone else) during the promotional period, provided that the recipient holds or opens a British Airways Executive Club account and the recipient’s BAEC membership number is entered at the time of purchase.
  • Members can receive up to 100,000 gifted Avios. The recipient will receive 50% bonus Avios.
  • Eligible Participants may not exceed their annual 100,000 Avios limit. Bonus Avios do not count towards your annual limit.

Verdict

In terms of bonuses offered directly by BA in recent years, 50% is about as good as it gets. Personally, I won’t be speculatively topping up at this price point. However, if you have a specific use in mind and can make the maths work, this promotion will sweeten the deal.

The page to purchase/gift Avios can be found here.

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