In the last 48 hours, British Airways (BA) has launched a new-look tiered promotion offering up to 35% off purchased or gifted Avios.
The offers available are as follows:
- Purchase or gift between 1,000 and 15,000 Avios and receive 10% bonus Avios
- Purchase or gift between 20,000 and 35,000 Avios and receive 20% bonus Avios
- Purchase or gift between 40,000 and 80,000 Avios and receive 30% bonus Avios
- Purchase or gift between 90,000 and 200,000 Avios and receive 35% bonus Avios
How does pricing look?
The first important thing to note is that BA has once again raised the cap on the amount of Avios you are permitted to buy each year to 200,000 Avios. This is a vast jump on the 35,000 Avios cap that was in place not all that long ago.
So what’s the pricing like?
Well, it’s fair to say it varies drastically from downright appalling to mildly acceptable.
Example 1 – 10% bonus
1,000 Avios + 100 bonus Avios – £31
Cost per Avios = 2.8p – Awful
Example 2 – 20% bonus
30,000 Avios + 6,000 bonus Avios – £495
Cost per Avios = 1.37p – Still pretty poor
Example 3 – 35% bonus
100,000 Avios + 35,000 bonus Avios – £1,615
Cost per Avios = 1.19p – Better, but still not great. Could work in the right circumstances.
If I was to purchase Avios with the top-end 35% bonus, I would be paying just shy of 1.2p per Avios. Now while I like to think I can get a higher value than 1.2p when redeeming my miles, it’s still well above my personal ceiling of what I would pay for Avios.
I’m generally able to generate plenty of Avios at a much lower cost through various methods as outlined in this article.
Nevertheless, there are still some circumstances that may mean this is a semi-decent deal.
When does it make sense to buy?
Here are a couple of situations where you may decide it’s worth it to jump in on this offer:
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 2019 and intend to grab 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 bonus would make having to purchase Avios directly from BA (slightly) more palatable.
2.) To purchase a specific redemption
Say you wanted to travel to Los Angeles in business class with British Airways. Cash tickets for a random date in June would cost between about £3,000. Alternatively, you’ve checked and can see there are Avios seats available on your dates.
A return trip using Avios ordinarily costs between 125,000 and 150,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) + £535 in taxes.
On that basis, if you were to purchase those Avios during this promotion that would cost you between £1,500 and £1,800. Using this method you are effectively ‘buying’ a business class ticket for comfortably under £2,000, saving you more than £1,000 over the cash price.
Of course, an example like this assumes you would have paid the cash price if there was no better alternative. If you would never pay £3,000 for a business class ticket, your ‘savings’, in all honesty, aren’t really savings at all.
How to purchase/gift Avios
This deal runs between Monday 12 February and 23:59 on Friday 23 February 2018.
Here are a couple of other points to bear in mind:
- This promotion is only open to British Airways Executive Club members whose accounts are registered in the UK or the EU.
- 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 200,000 gifted Avios. The recipient will receive up to 35% bonus Avios.
- Both the Purchaser and Recipient must be Members of the British Airways Executive Club and have at least one Avios Point in their Executive Club account.
- Eligible Participants may not exceed the promotional 200,000 Avios limit. Bonus Avios do not count towards your annual limit.
In terms of bonuses offered directly by BA in recent years, 35% certainly isn’t the best we’ve seen. Back in November 2017, BA ran a flash four-day sale offering a 50% bonus. That followed another, targeted 50% bonus that had run just a month earlier.
I definitely won’t be rushing to buy Avios at the prices being offered. However, if you need to top up your account for a forthcoming redemption or intend to use the Avios where you know cash tickets are particularly expensive, the maths may work for you.