British Airways (BA) has launched a new promotion offering 50% off purchased or gifted Avios.
There is no sign of the tiered bonuses that BA seemed to be trialling back in February. Even the smallest purchase attracts a full 50% bonus this time around.
What’s pricing like?
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 – it’s now at 200,000 Avios. This is a vast jump from 35,000 Avios per year cap that was in place not all that long ago.
Here are some pricing examples:
6,000 Avios + 3,000 bonus Avios = £111
Cost per Avios = 1.23p – Not great
30,000 Avios + 15,000 bonus Avios – £495
Cost per Avios = 1.1p – Not bad
100,000 Avios + 50,000 bonus Avios – £1,615
Cost per Avios = 1.07p – Better, but still not great. Could work in the right circumstances.
If I was to purchase the maximum amount of Avios with the 50% bonus, I would be paying roughly 1.07p per Avios. While I like to think I can get a higher value than 1.07p when redeeming my miles, it’s still a fair bit 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 via some of the methods described in this article.
Nevertheless, there are still some circumstances that may mean this is a decent deal as I outline below.
Should you ever buy Avios from BA?
Here are several situations where you may decide it’s worth jumping in on this offer:
1.) Just short of a redemption
If you are planning a trip but find yourself short of Avios, the savings you’ll make by booking an Avios ticket rather than a cash one should exceed the cost of topping up your account.
Similarly, you may be planning a trip for 2019 and intend to grab Avios seats 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 more palatable.
2.) To purchase a specific trip
You were thinking of heading to Orlando for a week in August, ideally in business class. Direct flights on BA, Virgin Atlantic or American Airlines all seem to be in the region of £3,000-£4,000 per person.
A return trip using Avios ordinarily costs up to 150,000 Avios (peak) + £500 or so in taxes.
If you were to purchase all of those Avios during this promotion that would cost you £1,615. Using this method you are effectively ‘buying’ a business class ticket for just over £2,000 (once taxes are factored in), saving you more than £1,000 on 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.
3.) Gold Priority Rewards
Say you wanted to travel to Monaco for the Grand Prix next month. A quick check on the BA website shows flights are rather expensive, to say the least:
Alternatively, a BA Gold member can book a Gold Priority Reward and use double Avios to book the same seat. That would require 18,000 Avios which, if bought in this promotion would cost a maximum of £255. In that case, even at 1.13p per Avios, buying the Avios has saved you the best part of £600!
I’ll be taking a closer look at Gold Priority Rewards in the next few weeks…
Is a 50% bonus as good as it gets?
In terms of bonuses offered directly by BA in recent years, 50% seems to be the highest bonus we’ve seen. It’s certainly better than the (up to) 35% bonus that ran in February. For perspective, BA also ran a flash four-day sale offering a 50% bonus back in November 2017. That followed another, targeted 50% bonus that had run just a month earlier.
How to purchase Avios
Here are a couple of other points to bear in mind:
- Eligible participants may gift Avios 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.
- Eligible participants may not exceed their annual 200,000 Avios limit. Bonus Avios do not count towards your annual limit.
This deal runs between Monday 23rd April and 23:59 on 8th May 2018.
I’m not rushing to buy Avios at these prices.
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 well work for you.