50% bonus when you buy Avios – worth it?

British Airways has launched (yet another) aggressive ‘buy Avios’ offer.

It is a short term deal which expires on Friday 30th.

You need to visit ba.com via this page in order to buy.

Let’s take a look at the ‘buy Avios’ deal in detail, as I had a few emails yesterday afternoon asking if I thought it was worthwhile or not.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because my arguments are – not surprisingly – the same as the ones I used when they last ran a 50% bonus!

British Airways A350

Here are a few price points:

5,000 Avios – was £95 (1.9p), now 7,500 Avios for £95 (1.26p)

10,000 Avios – was £175 (1.8p), now 15,000 Avios for £175 (1.16p)

20,000 Avios – was £335 (1.7p), now 30,000 Avios for £335 (1.12p)

50,000 Avios – was £815 (1.6p), now 75,000 Avios for £815 (1.09p)

100,000 Avios – was £1,615 (1.6p), now 150,000 Avios for £1,615 (1.07p)

The cheapest price is therefore 1.07p per Avios point.

Is this a good deal?  Well, it is fair to say that you won’t lose money at this level.  I have a spreadsheet showing the last few million Avios I redeemed and my average value is 1.15p per point.

This is skewed by a few things though:

I do quite a few ‘double Avios’ Gold Priority Award redemptions to force open seats on full flights.  These drag down my ‘pence per point’ valuations.

My household generates 2 x 241 vouchers each year but we tend to do two long-haul trips per year, each for 4 people.  We only use a 241 on 50% of our long-haul redemptions which, again, drags down my ‘pence per point’.

The cash value I place on an Avios redemption is what I would realistically pay for a similar flight.  This means that I generally value Middle East business class at £1500 and longer routes at £1750 return.  You can normally get a ticket for this although not necessarily on BA.  You may prefer to use a higher or lower number.

Even if you agreed with my methodology, it would be crazy to pay 1.07p per Avios if you were going to redeem them for 1.15p.  Avios points are obviously not as flexible as cash and are issued by The Central Bank of IAG which, frankly, has an inflationary track record to rival many third world countries.  (And even in countries of high inflation, you can usually spend your cash whenever you want – unlike an Avios point.)

Personally, I would be targetting somewhere closer to 0.66p before I would be a speculative buyer – but that is based WHOLLY on my personal circumstances.

This is my long ‘what is an Avios point worth?’ article (click here) which takes a more scientific view based on different ways you may spend your points.  These valuations tend to come out at nearer 1.5p in the best cases.  On this basis, paying 1.07p – with no more effort required than picking up your credit card – may work you.

If you are only topping off an account with the last few thousand you need for a redemption, the price per point doesn’t really matter anyway.  You get the 50% bonus however few points you buy, even the minimum of 1,000.

Before you buy, though, think about the options.  Could you or your partner take out an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card instead?  The card is free for the first year and you’ll get 20,000 Amex points (= 20,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 within 90 days.  That is a better deal than spending around £250 buying points under this deal.  If you’ve got a BA Amex and a Gold or Platinum, how about the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card?  The 10,000 points you get for signing up convert to 10,000 Avios and you only need to spend £1,000.  (The Starwood Amex has a representative APR of 36.2% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.)

You need to buy before midnight on Friday 30th June.  The link to buy is here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

My review of the Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland (Part Two)
Bits: new Amex cashback deals, triple Accor points in Europe & APAC, Opodo codes correction
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Comments

  1. Am I the only one who cannot actually buy anything? Tried in 3 different browsers and they keep opening a frame with my membership profile in 🙁

    • magicgumdrop says:

      I’ve the same issue. I’ve tweeted them to see if they’ve any notion what’s going on.

    • +1

    • Premgenius says:

      Your not the only one, have the same issue at this end

    • Premgenius says:

      For me did some things to try to get it to work and it turned out for me as I had a 0 Avios it gave a blank frame, once you add some Avios to your account it will load the page correctly.

  2. Something of a newbie here so apologies for those Gold/Platinum members.

    Still ‘only’ a Bronze member, with 63k points accumulated thus far but looking to go all in on the 100k points + 50k bonus to boost my Avios. I am close to getting a companion voucher for the year and initial number crunching suggests we should be able to open up some decent options with the relative hit when using the boosted points indicating a saving as opposed to simply paying with £. NB – I have compared this to the last time I used my Avios for part-payment on a flight.

    Does this ring true for the more regular Avios collectors – maybe I am being cynical (great timing for BA given recent incidents) but some of the others posters above have me questioning the ‘value’ of this offer.

    • the real harry1 says:

      you’re absolutely right if you use your bought Avios wisely

      you simply wouldn’t use them (unless you’re cash-poor) for a redemption where you wouldn’t get more than 1.07p/ Avios, so it’s a no brainer – you can always choose the cheapest option, Avios or cash

      (devaluation aside)

      we always get way more than 1.5p of value on RFS redemptions

    • If you’re making a significant saving on the cost of the flights you’ll be using the avios for, then go for it, but it very much depends on what you’re travel plans are.

      • Thanks – likely to be heading to the West Coast of America and based on current (i.e. sale!) prices, there ‘should’ be a reasonable saving using the majority of any increased Avios balance vs. using cash in total.

  3. OT – I’ve got a connection from MAN to Heathrow with an overnight stop before a long haul flight the next morning. Can I check my luggage all the way through at MAN? I’ve always reclaimed it and re-checked the next day up till now, but it’s a lot of hassle and I suppose the security is only the same as having a long layover during the day. Has anyone done this? Both flights are on the same BA booking.

    • We did it last year on an overnight stop, starting from Edinburgh on an early evening departure via Heathrow. The check-in agent gave us a choice of checking our bags through or collecting at Heathrow.

  4. If you are planning to fly Cathay Pacific, buying BA avios are always way cheaper than you purchase the ticket directly from CX. Lets say buying 20000 avios at 214GBP (~2130HKD), compare to buying a return economy ticket on CX will be at least 3000HKD (up to 4000-5000 in most occasion)!!! You save even more if you buy J or even F ticket!

  5. I am only a “blue” but have 150,000 avoids and 300 f
    Tier. Cannot do a thing with them. Booked a trip to Oz
    Premium economy but BA won’t accept to upgrade. Trailfinders not helpful on this point either. I will now earn more points but cannot use them. It is all so complicated. I am retired and don’t travel much so cannot improve the tiers or move above blue status.

    • Unfortunately you need Club World availability to upgrade from WTP – if it’s not available then you can’t upgrade. Trailfinders won’t have any involvement with Avios bookings/upgrades either, I wouldn’t really blame them on that – the issue is sadly just picking one of the trickiest routes to find space on!

    • Sorry if I’ve misunderstood but do you have 300 Tier points? If so you should be Bronze not Blue and you will at least get the associated benefits like being able to reserve a seat within 7 days of departure without paying extra and priority boarding etc. might help the WT+ experience a bit.

      • Genghis says:

        Or 300 lifetime tier points?

        @FMB if you stick around, read the articles, ask questions and contribute you’ll soon build up your knowledge and will be able to put your avios to good use.

        For example, add in a BA 241 voucher gained from the BA Premium Plus Amex after £10k spend (pay council tax at co-op, electricity and gas at co op etc if £10k looks challenging) and 125k avios + £1k taxes for business to Cape Town

  6. How do you work out the value per avios?

    I have a hotel booking to make which I plan to use avios for – 3 nights in miami in september. I checked earlier this month and it was half the avios they are charging now. Thought due to the sale the avios redemption cost would be pretty much the same..

    • no worries just saw the article on how to value avios

    • That’s odd – the Avios needed for a hotel booking is usually the current cash price divided by 0.58p or thereabouts.

  7. OT:Planning a trip to Auckland for Jan/Feb 18.
    We would like to do:
    LON-SIN-AKD-SYD-HKG-LON
    the LON-SIN and HKG-LON there is loads of availability but what is the best way to get flight redemption for the remaining flights?

    We have plenty of avios, MR and SPG

    any thoughts?

    • pauldb says:

      Spotted while answering another question on this post. NZ-Asia (SYD or HKG) on NZ would appear to be 40k VS miles each way, or SIN-AKL (or CHC) on SQ 42.5k VS miles, easily obtainable from MR.
      I have no experience whether this is easy enough to book (whether VS has access to normal NZ/SQ award seats) but the rates look very competitive.

      • My impression is that VS have access to standard NZ availability (which is usually pretty restricted) and to standard *A partner SQ availability (which is much more restricted than when booking via SQ KF)

    • SYD-HKG you really need to book early as CX redemption availability on this route is very low.

    • Matthew says:

      You could convert SPG to Alaska miles as Asia to NZ is 30,000 points for CX business one way.

  8. OT – I have booked a hotel stay using a Hilton voucher from her Credit card spend, just wondering can you change the booking date or is it non-refundable once booked?

    • The Original Nick says:

      Ammar. You can change it as long as the new date is within the expiry date (6 months of issue) of the voucher.

  9. FreddieTheFrog says:

    When all’s said and done, I value Avios at a penny each.

    It makes the maths easy and won’t be too far from the truth (spurious precision notwithstanding).

    • the real harry1 says:

      I value them at about 1.5p, since I nearly always get at least 1.5p of value when I use them 🙂

      That’s not to say buying more at 1p makes sense when you already have enough

      But buying 150K @ little more than 1p makes enormous sense when you are starting out in Avios

      all sorts of good reasons, including freeing you up to take advantage of redemption opps incl 241

      motivation to collect more (good to see a healthy bank balance)

      • Genghis says:

        Are you on commission, TRH1? 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          nope I think my earlier point is just so obvious it makes fantastic sense (that Raffles ignores, he’s not beginning lol)

          without a big chunk of Avios, you are unable to do anything, your arms are handcuffed behind your back, you are scraping around for ways to earn some cheap points, not everybody has a job where you are going over the pond & back several times a year etc or on generous corporate expenses

          whereas with (say) 150K stash of Avios in the bank, you are free to choose

          you can’t lose – either you use your 1p Avios because that’s cheaper than using cash

          or you use cash because that’s cheaper than using 1p Avios

          • Genghis says:

            I hear you. It does take a while to get going in this hobby but there are easier ways to earn the avios IMO for a new comer. 92k MRs for His n hers plats and 70k avios for his n hers BAPPs for 3k spend on each. So £10k spend for almost the same no of avios as buying. Return is then say £1720 – a few quid in card fees depending how fast you spend. This isn’t for everyone of course but I wouldn’t buy at 1p when I could do this card method – paying CT / other bills in advance if necessary etc

          • Genghis says:

            And I can’t even add up! Lol

          • Mycity says:

            I think that’s a really good point Harry, I found until I had a chunk of Avios it was difficult to see me ever getting there, once I had a nice stash it made me work harder to get miles and look for other sources.

          • Alex W says:

            Genghis, try persuading a beginner to spend 2 x £450 on Amex platinum cards! No chance, even if you explain the pro rata refund.

          • Genghis says:

            @Alex W. Good point. But a person might be as nervous about spending £1500 on a few points!

          • the real harry1 says:

            @ Genghis – the collection methods are not mutually exclusive

            plus flashing your credit card (once) is very easy in comparison

            however: cheap points = always good

          • Alex W says:

            Agreed, I wouldn’t be a buyer above 1p but I can see Harry’s point about getting some points in the bank. Early on I chased Avios too much and wasted the opportunity to earn more valuable hotel points instead.

          • Genghis says:

            @Alex W I think I’m actually more into the hotel points game now as I can see real tangible savings / better quality rooms etc.

          • Agree, esp when combined with hotel status.

            I’m fairly well-known at work for my points collecting, had a few folk asking advice – esp when they heard of my 5 day biz class trip to Boston/Cape Cod all for under £650 + points 😀

          • Genghis says:

            @TRH1. V true. Buying points is easy. When I tell people about the hobby they always note how much of a chew on it is with all the credit cards. I don’t mind the leg work, however, as I know the end result. It may seem sad but I think I enjoy the actual collecting as much as the spending.

          • Mycity says:

            I laughed at your comment Genghis about enjoying collecting, it’s a bug for me I love it, mind I suspect that most on here are the same.

  10. Nishant Tharani says:

    O/T: I’m just getting into this business and it’s great to see a site dedicated to UK based people about all this. One question about the amex card offers: can I really claim the same signup bonus every 6 months, if I claim up, get the bonus points, then cancel the card and wait 6 months to do it again? And there is no limit to how much I can do this without amex getting pissed? Can I only do one card at a time, or could I do (for example) the Gold Card and BAPP simultaneously, ie both every 6 months?

    • Genghis says:

      Hi Nish. That’s right – you can do it every 6 months. I’ve done it for years no problem. Also I’ve run an Amex Plat, BAPP and SPG all at the same time. I don’t think I’ve annoyed Amex just yet but both my wife and I are charged Amex Plat fees straight away on account opening. The staff can see what I do when I close the account and I’ve had a “see you in 6 months’ time” comment.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      You can but be ce careful with your credit score: since March I’ve taken out Amex Plat, Amex PSG, Hilton Barclaycard, IHG White and IHG Black (yes March is when I found out about this blog).

      Now my Experian report has gone down to “Fair” after having opened above credit lines in past six months.

      • Genghis says:

        My credit score jumps around a bit but always rebounds to 990s, currently 999.

  11. Scary replies when you think back 10 years and one could ‘buy’ Avios for around 0.2p and have a freezer full of roast beef 🙂

  12. pointsarb says:

    O/T

    Folks can I just check please. For the 241 voucher on the BAPP, is it 1 voucher per calendar year, card year, or some other variant?

    We have clocked up 1 241 voucher already but need another to cover our family of 4.

    Thanks!

    • Optimus Prime says:

      It’s one per card year I think. So if you got your card in March 2017, the clock won’t reser until March 2018.

      You can refer your other half and he/she can trigger another 241 voucher.

      • Genghis says:

        Yes, one voucher per card year on one card. But it’s very reasonable to earn 2 in a year through churning:
        1) Apply for BAPP.
        2) Spend £10k in months 1-3 earning 241
        3) Cancel and wait 6 months
        4) Reapply and get bonus and then spend £10k in months 10-12 earning 241.

        If you and your partner do this, it’s 4 241s a year (relies on £40k of expenditure)

        • Optimus Prime says:

          That’s true, hadn’t realised.

          BTW Genghis, do you know if Hilton Barclaycard can be cancelled before using the reward night certificate?

          My wife and I have received the email with the reward certificate ID and no longer need our cards.

          • Haven’t tried this so can’t provide a definitive answer but as the voucher sits in your Hilton account I can’t see why you shouldn’t cancel while still retaining the voucher. Perhaps others have anecdotal evidence?

          • Genghis says:

            Not too sure if it can be cancelled before, sorry. You’re not losing anything by keeping it so I’d just wait for your stay TBH.

          • Yep, no problem in doing this as long as you’ve confirmed the voucher has been issued. It sits in your Hilton Honors account so they don’t care what happens to your Barclaycard account. Churning on the Hilton VISA isn’t meant to be allowed of course now, but no harm in trying. I do find it quite erratic at granting me the card though (I sometimes think they go through phases of wanting people with less than ideal credit scores!), so I’ve hung onto it for now.

          • Genghis says:

            I reapplied recently after a year and got the cert. keeping the card for the time being as I want to build up my HH stash

        • pointsarb says:

          Thanks Genghis & Optimus Prime!

          I’ll typically do circa £120k/year on card spend so your approach is very interesting Genghis 🙂

        • Is it possilble to cancel and re-apply for the BA amex 3 or 4 times a year and earn a 241 each time after a 10k spend? Aware I wouldn’t get the sign up bonus as haven’t waited 6 months. But if I wanted to generate 4 x 241s asap, is this possible ?

          • the real harry1 says:

            yes

          • Optimus Prime says:

            Amex should just change the BAPP TC’s and give a 241 voucher for every £10k spent. Surely that would save time to the customers and themselves?

  13. Ok it’s late so my brain could be fried so someone please correct me if I am wrong….you can buy Tesco Vouchers for £2.50 which are worth 600 avios – is that not a cheaper way of purchasing them?

    • Yep, but you’ve got to (a) have an easy way of acquiring said Clubcard points and (b) probably value CC points at a little more than face value given potential Boost deals, although appreciate they’re rarely at the purported rate…

    • Genghis says:

      Are you selling Tesco vouchers at face value, £2.50 for £2.50? I’ll take them all of your hands…

  14. Richard says:

    I ‘owe’ a friend 31,000 miles after sharing his 241 to Cape Town.

    What is the best way of acquiring/gifting miles to a friend? Is this 50% a good deal for this purpose?

    • The best way is to book him 31k of short-haul flights from your account to avoid paying any fees, assuming you’ve got enough.

      You could pay BA to transfer from your account to his but that is a waste of money in my view. (Unless you are BA Gold, when it is free.)

      If not then, yes, give him your credit card number and let him buy 31k this way.

  15. Iberia Groupon offer is still running. Best value in stock appears to be 39,577 points for €429/£376 (34,000 + 5,577 Iberia Plu Store)