How much does it cost to buy Avios points? And is it ever a good idea to buy Avios? This is the question I want to look at today.
Sometimes you need more Avios to book a redemption than you currently have. You might be planning a redemption flight but are a few thousand Avios short of what you need. If this is the case, you may be considering purchasing Avios in order to top up your balance.
You can buy Avios via this page of ba.com.
How much does it cost to buy Avios points?
Before we look at what it costs to purchase Avios, you should understand how I value an Avios point. Though there is no fixed value for Avios, their value bottoms out at 0.5p per Avios. This is what you get if you redeem for wine, hotels or car hire.
However, it is also possible to get as much as 1.5p per Avios or more when redeeming for flights if you are savvy with how you spend them. As a general rule, your Avios are worth more when you spend them on flights rather than for other redemptions such as experiences, wine or hotels.
This article – click the link – shows you how different sorts of Avios redemptions (upgrades, using a 2-4-1 British Airways American Express voucher, redeeming for short haul etc) impact the value you get.
Conveniently, British Airways allows you to purchase Avios via the Executive Club website. The cost depends on the amount you purchase. At standard rates, the price is 3.1p when buying 1,000, 2p when buying 5,000 and 1.6p when buying 35,000 Avios.
As you can see, purchasing Avios can be pretty expensive – and it would be stupid to purchase Avios at 1.6p or more only to spend them at a value of less than that. In 2018 I helped the BBC with an episode of Rip-Off Britain for BBC1 where readers felt they had not had the downsides of buying Avios explained to them. You can watch me on YouTube here!
You can buy Avios more cheaply however!
There are some other options that enable you to buy Avios in an indirect and potentially cheaper way.
The most common route is via Groupon in Spain has been running semi-permanent offers recently which let you buy Avios (via an Iberia Plus account) for just over 1p. If the offer is running it will show at this link. This article explains how it works.
It is far easier, and far cheaper, to earn some Avios via credit card sign-up bonuses. This article looks at the best Avios earning credit cards. Instead of buying 10,000 Avios points, you can simply take out an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card (free in the first year) which comes with 10,000 American Express points as a sign-up bonus. These convert 1:1 into Avios.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to avoid buying Avios if you can, and certainly in bulk. You may be able to justify small quantities – if you only need a few more to top up your balance before redeeming – but unless you are sure that you can spend them for more than you bought them for it’s generally best to stick with other routes, either via Groupon Spain or by getting yourself a new credit card.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.5 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
Get 20,000 Avios from Amex Gold, or 30,000 Avios from Amex Platinum! (April 2021 offer)
The sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold converts to 20,000 Avios and the card is free for the first year.
You don’t qualify for the Amex Gold bonus if you have a British Airways American Express card. You DO qualify for the bonus on The Platinum Card, which converts into 30,000 Avios – find out more here:
If you have your own small business, the best way of earning Avios is via the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. It has a sign-up bonus which converts to 10,000 Avios:
You can find out more about ALL UK credit cards which offer travel rewards in this article, updated monthly.