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Is it worth buying Avios points?

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Is it ever worth buying Avios points?

Sometimes, you need more Avios than you currently own. You might be looking at booking a redemption flight but are short of a couple 1000 Avios. In a case such as this, you may be considering purchasing Avios in order to top up your balance.

You can buy Avios via this page of ba.com.

Is it worth buying Avios points?

Before we can decide whether purchasing Avios is worth it, we need to understand how Avios are valued. 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, Avios are worth more when spent on flights rather than other redemptions such as experiences, wine etc.

This article 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 from within Executive Club.  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.

However, there are some other options that enable you to buy Avios in an indirect and potentially cheaper way.  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 bonusesThis article looks at the best Avios earning credit cards.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to avoid purchasing Avios as much as possible, 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 alternative methods to accruing Avios.

(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 storiesclick 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! (January 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!

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

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:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You can find out more about ALL UK credit cards which offer travel rewards in this article, updated monthly.