Why you should ignore the new Avios / Economist subscription offer – despite the headline

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We have seen a lot of promotions for The Economist magazine over the last couple of years.  These generally involve buying a one-year subscription with up to 13,200 Avios points thrown in as a bonus.

Last Autumn there was an even better offer.  For £12, you could get a 12 issue trial subscription to The Economist, plus 1,050 Avios.  At 1.16p per Avios, plus 12 issues of the magazine, it was a good deal.

A new Economist offer has just launched on ba.com.  In theory it looks even better than before – but it stinks.

This is how it looks on ba.com (click to enlarge):

Economist Avios offer

Let’s look at what it says above:

“12 weeks for £12 with The Economist and collect 1,200 Avios”

A great offer, yes?  Er, no.

Because, when you click through – click here – there is some cunning small print:

“In order to qualify for the Avios in this 12 week offer, the Eligible Customer must maintain a subscription for at least six months (26 weeks).”

You are NOT getting 1,200 Avios for spending £12.  You actually need to remain a customer for 26 weeks, which will cost you:

  • £12 for the first 12 weeks
  • £44 for the next 13 weeks
  • £44 for the next 13 weeks (to get you over the 26 week threshold)

This is a total cost of £100 for which you will receive just 1,200 Avios.  This is a terrible incentive, especially compared to normal Economist offers for buying a full year subscription.

Economist Avios special offer

Part of me thinks that The Economist has made an error here, but I doubt it.  This is because the BA website has its own set of rules, and they say the same thing:

  1. To be eligible for this offer, new customers must subscribe to a 12 week subscription with The Economist Newspaper and be a member of the British Airways Executive Club
  2. Eligible members will collect 1,200 Avios for a Print, Digital OR Print AND Digital subscription when they choose the 12 week quarterly option.
  3. The 12 week quarterly Avios offer from 1 February 2019 until 31 March 2019 will only be available in the UK.
  4. To sign up, Eligible Customers must visit the dedicated webpage and click on ‘Subscribe now’, choose the subscription type (digital and/or print) and enter the 8 digit, British Airways Executive Club membership account number.
  5. Avios will be awarded to your account within 28 days.
  6. In order to qualify for the Avios in this 12 week offer, the Eligible Customer must maintain a subscription for at least six months (26 weeks). This subscription is non-refundable, except if the customer is a resident in the EU, in which case the customer may cancel the subscription in the first 14 days and get a refund for any part of your subscription that has not already been delivered (for the print element) or published (for any digital element) before it is cancelled.

Do read the small print here and give this offer a miss.  If it does turn out to be a mistake, and the 26 week restriction quietly disappears, I will let you know.

(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.)

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  1. I somehow wondered why the economist is ALWAYS on sale…

    • Lady London says:

      It’s inertia selling. They rely on you not getting around to cancel as soon as terms allow you to. Remember the Readers Digest and all the offers on that? Similar model different audience.

  2. It’s probably because people take out the trial and then cancel. Just like I did. I got 2k Avios on my particular deal.

  3. Genghis says:

    Whilst not exactly sexy, reading the terms is so important in this game.

  4. Are there any decent, current avios deals for taking out the Business Traveller?

  5. Chrisasaurus says:

    The ad copy looks to try and tread the line between acceptable and misleading and in my view fails – the fact it doesn’t say ‘collect 1,200 Avios if you stay’ is quite intentional and the intent is to allow people the wrong interpretation.

  6. Shoestring says:

    The Economist has made so many typo mistakes on exactly this point in the past that I bet you a lounge pass it *IS* just the same offer as before, ie you only need to maintain the trial subscription for 12 weeks.

    In any case: how are they going to get the Avios back from you when they get awarded after 28 days?

    They normally sort out the correct T&Cs in a couple of days.

    • I have yet to receive the 10,200 Avios for my subscription in Oct 18!

      • Same problem. The Iberia + link was a nightmare last year and still chasing their useless customer services team

  7. I will report this to the ASA. They take a dim view of such advertising and BA have history here. I think I have reported around 6 BA online ads in last year and everyone had been upheld

  8. I had a similar offer with the times last month, rang them to use the offer then they Saul the 3 month offer was a 12 month contract…hmmmm…no thanks.

  9. O/T amex credit card gold to plat upgrade. Yesterday amex on a live chat told me it is possible but need to call. True? Anybody tried?

    • What are the terms? is there a benefit?

    • This is consistent with the advice I received on chat yesterday. I specifically asked about MR points bonus for upgrading and there was a loose reference to 20k points. I understand that this was / is the offer for upgrading gold charge to platinum but didn’t probe to see if it actually applied to gold credit to platinum upgrades.

    • You try and let us know!

      • I ll let you know but firstly need to spend 2k on Gold. Anyway I applied for plat in Dec (wasnt accepted). In Jan applied for gold (accepted). Is there a chance to be accepted for plat now? Otherwise does amex credit check when upgrading?

    • I used the below link 2 days ago to upgrade from Gold CHARGE card to the Platinum one:


      My card now shows as Platinum in my Amex account. Waiting for the physical one to be delivered.

    • I called AMEX CS. The upgrade is possible but there is no bonus point offer, akin to the gold charge to platinum one, currently running to do so. No welcome bonus because you already have a MR card, yada yada…

      • Grant have you asked about gold credit card or only about gold charge card? Useful what you wrote. Still worthwhile to upgrade if you do 5 referrals within a month (my plan) 🙂

        • Just to be clear, I was asking about upgrading my Gold CREDIT to the Platinum CHARGE – there is no MR bonus point offer currently running to incentivise this. I specifically referred to the well publicised offer of 20k MR points to upgrade from the old Gold CHARGE but was told that would not apply to the Gold CREDIT.

          Welcome bonus not available, obviously.

          I left it and will churn my Gold when I can reapply for a BAPP in a few months time, and get Platinum next time around.

        • In which case I don’t think they were discussing an UPGRADE offer, but rather a ‘close Gold Credit, open Platinum Charge’ sort of transaction, as a Credit to Charge upgrade is not legal afaik

    • Gold credit to plat card with upgrade bonus not possible (or at least they said no on chat and telephone)

      I got around by self referring for green card, the upgrading that green card using the link (which did work)

      • Andrew M says:

        But I assume that, as yet, you have no idea as to whether the 20k points will trigger? Anyone any experience of this?

  10. TescoTease says:

    OT – hit 200% and 300% of the Tesco points cap this Quater. It seems like Tesco are implementing the cap again as I didn’t receive anything above the limit. I managed 150% of the cap last quater so a bit disappointed…

    • Is the cap still 30k points per quarter? How on earth do you manage to rack up 2 or 3 times that?!

      • TescoTease says:

        Yep. Still 30k. Hit it with a combination of hard work and toil.

        • I’m assuming you’re earning way more than 1 point per £. Do you move them all to Avios?

      • TescoTease says:

        Yes, I don’t trust Tesco so move them straight out, I’d rather risk a devaluation than account cancellation. I don’t use uber so split 50:50 with Avios and Virgin FC.

        • I quadrupled cap 3 odd years ago via CV2 and an email to the CEO had all my CC points above the cap reinstated. Perhaps worth a try?

        • TescoTease says:

          I’d rather not draw attention to myself. I’ll leave it and play by the rules. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    • Wow how did you do that with no more tesco direct!

  11. O/T as no bits. Iberia are doing a promotion 50% off Avios redemptions until February 10. Flights need to be between Feb 1 and April 15 and you need to have a Spanish address (I’ve had a “Spanish address” for a while now without any problems). Chicago to Madrid in J is currently 17k avios and £73.80.

    • Shoestring says:

      Spanish address = change your IB profile to any old Spanish address, and this workaround gets you the 50% discount.

      They say only IB, IB Express & Air Nostrum flights, though – anybody got it working on BA Avios flights booked thru IB?

      • Good point. I’ve not been able to get it to work with BA metal. Looks like it’s purely IB metal and Air Nostrum.

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