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American Express pushing a ‘buy Avios’ bonus – worth it?

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A lot of HfP readers emailed me yesterday about an British Airways American Express cardholder offer that was emailed to them.  We covered this last month, but the feedback yesterday means that I want to run over it again.

It is a little weird in how it is set up.

When you buy at least 20,000 Avios for £335 via the standard ‘buy Avios’ page here, you will get a bonus of 10,000 Avios.

Avios wing 9

This assumes that:

you register for the offer on your BA Amex online statement page, and

you pay with your BA Amex

You must buy at least 20,000 Avios.  Because the bonus is fixed at 10,000 Avios, the best option is to buy exactly 20,000 for £335 and no more.  In total you will receive 30,000 Avios, although the bonus Avios will come via Amex and won’t arrive until your next BA Amex statement is generated.

You are paying 1.1p per Avios via this offer.  This is OK but certainly not one to jump on unless you have a specific need for them.

Every so often BA runs a ‘50% bonus when you buy Avios’ offer.  These offers are better than this BA Amex one because:

the occasional 50% BA bonuses let you buy as few or as many Avios as you want, whilst this BA Amex offer only gives a 50% bonus if you buy 20,000 points

the occasional 50% BA bonuses give you the bonus Avios immediately, whilst with this one the bonus will be added to the next monthly sweep from your BA Amex card

the occasional 50% BA bonuses let you pay however you want, whilst this offer forces you to use a BA Amex

the occasional 50% BA bonuses do not require pre-registration, whilst this BA Amex does – and if you forget, you don’t get the bonus

However, if you can get your head around these restrictions then you are getting a decent 50% bonus if you buy exactly 20,000 Avios.

To take advantage of the Amex offer, you need to buy via this link.  The offer runs until 15th July.

This HfP article from our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series shows you how to buy Avios points and which route is the best value from all of the options available.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (196)

  • Sam Wardill says:

    What was BA’s policy in the event of strike cancellations last time? I have four Club World seats from Sydney to Singapore on 14th (Qantas Rewards) and one First seat on 16th (Avios Reward). Might they re-book me onto another flight? Are they likely to allow me to cancel without penalty (albeit the penalty is minimal). If they cancel within 14 days will they pay compensation?

    • Shoestring says:

      yes
      yes
      no – because they will (I think successfully) argue that a BALPA strike *is* extraordinary circs, with it being near-impossible to produce replacement pilots out of thin air

      • Radiata says:

        I seem to recall flyertalk discussions noting that strikes no longer necessarily exempt from EC261 compensation as not deemed to be extraordinary circumstances.

        Had a quick look and the BA compensation wiki states, in respect to a 2018 update: “The big development this year was the ruling from the CEDR that strikes that take place within a particular airline are not extraordinary circumstances. The case being Helga Krüsemann and Others v TUIfly GmbH, case C-195/17 and others.”

        • Shoestring says:

          hasn’t been tested with BALPA (pilots)

          with cabin crew, it is relatively easy to draft in staff from elsewhere, one coffee cup is pretty much the same task fleet-wide

          pilots? are you going to magick them out of the ether?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I would argue that the reason there is a strike is of BA’s making and that the fact they can’t magic up staff is not an excuse for not compensate you for messing up your travel plans.

        • AJA says:

          I agree. Also you could argue that the strike is happening because BA and the pilots cannot agree on salary, which is a normal operating issue. BA also has 2 weeks notice to find replacement crew, the fact that it might be extremely difficult for BA is not extraordinary. I don’t believe crew shortage is seen as an extraordinary issue. It’s an operational scheduling issue.

          • Shoestring says:

            I don’t buy it

            pilots are trained/ certified for specific aircraft and can’t just turn up & fly a different plane

            + we all know there are pilot shortages industry-wide

          • Russ says:

            There is a glut of pilots. Problem is there are aren’t enough senior pilots actively flying as they’re being pulled in to do training.

    • Charlieface says:

      It’s their failure to manage staff relations, definitely within their power to negotiate, which they haven’t. I don’t understand why airline staff strikes have ever not been open-and-shut cases

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Any thoughts on the site till scale of disruption if strikes do go ahead (assuming BALPA only?)

    Based on prior experience, is it worth avoiding booking on BA that week starting the 5th? Or are they likely to manage to fill in with what’s left and some leases?

    • BJ says:

      If the pilots strike…massive!

    • AJA says:

      The pilot strike is potentially very disruptive , I think nearly all their pilots are members of BALPA.

      Call me cynical but this strike is timed to coincide with school holidays and also the start of the A350 test flights to Madrid which everybody is looking forward to. It would be very embarrassing to BA if those flights are targeted and potentially throw out the schedule for introducing the planes on their routes in October/November as they wouldn’t have sufficient training.

      • Polly says:

        Think Ryan Air massive issues, with pilot holiday scheduling couple of years ago…think similar scenario ahead here. Shame it’s right in the middle of family holidays tho, of course they must go for massive impact…awful. Feel sorry for folks with one flight a day routing..or anyone affected obviously..

    • Rob says:

      There are different strategies. Strike means no pay, so ‘all out’ makes no sense.

      However, striking every other day – for example – has roughly the same impact as BA can’t have people stranded, so the other legs get cancelled too, although some short hauls would go.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Arrive back from MIA on 5th Aug…….

  • BJ says:

    They’ll crow loudly about their grievances but in private I doubt BA or Marriott will lose any sleep over fines on this scale, a miniscule hike in YQ /rates will soon recoup their losses and go unnoticed.

    • Aliks says:

      If they could get away with a miniscule rise in YQ, with no impact on the business, then surely they would have done that already.
      More likely the shareholders and employees will take a hit in terms of reduced shareprice, reduced dividends and fewer pay rises.
      These levels of fine really do produce changes in behaviour by middle management – which is where the problem usually lies.

    • Rob says:

      Airlines and hotels are generally price takers and not price makers.

    • marcw says:

      The market sets the price, not the airlines.

  • David L says:

    What’s the earliest they could ever strike? Got some award tickets booked on the 6th, would I be safe if I rebooked these to the 4th that also has availability, we’re flying back for a wedding so absolutely can not be delayed.

    • BJ says:

      5th August I believe, unless the timetable of the ballot changesd since I last read about it.

    • Shoestring says:

      4th looks to be fairly safe vs 6th (not very safe! given current information)

    • Rob says:

      4th is safe. Depends how quick the letter goes in after 22nd as 14 days notice required.

  • Claire says:

    Do we think its likely to be a series of 1 day strikes. I have a club flights booked to Washington on the 14th and come back from atlanta on the 31st. Less of an issue for returning if delayed.

    • jane says:

      see you on that flight on the 31st (hopefully, if we get out on the 11th !)

    • Shoestring says:

      I think BALPA play pretty hard, eg see https://www.ft.com/content/1a98b3ce-e07a-11dc-b0d7-0000779fd2ac – don’t have a heart attack just yet, it’s from 2008:
      [Balpa, the UK pilots union, on Thursday said that BA pilots had voted 86 per cent in favour of strike action in a 90 per cent turnout. The union represents 3,000 of BA’s 3,244 pilots. Balpa said the strike would be the first by BA pilots since 1980 and would “effectively ground BA worldwide”.]

      So maybe something a bit more devastating than 1 day strikes.

  • Paul says:

    My Amex 50% bonus runs till July 22 instead of July 15 so could be specific to individuals

    • BJ says:

      50% bonus for what Paul? Seems like I’m missing out on something.

      OT; Clubcard Virgin autoconvert bonus…more posting today for anybody still missing them.

      • Shoestring says:

        & don’t forget to switch back your Tesco auto convert choice

        • BJ says:

          Already done, I’ve only collected 134 clubcard points so far this quarter, my lowest ever by a long long way!

          @Paul, I’ve since realized you mean the 10k bonus avios on 20k purchase.

          • Shoestring says:

            65 points on one a/c

            but fingers crossed for a +20% Virgin conversion

    • AJA says:

      My offer on the 50% bonus Avios for spending £335 to buy 20000 also has an expiry of 22 July according to the email reminder I got this morning.

  • Shoestring says:

    Point made previously: with Section 75 protection (UK credit cards, purchase over £100), you have the right to buy a replacement flight & charge it to your credit card co. Eg you bought 3 tickets out to your place in the sun: second half August, IB90K Avios redemption, >£100 paid on credit card (me!).

    Strike gets announced, flights cancelled & replacement date offered is no good. You can go into the market and buy some more appropriate replacement flights (credit card will refund later), even if they are now C£600 each, it’s peak August at short notice. Plus duty of care.

    Unfortunately S75 protection of this sort doesn’t apply to charge cards. Though I think S75 *will* apply to points redemptions where the £ amount is under £100, you paid at least £1 on a credit card, the equivalent £ fare was over £100, if you bought (say) 2x tickets @£55 each ie £110 in one transaction, you’d still be covered.

    • AJA says:

      Interesting point about the redemption fares. Fees for RFS redemptions for CE are £50 each so £100 for 2 pax but I notice that they get charged separately on my BAPP statement. Does that count as they are bought at the same time?

      • Shoestring says:

        immaterial as nobody will be arguing the cost of each CE flight is under £100, you only have to pay £1 towards the purchase on the credit card to be covered by S75, the rest could be paid in cash or points or whatever

        but FWIW I think 2x HBO cash flights, paid on 1 transaction by you >£100 but billed as 2 separate flights by the airline, each >£100, would still be covered. You might need to involve the Ombudsman!

        there is ombudsman precedent where the airline has argued each ticket was £100) therefore S75 not applicable – airline lost. But I don’t think any other airline adopts BA’s practice of billing multiple tickets (bought together) separately.

        • Harry T says:

          KLM bills tickets separately when bought on the same card in a single transaction.

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