Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Groupon is selling Avios points from a mileage broker!

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

For the first time, Groupon UK is selling Avios points.  We have seen this on Groupon Spain and Groupon Ireland before, but not here.

Full details of the offer are here.

The prices are:

  • 10,000 Avios for £129
  • 20,000 Avios for £249
  • 30,000 Avios for £359
  • 40,000 Avios for £479
  • 50,000 Avios for £569

In all cases, these prices are lower than you will pay via the current ba.com ‘buy Avios’ deal we covered the other day.

Groupon airport lounge deal

So far, so good.  Except ….. the Avios are NOT being sold by British Airways.  They are being sold by a US group called buyairlinemiles.com.  If you visit their website, it is quite clear that they are basically a mileage broker, someone who finds ways of trading miles against the rules of the programmes.  The T&C’s say:

“We, at buyairlinemiles.com, are in no way affiliated with any of the respective, selected airlines.”

This looks very dubious to me and I am pretty sure that British Airways knows nothing about it.  For a start, Groupon calls them ‘Avios miles’ – BA / Avios Group is very specific that they must be called just ‘Avios’ (not ‘Avios points’ and certainly not ‘Avios miles’) at all times, in all communications.

Now …. you may well get your points if you buy.  If you use a credit card, you are protected by Section 75 chargeback coverage and indeed Groupon’s own guarantee.  I would be wary, however.

(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.)

Comments (140)

  • Peter K says:

    Those prices for Avios in Groupon are not good enough for any hassle that might come afterwards IMO.

  • Memesweeper says:

    A big thank you to Rob, Rhys, Anika and the HfP commenters. I’m on the third day of my mini break in Marseille IC and it’s wonderful. Special thanks to whoever wrote in a previous comment a recommendation for this hotel. Free nights courtesy of voucher schemes I’d never had heard of but for this blog. Outbound was a paid flight (timing and convenience made me dodge the Avios option) returning on the Euro* with an excellent value First redemption — which nicely cleaned out my Amex MR account..

    Safe and happy travels all. 🙂

    • Memesweeper says:

      oh, before anyone asks, I’m spire elite got a modest upgrade and welcome gift. Nothing exciting, but nothing to be upset about either. Frankly if they’d forgotten my name and gave me the worst room in this hotel I’d be happy, it’s
      delightful.

    • Genghis says:

      Have you been to Chez Michel yet? It’s my usual for a top bouillabaisse. I also recommend the octopus at L’Inattendu (prices v reasonable).

      • Memesweeper says:

        Thanks! Chez Michel is on the shortlist but we’ve not got there yet.

        • Bob says:

          Think also to go at Monsieur Passédat aka “Le petit Nice”.

          If you want a great contemporary food.
          It is a little bit expensive however.

          • Memesweeper says:

            Thanks Bob – but we went for the restaurant atop the Mucem: the fixed price menu was great. Can’t wait to go back.

  • ScienceTeacher says:

    OT
    Some pages seem to load as a desktop version, and, divert to an advert page.
    Might be an issue with my phone but it’s never happened before!

    • Alex M says:

      Same here,
      Get forwarded to some dodgy websites when click at article link.
      Rob, pls fix!

      • Nick G says:

        Same here!

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I had that yesterday, diverted me to page to buy malware program.

        • Rob says:

          This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

          • Andrew says:

            Not necessarily aimed at Rob or hfp (you’ve done the right thing in temporarily pulling mobile ads) but can you imagine the uproar if a newspaper printed inappropriate adverts? They rightly wouldn’t be excused simply by saying “it wasn’t us, blame the ad agency, we don’t bother to check what they put in our newspaper” yet somehow this is seen as acceptable in the online world.

        • Chas says:

          I had that yesterday and today when using safari to read the articles. Have switched to looking at them on FB instead which wasn’t causing a problem until I tried to respond to this comment and then had a similar “congratulations, you’re a winner” message pop up.

        • Lady London says:

          I’m guessing Google would have to be found vicariously liable for any damages and that’s a long way from HfP right now.

          I’m getting some strange fraudulent ads and getting the computer version of the site load quite often recently when its not ticked on my mobile.

    • Jon says:

      I had that also this morning. Two things that stopped it happening for me – switched off my VPN or, with the VPN back on, enable its ‘cybersec’ (ad / malware blocking) option. Which made me wonder whether the problem isn’t so much this site as something at the VPN end (Nord, in case you’re using the same)…

      • Rob says:

        This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

        • Jon says:

          Makes sense. Google really needs to get better at vetting its ads, or controlling what people can do with them. Meanwhile, adblockers for everyone 😉

    • Liam J says:

      Same here. Three times.

    • PaulC says:

      Same here, Ive had to get out of bed to read my daily HfP update, haha

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I keep getting pop-ups taking me away from the site telling me I have won XYZ. Happens on my Android phone only on HfP. Started last night.

    • Frankie says:

      I had a virus page open saying ‘congratulations you’ve won an iPhone’ Kept happening today and yesterday.

      • Shoestring says:

        I got one saying ‘Congratulations! you’ve won £500 in the Daily Mail Share Competition!’

      • Rob says:

        This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

    • Rob says:

      This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

  • GeoffGeoff says:

    How about an article on mileage brokers, how their business model even works, and the pros and cons of dealing with them?

    • Peter says:

      Sounds good GeoffGeoff. Go for it! Send it in to Rob and I’m sure he’ll consider publishing it.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Lots of HfP articles start with “I had an email from a reader asking….”.

        I suggest you head back to bed and try getting out the other side.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Well the obvious con is the possibility off ilegal/illicit Avios entering their supply chain and the resulting risk of being caught up in it.

      Avios are not regulated. If you want to spend your life looking over your shoulder and worrying about your account entering a ‘review’ you have no rights in then dealing with a broker is for you.

      • Will says:

        Points based loyalty schemes may not be specifically regulated and may specify minimal or zero cash values but it doesn’t place the scheme above the law.

        It wouldn’t be a certainty but if you had points frozen or deleted on spurious grounds and could demonstrate a flight was available that you would have used those points for then I think you’d have a reasonable legal case.

        I’m not advocating brokering miles, but if someone innocently bought them off groupon I think they should reasonably expect them to be legitimate and although BA May choose to remove them from their account freezing other miles would be excessive.

        • Rob says:

          I have a friend who lost £4k-worth of Avios he bought off a broker.

          If you understood how these miles get deposited into your account, you would understand why it is wrong. In most cases, someone in the US is adding you as a user to their Amex card in order to be able to do transfers into your BAEC account. This person is paid by the broker, but only a fraction of what you have paid them.

          I do know of cases where BA has reopened accounts after the user made a full confession of, basically, stupidity.

          • Mikeact says:

            Rob,

            I do think your last sentence is a bit strong re. Stupidly.

            I know colleague’s (US) who did it regularly, with no problems whatsoever……not multi millions, but 10, 25, 50k ‘points/miles’ with a whole variety of Airlines.

            That’s not to say it’s right or wrong of course, but this is not a new option..must be 20/30 years old.

            Those that get pulled up seem to be because the Award recipient details are initially suspect, until proved, maybe, otherwise.

          • Rob says:

            I think you misread what I wrote. If you go to BA and say ‘I was stupid, I thought this was legit’ they will reinstate you, often. If you go to BA and say ‘I knew this was against the rules, I did it anyway, reinstate my miles or else’ then they won’t.

          • Mikeact says:

            Fair ‘doos’ !

            I get the feeling that these mileage brokers are beginning to spread their wings and are starting to tap into the UK market….in fact, a friend ‘down under’ messaged me about this very subject as he was looking for a top up on KrisFlyer….what could I say , apart from ‘Buyer Beware.’

            It might be worth considering running an article on this whole subject, even if it may be a questionable, as for many may not be aware of the potential pitfalls and at first glance may think it an easy way to get a dream trip.

            Just a thought, as I would not like any of your readers to come unstuck without fair warning !

          • GeoffGeoff says:

            Very interesting thank you Rob, and I think HFP readers would appreciate a few paragraphs of your knowledge on mileage brokers as an article sometime. Just a suggestion, and no I am not qualified to write one (not sure if the post from someone else above was serious or sarky, but giving it benefit of the doubt).

          • Rob says:

            I doubt I will remain on the Avios or Virgin Christmas card list if I do.

          • Mikeact says:

            Maybe, but as a serious and perhaps a growing topic in the UK, it cannot and should not be ignored, particularly if it is presented as factual with no bias one way or the other.

            I fail to see how BA and/or Virgin, or any other Airline come to that , could possibly be that critical of fair reporting in respect of potential abuse of their Loyalty schemes. As I said earlier, all the airlines must be aware of Brokers and all HFP would be doing is highlighting an abuse which most would be well advised to avoid.

            Ultimately, Airlines only have to make if clear, once and for all, that under their terms and Conditions any form of bartering is forbidden.. full stop.

          • Rob says:

            ‘Fair’ would be – this is against the rules and your account is likely to be closed, possibly permanently, if you are found out, but realistically it is odds on you won’t be found out so if you don’t care that you’re breaking the scheme rules then go ahead and if you’re totally ripped off and get nothing just claim Section 75.

            Not sure that would go down too well.

          • Lady London says:

            Hum… but if there was an article on this very very fringey thing of mileage brokers can you imagine all the other things some people might think we need articles speciifically telling us what not to do… Better not to start.

            On balance I think I’ll look at the info and make my own decision, thanks 🙂

  • Mark says:

    Same here.

    Rob I think your wordpress has been hacked. If your not running wordfence I suggest you do.

    • BJ says:

      Working fine for me, no issues at all. Using android so I’m guess ing this is just the latest apple issue.

      • sayling says:

        Two of the three email links to articles this morning tried to send me to a third party site, using Android Chrome.

        • Rob says:

          This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

    • reddot says:

      Another data point – Always read this site on the iPad. No VPN, no issues.

    • Peter K says:

      I’m using Bitdefender, no VPN, on Android with no issues.

      • Rob says:

        This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

    • Rob says:

      This is being served by Google Adsense, nothing we can do except pull mobile ads (which I’ve done). It is not on HFP – the ads you see never pass through our server.

      • Dan says:

        Rob, your slightly odd stock answers are starting to make me worry that your wordpress actually has been hacked!

        • David says:

          The answers are being given individually. So I wouldn’t call them stock answers.

          And they are technically sound.

        • ankomonkey says:

          I thought Rob had outsourced replying to comments to the company BA use to send a templated response to everyone regardless of the issue.

  • Nick says:

    Can I book direct with Hilton for a room for wife and kids. I will not be present. Will they get all my gold status benefits? Free breakfast etc.

    • Yuff says:

      Just name your wife in the reservation, I do it all the time for family in the UK.

    • BJ says:

      If you call them they will book it in your wife’s name using your points if this is a redemption. I’ve done this twice for my sister and status benefits were honoured. However, I am not sure if that is policy or just kindness of hotel in question.

  • Nick says:

    I have booked a couple rooms direct with Hilton in their app using the honours sale (non refundable rates)

    I used my Amex plat details. No charges or pending charges yet on my account.

    When I check in, can I ask hotel to rather charge another card instead (ie one of my fx free cards)

    • BJ says:

      Yes, provided the card has not been charged before your stay which it probably will be. If this is really important to you just call the hotel you are staying now and ask them to charge another card.

  • Hugh says:

    OT: I am going to cancel 2 First Class Reward Flight Tickets to Sydney for 2nd April 2020 this afternoon. I purchased them speculatively several months ago when I spotted First Class Availability. I believe there is a slight chance they might go back into the Reward Flight Availability and as First Class Tickets to Sydney are rare thought I would let people on here know. I am planning to cancel them about 5pm but happy to coordinate the timing if anyone is interested, just post a comment below. Obviously they might not go back into the Reward Flight pool!

    • Mikeact says:

      Thanks, I’ll keep a close eye out….what is the return date ?

    • Polly says:

      Yes, what is the return date please ?

    • ChrisC says:

      More likely they don’t get re-released immediately if at all.

      It’s even possible that they only release the SIN-SYD sector and not the LHR-SYD sector or even vice versa.

      • Ronster says:

        Good morning everyone.

        What a great idea to announce a cancellation plan, so that anyone on HfP, might have the opportunity to reserve them. This might be a good idea as an add on for this site. Don’t know how it would work though.

        I cancelled my 2 x LHR-NRT on a BA Dreamliner and “Reward Flight Finder” notified me within 5 minutes that this had become available again.So the chances are they will show up. Problem with this search engine is that it only does BA flights. For other Oneworld availability I rely on either American Airlines or Qantas points redemption search pages.

        Swapped them for for return 2 X F JAL LHR-HND for the Olympics.

        For each return they were, 247500 Avios + £419.52

        As opposed to paying a cash price of £8,700 each!

        Thanks again Rob.

        Ronster

        • Polly says:

          Good evening Ronster, or early morning!
          When l was cancelling pur KUL F 241, l mentioned it on here, and one of the hfp got them within 5 mins. Couple of years ago. Agree it’s great if we can get them back in the system for a hfp person to snap up.
          Havent heard from you in a while..

      • Hugh says:

        To be honest I am not expecting them to get re released but you never know!

        • Hugh says:

          Well I cancelled the flights and as I half suspected sadly it looks like they did not drop back into the availability pool, for either Sydney or Singapore!

          • Ronster says:

            Hello Hugh

            Just checked. I’ve seen only one appear, one way F LHR-SIN-SYD, departing 19th April 2020.

            Ronster