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.
That said, you should never – ever – use Avios for a redemption which gets you less than 0.8p of value. Why? Because you can get 0.8p per Avios in pseudo-cash by transferring your Avios into Nectar points and then spending those Nectar points in a Sainsbury’s supermarket or at Argos. The conversion rate is 1 Avios = 1.6 Nectar points, and 1 Nectar point = 0.5p of spending value.
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.
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
There are some other options that enable you to buy Avios in an indirect and potentially cheaper way. This page of HfP lists some of the current offers.
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 20,000 Avios points, you can simply take out an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card (free in the first year) which comes with 20,000 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 such as 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 2.0 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.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.