British Airways increases Avios Subscription prices – act now for cheaper rates
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Last October, Avios introduced an interesting new product in the form of Avios subscriptions.
By signing up to Avios Subscription, you can receive regular increments of Avios into your Executive Club account on a monthly basis. Rolling monthly packages are available, as are (cheaper) annual pre-paid plans.
The value proposition was very strong – as low as 0.89p when you signed up to an annual commitment. To put this in context, we never saw Avios sold for as little as this even during pandemic-era promotions.
The pricing is now increasing, with Avios warning customers that subscription prices are changing on 1st May.
The cost of one-off non-subscription Avios purchases are also changing.
ba.com even has a handy countdown to show you how much time is left under the existing, cheaper pricing:
How does Avios Subscription work?
There are four different plans to pick from, giving you a range of Avios earning opportunities.
You can select from a monthly payment or an annual payment. However, even if you select the annual, up-front payment, your Avios boost will still be posted to your account monthly. You have a choice of four annual plans:
- Voyager: 20,000 Avios (1,667 Avios per month)
- Traveller: 50,000 Avios (4,167 Avios per month)
- Explorer: 100,000 Avios (8,334 Avios per month)
- Adventurer: 200,000 Avios (16,667 Avios per month)
No, the naming doesn’t make much sense to me either, given that ‘Voyager’ sounds more intense than ‘Traveller’!
The rolling monthly subscriptions are available in the same increments, but you are charged a higher monthly fee. The annual plans are discounted to the extent that you effectively get two months free.
You can buy a maximum of 200,000 Avios with Avios Subscription.
How are prices changing from 1st May?
Until now, the Avios subscription offering has been very good value. It allowed you to buy Avios at a rate of 0.89p per point via the annual Adventurer offer – better than the 0.92p per point rate offered during the hugely popular 75% bonus promotion back in 2020.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end. Whilst the offer isn’t completely dead, it is now more marginal and you are taking a bigger gamble by tying your cash up in points.
In the worst case, prices are increasing by 40%. At best, you are looking at an 11% increase.
|From 1 May||Old pricing||% Increase||Price per Avios|
Prices for the smaller subscriptions are increasing disproportionately, whilst the Adventurer packages are increasing by ‘just’ 11%.
Your fall back position has also got worse
When Avios Subscription launched, you would still get 0.8p per Avios if you converted them to Nectar points.
This gave you a valuable backstop. If you committed to Avios Subscription at 0.89p, your worse case scenario was cashing out to Nectar at 0.8p. Your downside was limited and your upside was decent.
Since the Nectar devaluation, 1 Avios is now only worth 0.66p of Nectar points. The Avios Subscription dynamic is now a lot of different. If you decide to walk away from Avios your ‘cashing out’ route via Nectar will now see you taking a sharp loss on the 0.99p subscription price, whilst your upside is reduced by the increased cost per point.
Standard ‘buy Avios’ prices are also increasing
It’s not just subscription costs that are being increased.
One-off ‘Buy Avios’ purchases will also change on 1st May with an average increase of 10%:
|From 1 May||Old pricing||% Increase||Price per Avios|
Buying Avios outside of bonus promotions has rarely (if ever) offered good value, so you need to take the above values with a pinch of salt.
Broadly speaking, subscription prices are increasing and now more closely match the cost of one-off purchases reducing the value of subscribing to an annual plan.
There is still value to be had, however. At the top end, you are paying £1,989 for 200,000 Avios under an annual Adventurer subscription vs £3,539 for a one-off purchase. You are looking at 0.99p versus 1.76p.
It’s good news if you’re heading to court though ….
Many of our readers have taken British Airways to CEDR arbitration or Money Claim Online over Avios related issues. This usually involves failure to pay out downgrade compensation on Avios bookings.
Because neither CEDR or Money Claim Online can award anything except cash, you are always awarded the cash equivalent of the Avios you are claiming.
This used to be based on 1.6p (BA’s headine sale price) but from 1st May you will be able to ask for 1.76p per Avios.
What is an Avios worth?
Ah, the eternal Head for Points question. For a detailed description of what an Avios is worth, you can read Rob’s breakdown here.
As a quick summary, Rob keeps a spreadsheet of all the Avios he has redeemed for the last nine years, and he has got 1.2p of value per Avios based on his valuation of the flights he took. Rob’s valuation is arguably low as he bases it on how cheaply he thinks he could have got the same trip if he’d booked in a sale or taken an indirect flight on a different airline, and adds in no value for the flexibility offered by Avios tickets.
If you can buy Avios at a rate of 0.99p, you should still be getting value overall, and Rob’s valuations are always on the conservative side. If you are strategic in your redemptions you should come out on top if you buy Avios at 0.99p.
Those pesky terms and conditions
If you commit to an annual payment plan, you commit to the whole year – you cannot cancel your subscription during the year and get a pro-rated refund
If you sign up to the monthly payment plan, you are committed to at least three months.
After a year, the subscription will auto-renew so you will need to proactively cancel the subscription if you don’t want to continue.
You can buy a maximum of 200,000 Avios in any one calendar year via Avios Subscription. This is in addition to the 200,000 Avios allowance through ‘Buy Avios’.
Full terms and conditions can be found here.
In conclusion ….
The new Avios Subscription plans are no longer the slam dunk they used to be, but you may still find some value in them as a regular way of topping up your balance.
The good news is that you still have a few days to lock in subscriptions at the old pricing. If you subscribe before 1st May, your subscription will stay the same price until the end of your subscription period, letting you lock in for up to a year.
You can sign up to Avios Subscription or find out more here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2023)
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:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.