It’s not clear what strategy British Airways is pursuing with the direct sale of Avios.
First, it launched Avios Subscription, allowing to you buy a regular monthly top up of points at an attractive price. The price was as low as 0.89p per point.
Six months, later, BA increased the price of Avios Subscription sharply. The lowest price is now 0.99p per point.
It also jacked up the price of one-off ‘buy Avios’ purchases. The cheapest price is now 1.77p outside of promotional periods.
The trend seems to be making Avios more expensive …. but now we have a brand new feature, Avios Balance Boost. You can currently buy Avios via Balance Boost for as little as 0.84p. What is going on?
What is Avios Balance Boost?
Avios Balance Boost is a simple concept but with a few bits of small print.
Put simply, you can buy a lump sum of Avios equivalent to 100%, 200% or 300% of the Avios you have earned in the last 30 days.
What does it cost to use Avios Balance Boost?
You can find Avios Balance Boost on the usual ‘buy Avios’ page here.
Here is the pricing:
Unless you are trying to buy over 300,000 Avios via Balance Boost, which is unlikely unless you are trying to boost a chunky credit card sign-up bonus, you will pay between 0.92p and 0.96p per Avios.
We generally say that you should be able to get over 1p for a premium cabin Avios redemption. My personal spreadsheet of redemptions over the last 10 years shows that I got 1.22p per Avios, although we could argue for hours over the value I ascribed to flights. I would argue it is conservative, and based on sums I would personally have been prepared to pay.
The 300,000 Avios cap is based on your Boost purchases over a calendar year.
How does Avios Balance Boost work?
Here is a screenshot from my account:
(Note that I have earned virtually no Avios from credit card spend in the last 30 days. This is because both myself and my wife have had to put our BA Premium Plus Amex cards in a drawer, having spend around £9,900 on each, because we don’t want to trigger our 2-4-1 vouchers until after half term in October. I wrote this article on why Amex and BA should reform how the 2-4-1 companion voucher works to get around this.)
I have earned 11,230 Avios in the last 30 days which qualify for boosting. I can boost this by 100%, 200% or 300%, buying a maximum of 33,690 Avios for £309.95 (ie 0.92p.)
What sort of transactions qualify for Avios Balance Boost?
As you can see above, you can boost:
- Avios earned from the BA shopping portal
- Avios earned from credit card spending
- Avios earned from flights
- Avios earned from ‘hotels and travel’ – my 88 Avios are from Uber
According to the terms and conditions, you CANNOT boost Avios obtained via:
“balance transfers from other airlines [presumably Qatar Airways Avios transfers], Nectar exchanges, Avios shared or gifted by other members and previously bought Avios.”
Other inbound transfers, from American Express Membership Rewards, HSBC Premier, Heathrow Rewards etc, should count for boosting.
Avios Subscription purchases are excluded, presumably treated as ‘bought Avios’. Apparently Avios compensation payments from British Airways are also excluded!
(Here’s a question to ponder. Is it worth transferring American Express Membership Rewards points into Avios in order to buy up to 3x the amount at a low price?)
You can only boost a transaction once.
SPECIAL OFFER: Get a 10% bonus on Balance Boost transactions in June and July
As a launch offer, you will receive a 10% bonus when you boost your Avios in June and July.
Going back to my original example, I can buy up to 33,690 Avios for £309.95.
Clicking through, I get a 10% bonus added:
I can actually buy 37,059 Avios for £309.95. This is 0.84p per Avios.
0.84p is pretty attractive.
With buying Avios and Avios Subscription now being far less attractive than they were, it is odd to see British Airways launch Avios Balance Boost at a price as low as 0.84p per Avios.
If you were thinking of topping up your account, this is currently the cheapest way to do it directly.
Of couse, an even cheaper option is to get The Platinum Card from American Express before Tuesday 13th June, spend £6,000 within six months to pick up a bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points and transfer it to 60,000 Avios. Amex will also throw in £200 to spend at Amex Travel! You could then cancel the card for a pro-rata fee refund. Full details are in this article. Having a British Airways American Express card does not disqualify you from this deal.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.