British Airways launched ‘Avios Subscription’ in October 2022. It is an intriguing way of buying Avios, albeit less attractive since a recent price hike. As we haven’t mentioned it for a while I thought it was worth running over again today.
It is one of two new ways of buying Avios introduced in the last 18 months. The other was Avios Balance Boost, which we reviewed yesterday, which allows you to do a one-off Avios purchase based on your earning from the last 30 days.
Oddly, at the same as launching Avios Subscription and Avios Balance Boost, British Airways jacked up the price of one-off ‘buy Avios’ purchases. The cheapest price is now 1.76p outside of promotional periods. It’s not quite clear what is going on …..
How does Avios Subscription work?
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.
It started off as a very good value proposition, letting you pay as little as 0.89p per Avios. Following a price rise in May 2023, the minimum price rose to 0.99p.
There are four plans to choose from
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 option, your Avios 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)
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 per year with Avios Subscription.
What do you pay per point with Avios Subscription?
Here is the current Avios Subscription pricing:
|Avios per month
|Price per month
|Price per Avios
Remember that a ‘Yearly’ plan locks you in for 12 months, whilst a ‘Monthly’ plan can be cancelled at any time after the first three months.
How does this compare with standard ‘buy Avios’ prices?
This is what you currently pay to buy Avios – in the absence of any promotional offers – from British Airways. If these prices seem higher than usual it is because they were increased during 2023:
|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.
Subscriptions are clearly better value than a one-off purchase, albeit with the snag that you only get your Avios in monthly chunks. 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.
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. If the cost of a subscription goes up, you will NOT pay more when you renew, based on what happened to those in the first October 2022 wave who were recently renewed.
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’.
In conclusion ….
Avios Subscription plans are no longer the slam dunk they were before the 2023 price increase but you may still find some value in them as a regular way of topping up your balance.
You should also check out Avios Balance Boost (see our article here) before making any decision.
PS. Of couse, an even cheaper option is to get The Platinum Card from American Express before 9th January, spend £10,000 within six months to pick up a bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points and transfer it to 75,000 Avios. Full details are in this article. Having a British Airways American Express card does not disqualify you from this deal.