Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How much does it cost to buy Avios points?

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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?

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 or convert them to Nectar points.

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 from within Executive Club.  The cost depends on the amount you purchase. At standard rates, the price is 2.5p when buying 2,000, 2p when buying 5,000 and 1.75p when buying 200,000 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

It’s important to know that British Airways runs special offers every couple of months where you can get a bonus of up to 50% when buying Avios. You should avoid paying full price unless it is absolutely necessary. By ‘necessary’ I mean that you have found a reward seat which you want to book immediately before it is taken by someone else.

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 also worth taking a look at two new products launched in the last couple of years: Avios Balance Boost (click here for our article) and Avios Subscription (click here for our article). Both are substantially cheaper than buying Avios directly.

It is far easier, and far cheaper, to earn some Avios via credit card sign-up bonusesThis 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 2.5 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news stories and click here to join the mailing list for our weekly or daily email newsletters.)


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 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 card

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 £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

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