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Purchase British Airways Avios With Up To 30% Bonus – Worth It?

by on June 16, 2012 · 13 comments

in British Airways

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British Airways is running a 30% “bonus” on purchased British Airways Avios from now until August 2. The more Avios you buy, the higher the bonus you get, unfortunately it still doesn’t make this a good deal.

Here’s the breakdown of the number of Avios you purchase versus the bonus you get:

-1,000-8,000: 5% bonus for a total of between 1,050 and 8,400 Avios
-9,000-16.000: 10% bonus for a total of between 9,900-17,600 Avios
-17,000-23,000: 20% bonus for a total of between 20,400-27,600 Avios
-24,000: 30% bonus for a total of 31,200 Avios

The bonus is hard-coded into the britishairways.com “Purchase Avios” page, so you don’t have to enter a special code or anything.

Prices for Avios range from 5.3 cents apiece if you purchase just 1,000 of them ($53 total) to 2.85 cents apiece if you purchase the annual maximum of 24,000 ($685 total). In terms of this promotion, Avios range from 5.05 cents apiece to 2.2 cents apiece, so you are getting a discount on the higher end.

Avios can only be purchased online and in multiples of 1,000. Purchased Avios are non-refundable, so no changing your mind later. They usually appear in your account immediately, but can take up to five working days.

From now until August 2, the bonuses are coded into the Avios purchase page on britishairways.com.

 

Worth It?
So the real question is, as always, is it worth it? As usual, I’d say that if you have a specific award in mind that you need these for, and you do the math so that you’re not spending a ridiculous amount of money on the Avios to get you to the award threshold, then you might as well get a discount on your miles. That said, even really great redemptions would have trouble pulling over 5 cents of value out of Avios points, so buying just 1,000 points and getting a 5% bonus seems useless. Especially since you can just purchase Amex points for 2.5 cents apiece and transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to British Airways Avios, so you don’t have to worry about getting a transfer bonus to make purchasing points worth it. Or, I’d even rather get the BA Visa and spend $1,000 of regular expenses I’d be paying anyway on it, which would score me a 25% bonus for a total of 1,250 Avios. If timing is an issue, though, you could consider it.

I think one instance where this might be worth it (and it’s still a stretch) would be if you were flying premium economy on British Airways from the East Coast to London and you wanted to upgrade using Avios. Upgrading one cabin class each way takes half the amount of base Avios points you need for an economy redemption on that route, so from New York to London that number would be 10,000 Avios. For roundtrip, you’d need a total of 20,000 Avios to upgrade from premium economy to business class.

With this promo, you could purchase 17,000 Avios for $493 and get a 30% bonus of 3,400 Avios for a total of 20,400 Avios, putting you just over the edge for the upgrade points necessary.

A British Airways premium economy ticket from JFK-LHR is running around $1,700 this September.

That’s no small amount of money, but when you think about it. Your premium economy ticket would you around $1,700 (I booked a sample itinerary in September). A comparable ticket in business class on the same days would cost around $4,300. Instead, you could use your 20,000 Avios (which cost you $493), and probably an additional $300 in taxes for the more premium ticket. Taking all those costs into account, you’d be getting about $1,800 in value out of your 20,000 Avios, or about 9 cents each. Not bad. But you’ve still put down a lot of cash to get there.

A business class ticket on the same route the same dates is over $4,300, so upgrading using Avios is real value proposition.

Obviously, this redemption requires a fair outlay of money up front, so I’d only recommend it if you were going to spend the money on premium economy and upgrading anyway but were short the Avios points necessary. Otherwise, I think it’s better in a pinch to buy Amex points and transfer them to Avios, or to get the BA Visa and earn your points with your everyday purchases since you get 2.5 Avios per $1 you spend on British Airways, and 1.25 Avios per $1 on other purchases anyway.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • pointsintheair

    I think it is a hideous offer. Of all the major miles programs that are out there Avios is the last I would consider purchasing miles from. For one you can acquire Avios points fairly easily via Amex MR points and also the Chase BA card. I value BA points at about 1.70 cents per point. So 24,000 points in my estimate are worth about $408. With their bonus offer 24K points would cost $575. That’s a bad deal imo. I agree in what you said that it could be worth it to top off an award by purchasing a couple of thousand miles, but again if you are an Amex cardholder it shouldn’t be a problem to do this for free.
    I’d much rather go for the 100 % US Air bonus. That’s more like a break even bonus to me if you can’t get the miles for free

  • lwildernorva

    Unless there’s an immediate need for Avios, rather than buying from BA with a 30% bonus, I’d buy BMI Diamond Club miles at a 20% bonus and transfer 1:1 to BA when BA starts allowing BMI-BA transfers beginning around 7/3. DC miles are cheaper to begin with, and with this promotion, good through 6/30, you can get 24K DC miles, which can become 24K Avios, for approximately $415 (255 GB pounds).

    Although I agree that purchasing miles is a generally poor idea, if you were really desperate for miles, being a member of DC and BA would allow you to circumvent the annual purchase cap of 24K Avios since you could buy 20K (with a 4K bonus in DC–the bonus does count against the annual cap) and 24K in BA (with a bonus of 7200–which does not count against BA’s cap) to get a total of 51.2K, enough for a RT business class flight (or two economy tickets) on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin for a total expenditure of $1100 plus about $100 in taxes and fees. Not the steal of the 21st century, but a decent deal.

  • lwildernorva

    By the way, just checked the Aer Lingus site–they’re having a sale on business class seats–at $2272 from Boston to Dublin while an economy booking is running $1200 for the middle of July (apparently no current sale for Y).

  • Nic

    Of course it is not worth it. It is not worth even writing about it.
    You are hurting yourself with all this worthless blogging. Please take a trip and do some report like the one from your trip to Asia. I used to read your blog every day, now I feel like I can do it weekly.

  • Gavin

    Nic, I happen to agree with you

  • pcg

    Nevermind the naysayers, TPG, I appreciate you talking about deals like this. For my family, it *is* worth is: my brother-in-law, who didn’t think he could join us on our family trip to Kona, can save about $200 on his ticket by buying Avios and booking AA from LAX with them. ($603 gets you 25K points and the same non-stop itinerary as the rest of us; $780 buys that same ticket.) He’s not a FF traveler and doesn’t care about earning miles on the paid flight—all he wants is a cheap ticket this time. Short-sighted? Maybe, but not everyone likes to collect miles like freaking McDonalds Monopoly game pieces.

    So while it’s not the sexiest deal, and most hardened FF travelers might not care about it, there are those of us in just the right situation that do. Thanks for considering us, too, when you blog about “bad” deals like this!

  • Julie

    I happen to agree with you, pcg.
    Readers of miles and point blogs are as diverse as the bloggers themselves – compare TPG and Mommypoints, for example. Everyone’s situation differs, and the information in each post will be relevant to someone. If not you, move on.

    I personally find more value in these sorts of posts than the trip report sort, but you don’t find me in the comments of trip reports lamenting on how useless they are, and how the blogger is ‘hurting’ himself by writing them.

  • Nic

    25K only get you one way. So you will need $1200 for the 50K

  • Nic

    You didn’t understand my point. Move on.

  • pcg

    That’s patently untrue, Nic. I’d banked 75K UR points that I converted into Avios (just last Thursday) to purchase 3 rt tickets between LAX and KOA on AA. Check it out, I think you’ll see that it’s just 25K for a round-trip ticket LAX to anywhere in HI, making it one of the best deals out there for us little people.

  • Nic

    Sorry, I misread where you were going. You are right is 25K + 21.80. $780 is a steep price to KOA.

  • Kris

    my kids Avios Paoints are expiring next ..Any ideas to keep them alive? Thanks..

  • Jayson

    Sale is back on at BA.com, but it’s only a 25% bonus this go around. Promo rate goes through late March I believe.

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