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One of the foundational elements of the points and miles hobby is that you should maximize every online purchase by going through a shopping portal. And sometimes there are shopping portal bonuses that are so good you might want to buy something just for the bonus points. Today, we’re going to dig into one of these opportunities.

Now through Jan. 31, 2019, you can earn up to 25,200 British Airways Avios for subscribing to The Economist through British Airways’ Executive Club.

The same offer is also available through Iberia Plus Avios at the same rates and bonuses. Remember that you can transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia at a 1:1 rate as long as both accounts have been open for at least 30 days.

At current TPG valuations, Avios are valued at 1.5 cents each — although you can certainly redeem them for a lot more… or a lot less. But, sticking with the TPG valuations, those 25,200 Avios are worth $378. That’s some serious value from a magazine subscription. But, it’s not going to be cheap to get it.

In order to get the full 25,200 Avios, you need to subscribe to both the print and digital version of The Economist for three years at a price of $455. For the 153 issues, that breaks down to a cost of $2.97 per issue — which is a solid discount compared to the stated newsstand price of $7.99 per issue.

Doing the Math on the Deal: While these types of offers usually seem to reward longer-term commitments, that’s not the case for this offer. Indeed, the cheapest per-Avios option is a one-year print and digital subscription. You’ll pay $190 for the one-year subscription and earn 13,200 Avios. At TPG valuations, that’s $198 worth of points at a $190 price.

In fact, the longer you subscribe the higher the per-Avios price goes:

Type of Subscription Subscription Total Cost Avios Earned Value of Avios Cost Per Avios
Print/Digital Only 1 year $152 10,200 $153 1.49
Print/Digital Only 2 years $270 16,200 $243 1.67
Print/Digital Only 3 years $365 22,200 $333 1.64
Print & Digital 1 year $190 13,200 $198 1.44
Print & Digital 2 years $335 19,200 $288 1.74
Print & Digital 3 years $455 25,200 $378 1.81

You should use the chart above if you value The Economist subscription itself as worthless. If you do, there’s still an argument for signing up for a one-year subscription to get Avios for as cheap as 1.44 cents each. That’s a great price if you know how to utilize Avios for solid value.

However, if you value the subscription at just $1 per issue, the cost per Avios drops and the subscription length math evens up:

Type Subscription Total Cost Value of Subscription Net Cost for Avios Avios Earned Cost Per Avios
Print/Digital Only 1 year $152 -$51 $101 10,200 0.99
Print/Digital Only 2 years $270 -$102 $168 16,200 1.04
Print/Digital Only 3 years $365 -$153 $212 22,200 0.95
Print & Digital 1 year $190 -$51 $139 13,200 1.05
Print & Digital 2 years $335 -$102 $233 19,200 1.21
Print & Digital 3 years $455 -$153 $302 25,200 1.20

And if you value The Economist subscription at $2 per issue, you’re going to want to subscribe for even longer:

Type Subscription Total Cost Value of Subscription Net Cost for Avios Avios Earned Cost Per Avios
Print/Digital Only 1 year $152 -$102 $50 10,200 0.49
Print/Digital Only 2 years $270 -$204 $66 16,200 0.41
Print/Digital Only 3 years $365 -$306 $59 22,200 0.27
Print & Digital 1 year $190 -$102 $88 13,200 0.67
Print & Digital 2 years $335 -$204 $131 19,200 0.68
Print & Digital 3 years $455 -$306 $149 25,200 0.59

Terms & Restrictions: In order to get the Avios, there are some important terms and conditions to keep in mind. First, perhaps obviously, you’ll have to be a member of British Airways’ Executive Club. The Avios will be awarded to your account “within 28 days,” so don’t plan on being able to use them immediately. And, BA and The Economist were smart enough to add this provision: “once Avois have been awarded to your account, you will not be refunded for any unused portion of your subscription upon cancellation.”

There’s some country-specific exceptions to keep in mind if you’re not US or UK-based. Most notably, members in Canada won’t be able to subscribe for just one year. Instead, they “will only be available on 2 and 3 year Print OR Digital and Print AND Digital subscription.” China and India residents also have restrictions.

Signing Up for the Deal: Between British Airways and Iberia, Avios is my second most utilized airline mileage program behind American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The prospect of getting 13,200 Avios at a cost of $190 — with The Economist subscription to boot — is too tempting for me to pass up. So, I opted for the one-year Print + Digital subscription to get the lowest per Avios price:

I used my Iberia Visa Signature Card for the $190 cost as I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary with the card and still need to spend about $500 to get a bonus 25,000 Avios as part of the sign-up offer. Plus, I’d get bonus Avios in the unlikely chance that British Airways processed the payment. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. So, you’ll want to use a solid everyday spending card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.

The sign-up process was straight forward. The only part that stuck out to me was the disclosure after purchase that “your Avios will be credited to your account in 4 – 8 weeks.” This doesn’t jive with the “within 28 days” included in the terms & conditions.

Update 2/24/19: The 13,200 Avios posted to my account in two separate transactions — 8,800 Avios and 4,400 Avios — on Feb. 17, 2019. That means it posted right around the 28-day mark.

Other Options for Generating Avios: While 1.44 cents per Avios is a pretty good rate, there are other options for scoring Avios cheaper. You can earn up to 120,000 Avios from the British Airways Visa Signature Card. Or, you can top off your British Airways or Iberia accounts as needed by transferring points 1:1 from American Express Membership Rewards (instant transfer) or Chase Ultimate Rewards (instant transfer). And, if you want an even cheaper purchase rate, you can currently score Iberia Avios for as little as 1.34 cents each through this offer.

Other Points-Earning Options for The Economist: If the $152 minimum price for this Avios offer is a bit too pricey for you, but you still want to generate miles from subscribing to The Economist, you’ve got other options. Per CashbackMonitor — our go-to for travel portal comparison — other current offers include:

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Featured image by Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

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