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British Airways has been running a pretty fantastic Avios sale for anyone who holds a British Airways co-branded credit card as it has been offering the biggest bonus we have ever seen the airline offer on the sale of its currency. This promotion ends on Monday 18 May so if you have been considering buying Avios to reduce the cost of an upcoming trip, you don’t have much time left to lock-in these savings.
Buy Avios With A 50% – 75% Bonus – Headline T&Cs
The standard bonus on offer in this sale is a 50% bonus but if you hold a British Airways co-branded credit card (Chase in the US and Amex in the UK) you should be offered a bonus of 75% (the highest we have ever seen) when you log in to the sale and use your co-branded card to purchase Avios.
These are the terms and conditions I see when I log into my account:
- This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An Eligible Participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club (‘BAEC’) Member.
- The offer is available from 00:01 (BST) Tuesday 05 May 2020 to 23:59 (BST) Monday 18 May 2020 only (the ‘Offer Period’).
- During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive 75% extra Avios (bonus Avios) when they purchase or gift Avios at ba.com using their British Airways
American Express Card.
- Avios can only be purchased at ba.com using the Purchase Avios Application Form found on offer page.
- Eligible Participants may Gift Avios (purchase for someone else) during the promotional period, provided that the recipient holds a British Airways Executive Club account with at least one Avios point in their account
- The Bonus Avios will not count towards your annual limit of 200,000 Avios.
- This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other Purchase Avios offer.
- Purchased Avios can be refunded within 14 days of purchase providing the Avios have not been used. Contact the British Airways Executive Club via BA.com or by telephone to cancel. Payments will be reimbursed no later than 14 days after the date of which the Executive Club was informed about the decision to cancel.
- The Executive Club Terms and Conditions and Conditions of Use apply to this offer and can be found at ba.com.
- British Airways reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of this offer.
Unlike a lot of points/miles sales that we see, this one is incredibly straightforward:
- Buy a minimum of 1,000 Avios and get a bonus of between 50% and 75%.
As always, the price you pay for Avios varies depending on where in the world your British Airways Executive Club account is so the price/Avios that Executive Club members will be asked to pay may vary significantly.
The Math – If You’re Based In The US
Based on what I’ve seen so far, the price per Avios is expensive for purchases of up to 10,000 Avios but for purchases of between 15,000 and 200,000 Avios the cost doesn’t change too dramatically. This is good news if you don’t really need to buy a lot of Avios and just need to top up an account.
If you don’t have a co-branded credit card this is what buying the maximum number of Avios on offer looks like…
…and this works out to a cost/Avios of ~1.84 cents
If you have a co-branded credit card, the total payable will remain the same ($5,523) but you’ll receive a 75% bonus instead of a 50% bonus and that will see the cost/Avios reduced to just ~1.58 cents.
That’s as low as I have ever seen British Airways sell Avios in the US.
The Math – If You’re Based In The UK
Just as in the US, the cost per Avios doesn’t really change all that much once you’re buying at least 15,000 Avios so don’t feel compelled to buy more than you actually need.
If you don’t hold one of the British Airways American Express cards your bonus is capped at 50% and this is what the math looks like for a purchase of 200,000 Avios:
300,000 Avios at £3,215 equates to a cost/Avios of ~1.07 pence
If you hold a BA Amex the math looks better:
350,000 Avios at £3,215 equates to a cost/Avios of ~0.92 pence
This is the cheapest rate at which I have ever seen British Airways sell Avios in one of these promotions.
Should You Buy Avios In This Sale?
Let’s be clear about one thing before I go any further: No one should be buying Avios speculatively (read this post if you want to know why). If you don’t have a solid plan for how you’re going to use any Avios you buy you should not be participating in this sale (no matter how tempting it may be).
Having said that, here are some thoughts about the sale.
Long Haul Flights
If you’re considering making an Economy class booking it’s highly unlikely that buying Avios in this sale and then using them for your trip will be cheaper than buying a cash fare outright – the surcharges BA attaches to all of its long-haul award bookings will almost certainly make this uneconomical.
If you’re considering making a Business Class or First Class booking the surcharges may still be an issue but there will certainly be times when using Avios purchased in this sale will be cheaper than paying with cash. This usually happens when you have to book close-in to the date of departure but I’ve seen enough examples of this being the case during the busier times of the year to know that Avios purchased at the low rates on offer in this sale can potentially save you money at any point in the year….just make sure you do the math and check that the savings are worthwhile.
Lastly, it’s important to point out that most people buy cash fares that are nonrefundable and expensive to change while Avios redemption bookings only attract a small cancellation fee if your plans suddenly change. If you need to make a flight booking but aren’t certain that the dates you have in mind are final, you’ll be far better off redeeming Avios than you will be if you buy a regular fare.
Short Haul Flights
One of the very best uses of Avios is for short-haul redemption on routes where cash fares can be high.
This is usually because the taxes and fees charged if you’re flying within the US, Asia or Australia can be negligible and, even within Europe, the taxes on awards are capped by BA at a reasonable rate (BA is also currently testing a new low-fee-high-avios redemption option on a variety of routes)
Examples of good value can be found on popular routes between the UK and various tourist hot-spots during the summer season where prices can get out of control (often 6 to 7 times the off-peak fare prices).
How To Decide If You Should Buy Avios In This Promotion
Do the math!
If you can see that the cost of a cash fare for your trip is greater than what a reward flight would cost (and that reward flights are actually available to book) then it may be a good idea to buy Avios in this sale and book your trip that way.
Don’t forget that a cash fare will earn you Avios and Tier Points (or any other oneworld currency you may wish to collect) while an award flight will not. These points/Avios/miles that you would be giving up have value so you should take that into account when working out the best course of action.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, remember that Avios bookings are a lot more flexible than most cash fares so if your plans aren’t set in stone and are subject to change, an Avios redemption is a far better option than most cash fares. It will also mean that you have a lot less cash at stake if your trip gets cancelled and you have to claw back what you paid from the airline.
If you have a co-branded British Airways credit card the terms and conditions of this offer state that you’ll have to use that card to purchase Avios if you’re to be given the 75% bonus.
If you don’t have a co-branded credit card, don’t forget that British Airways sells Avios through Points.com so there’s no scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories (e.g. the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card).
This makes this a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus (like the new offer on the World of Hyatt Card)…
…or a very good cash back card like the Citi Double Cash credit card.
The only way to know how good or bad this offer is for your particular circumstances is for you to decide on what you’d like to spend the Avios on, work out the cost of the award (including surcharges) and comparing it to the cost of a cash fare for the same trip.
The good news here is that if you hold a co-branded British Airways credit card there’s a better than average chance that this sale may be able to save you quite a bit of cash.