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There’s a new British Airways Avios sale out today and in it the airline is offering a 50% bonus for purchases made by 24 February 2019. As well as offering a similar bonus to the one we saw in December BA has also kept in place the increased 200,000 annual limit for Avios purchases that was introduced last year.
As always, the price you pay for Avios varies depending on where in the world your British Airways Executive Club account is – I’ll be addressing the cost for US-based and UK-based members.
Buy Avios With A 50% Bonus – Headline T&Cs
- 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.
- Between 00:01 hr BST Monday 1 February and 23:59 hr BST Sunday 24 February 2019 (the ‘Promotional Period’) Eligible Participants will receive a 50% Avios bonus when they purchase or gift Avios at ba.com.
- Avios points can only be purchased on BA.com using the Purchase Avios points Application Form found on the 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.
- Eligible Participants may not exceed their annual 200,000 Avios limit.
- Bonus Avios do not count towards your annual limit.
- 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 Math – If You’re Based In The US
Although you’ll get the 50% bonus irrespective of how many or how few Avios you buy, the more Avios you buy the cheaper the cost/Avios figure becomes.
The lowest number of Avios you can buy (1,000) costs $53.00 and will net you 1,500 Avios after accounting for the bonus:
This brings the cost/Avios out to be 3.53 cents.
As you move up the scale the cost/Avios decreases:
• 10,000 Avios will net you 15,000 Avios after the bonus at a cost of $300 or 2.00 cents/Avios
• 30,000 Avios will net you 45,000 Avios after the bonus at a cost of $80 or 1.89 cents/Avios
• 100,000 Avios will net you 150,000 Avios after the bonus at a cost of $2,775 or 1.85 cents/Avios
If you’d like to buy the full allowable allocation of 200,000 Avios it will set you back $5,523 and will net you 300,000 Avios:
This works out to a cost of ~1.84 cents/Avios
The Math – If You’re Based In The UK
In the UK there’s a decrease in cost/Avios the more Avios you buy (just like in the US) and, when you buy the maximum number of Avios allowed, it will set you back £3,215 and you’ll end up with 300,000 more Avios in your account.
This works out to a cost/Avios of £0.0107 or ~$0.014
Should You Buy Avios In This Sale?
Long Haul Flights
For long-haul bookings Avios are almost always a poor option to go with as award bookings tend to attract ridiculously high surcharges….but there can be times when Avios saves the day.
This usually happens when you’re not looking to book too far in advance and will primarily be be of use to those who can’t be very flexible with their travel plans.
If you want to fly from New York to London on 13 September and you want to return on 17 September the cheapest non-stop Business Class fare available (on any airline) is $3,644:
For the same dates you can book a British Airways Business Class award for 100,000 Avios + $1,121.86:
Buying 100,000 Avios in this sale (at the cheapest price) would cost you….
- In the US: ~$1,840
- In the UK: ~£1,100 or ~£1,400
In all instances it would be considerably cheaper to buy Avios in this sale and use them to book an award flight than it would be to pay with cash.
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.
Examples of good value can be found on popular European routes like London – Cyprus which can get very expensive.
During peak season roundtrip Economy Class awards on this route will cost 20,000 Avios and approximately $55 in taxes and fees but cash fares often climb past $700.
In this example, and depending on the dates you choose and where your BAEC account is based, 20,000 Avios could easily save you over $400 meaning that each Avios would be saving you 2.0 cents – that’s not bad if you bought Avios at 1.4 cents or 1.84 cents each.
How To Decide If You Should Buy Avios In This Promotion
Work out 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, however, 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.
Remember: British Airways processes its own points sales so, if you use credit cards like the Citi Prestige, Chase Sapphire or even any of the British Airways credit cards, you’ll earn a lot of bonus points/Avios for spending on travel or for spending directly with the airline.
The only way to know how good or bad this offer is for your particular circumstances is to decide on what you’d like to spend the Avios on, working out the cost of the award (including surcharges) and comparing it to the cost of a cash fare for the same trip.
For some it will also be worth taking into account any companion vouchers they may have but the math still needs to be done – Avios can be a tricky currency to use economically so don’t avoid the work.