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For the past couple of weeks, British Airways has been running an Avios sale in which it has been offering members of its Executive Club the chance to earn a bonus of up to 45% on the Avios they buy. This sale ends on 18 August (Sunday) so you have just a few days left to make the most of this deal if you think the math works in your favor.
As always with these BA Avios sales, the price you pay for Avios varies depending on where in the world your British Airways Executive Club account is based – BAEC members with accounts in the UK will pay less than their counterparts with accounts in the US.
- Buy or Gift 1,000 – 15,000 Avios and receive 20% bonus Avios
- Buy or Gift 20,000 – 35,000 Avios and receive 30% bonus Avios
- Buy or Gift 40,000 – 90,000 Avios and receive 35% bonus Avios
- Buy or Gift 100,000 – 200,000 Avios and receive 45% bonus Avios
The Headline Terms & Conditions
- This offer is only open to Members of the British Airways Executive Club (Eligible Participants).
- The offer is available through 23:59 (BST) Sunday 18 August 2019 only (the ‘Offer Period’).
- During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive up to 45% extra Avios (bonus Avios) when they purchase or gift Avios at ba.com.
- 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 promotional 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.
The cost of purchasing Avios will vary depending on the address to which your Executive Club account is registered – you get a better deal if you’re based in the UK than if you’re based in the US.
The Math – If You’re Based In The US
For strategic reasons I keep my British Airways Executive Club registered to my address in the UK so I don’t have access to the sale open to US BAEC members…but I do happen to know the following regarding the US sale:
- 200,000 Avios will net 290,000 Avios at a cost of $5,523.00
- The best cost per Avios on offer is approximately 1.9 cents
As someone who values Avios at approximately 1.0 cents each this doesn’t appear to be a deal that would be of use…but don’t completely dismiss this sale yet.
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) but don’t be fooled into believing that you have to buy the maximum number of Avios permissible to get a deal which works for you – the cost/Avios when you buy 100,000 Avios isn’t that much greater than the cost when you buy 200,000.
Here’s the math:
Someone buying 100,000 Avios would spend £1,615 and net 145,000 after the bonus has been factored in…
…and this works out to a cost/Avios of approximately £0.01113 ($0.0136)
Someone buying 200,000 Avios would spend £3,215 and net 290,000 Avios…
…and this works out to a cost/Avios of approximately £0.01108 ($0.0133)
That’s a negligible difference so there’s absolutely no reason to buy more Avios than you need in this sale.
Should You Buy Avios In This Sale?
There are three things that need to be said before I go any further:
- Aer Lingus is running an Avios sale right now and its Avios (which can be transferred over to BA) can be purchased for a little less than the Avios on sale here – if you have access to that sale you should check that out before buying here.
- The last British Airways Avios sale offered bonuses of up to 50% so this isn’t the best deal you’ll find from BA – in the last sale US members could buy Avios from 1.84 cents each and UK members from 1.07 pence.
- No one should be buying Avios on the off chance that they’ll be of use at some point down the line – they may devalue before you get a chance to use them and you can find yourself sitting on a sizeable loss.
Avios For Long Haul Flights
For long-haul bookings, Avios are almost always a poor option as award bookings tend to attract ridiculously high surcharges…but there can be times when having a stash of Avios really comes in useful.
This usually happens when you’re not looking to book too far in advance and will primarily be of use to travelers who can’t be very flexible with their travel plans.
If you want to fly from New York to London on 10 October and you want to return on 14 October the cheapest non-stop Business Class fare available (on any airline) is an incredible $6,092:
For the same dates, you can book a British Airways Business Class award for 110,000 Avios + £1,199.97 (~$1,464):
Sure, those surcharges are obscene but this is still a good deal if you absolutely have to travel on these dates.
Buying 110,000 Avios in this sale (at the cheapest price) would cost you….
- In the US: ~$2,090
- In the UK: ~£1,219 (~$1,467)
…so, in both 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.
Avios For Short-Haul Flights
One of the very best uses of Avios is for short-haul redemption on routes where cash fares can be high or in routes where taxes/fees are capped (e.g. BA flights within Europe).
If we take the very popular London – Cyprus vacation route as an example, 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.
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 that cash fares 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.
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.