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The offers we’ve seen British Airways publish for Black Friday/Cyber Monday have mostly been embarrassingly bad. Fortunately, the Avios sale that the airline has been running (and which ends today) has offered at least one opportunity to get some value.
British Airways has been promoting its latest Avios promotion as a “mystery sale” but as far as I can tell there isn’t much of a mystery to it. I’ve been targeted for a 50% bonus and, as far as I can tell, that’s the promotion that most other people are seeing too.
- This offer is only open to Members of the British Airways Executive Club (Eligible Participants).
- The offer is available from 00:01 (GMT) Monday 23 November 2020 to 23:59 (GMT) Monday 30 November 2020 only (the ‘Offer Period’).
- During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive up to 50% 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 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.
- 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.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page.
Important To Know
As always, the price you pay for Avios varies depending on where in the world your British Airways Executive Club account is and US-based Executive Club members get a noticeably weaker deal than their UK-based counterparts – I’ll be addressing the cost for US-based and UK-based members below so you’ll see what I mean.
For the purposes of this post, I’ll be working out the math based on a 50% bonus. If you have been unlucky and have been targeted for a lower bonus, I suggest that you wait for a better offer to come along.
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.
If you’d like to buy the full allowance 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, just as in the US, the cost of buying Avios decreases the more Avios you buy and when you buy the maximum number of Avios allowed, it will set you back £3,215.
This works out to a cost/Avios of £0.0107 or ~$0.0143
Should You Buy Avios In This Sale?
As usual, let’s get the formalities out of the way: If you don’t plan to use any Avios you buy in this sale in the near future you should not be participating – my golden rule applies.
Right, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on…
If you’re based in the US it’s critical that you have a plan for what you’ll do with any Avios that you may buy and are sure that any purchased Avios will be used to save you money on an otherwise expensive cash fare. Unless you genuinely need to boost your Avios balance now (and have a plan for how the Avios will be used) it may be prudent to wait for the next good Iberia sale in which Avios may well be sold at a cheaper rate (Iberia sells Avios at the same rate to everyone, so having a US-based account isn’t a disadvantage).
If you’re based in the UK this is probably just about as good a sale as you’ll find so this is a good time to top up your Avios balance if you’re running a little low and you have a near-term use for Avios.
On the whole, it’s not economical to use purchased Avios for long-haul Economy Class fares thanks to the high surcharges that accompany all BA Avios bookings, but if you’re considering making a long-haul Premium Cabin booking (especially one paired with a BA 2-4-1 voucher) then there’s almost certainly value to be had here.
You could also consider buying Avios in the current sale and, if you have an active Iberia account, moving them across to Iberia Plus and using them to book select long-haul Iberia routes which incur notably lower surcharges than you’ll find BA charging (you can find some great deals to South America, for example).
Good value can often also be found on short-haul Avios bookings where the surcharges are low (e.g. Europe), or close to no existent (e.g. within the US, Australia, Asia, etc…), and Avios purchased in this sale may be able to save you quite a bit of money during peak periods (e.g. the European Summer) when cash rates can be disproportionately high.
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.
British Airways sells its miles 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. What this means is that this is a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus (like the excellent bonus currently available on the Amex Platinum Card)…
…or to use the excellent Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express which will earn you 2 points/dollar (up to $50,000 in spending per year).
British Airways is currently targeting Executive Club members for a bonus of up to 50% on Avios purchases made by the end of today, 30 November. If you haven’t been targeted for a bonus of at least 50% you should walk away (a better deal will be along soon enough). If you’ve been targeted for a 50% bonus (or better) 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, work out the cost of the award (including surcharges), and then compare it to the cost of a cash fare for the same trip.
For some it will also be worth taking into account any 2-4-1/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.