Should You Buy Avios In The Current Sale? (Hint: “No” Isn’t The Answer For Everyone)


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British Airways is currently offering a 30% bonus to anyone willing to buy Avios in its latest sale so it’s time to take a look at just how good or bad a deal this actually is – should you be buying or should you be walking away?

The first thing I should make clear is that there is actually more than one deal on offer here because British Airways varies the cost of Avios depending on the country where a customer’s Executive Club account is registered.

In this post I’ll take a look at the cost to buy Avios if your Executive Club account is registered in the US, the UK or in select European countries.

British Airways 787-9 Club World

Headline Terms & Conditions

  1. This offer is only open to Members of the British Airways Executive Club (Eligible Participants).
  2. The offer is available to 23:59 (BST) Tuesday 24 September 2019 only (the ‘Offer Period’).
  3. During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive 30% extra Avios (bonus Avios) when they purchase or gift Avios at ba.com.
  4. Avios can only be purchased at ba.com using the Purchase Avios Application Form found on the offer page.
  5. 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.
  6. The Bonus Avios will not count towards your promotional limit of 200,000 Avios.
  7. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other Purchase Avios offer.
  8. 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.
  9. The Executive Club Terms and Conditions and Conditions of Use apply to this offer and can be found at ba.com.
  10. British Airways reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of this offer.

Check the full terms and conditions on the Avios sale page.

British Airways 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class

The Offer

The offer couldn’t be more simple: Buy 1,000 Avios or more and get 30% bonus Avios

The Cost Of Buying Avios

British Airways varies the cost of Avios depending on how many Avios you buy but, as I’ll show below, once you start buying Avios in larger quantities the price doesn’t vary all that much.

I’ll use an example of an Executive Club account based in the UK to show what I mean about the cost of Avios not really varying at the higher levels:

Here’s how much it costs to buy 50,000 Avios (+30% bonus):

Here’s the cost of buying 100,000 Avios (+30% bonus):

And here’s the cost of buying 200,000 Avios (+30% bonus): The amount of money you have to hand over goes up noticeably at each stage but the cost/Avios for each of these three examples doesn’t very much at all – £0.01254, £0.01242 and £0.01236.

With the difference in the cost of each Avios being so low there’s really no need to buy any more Avios that you really have to in this sale (assuming the deal works for you).

US Pricing

If your account is based in the US the best deal you’ll find will see you paying around $0.0212 (or £0.0174) per Avios

…which, even with the British Pound being at one of its lowest points of the year, is a considerably worse deal than the one on offer in the UK.

European Pricing

Travelers whose British Airways Executive Club accounts are based in Europe will see their offer priced up in Euros…

…and each Avios will cost (at best) €0.01385 (or £0.01259) and that’s a lot closer to UK pricing than we’re seeing in the US.

Are Any Of These Deals Worth Considering?

USA

No….and there are a number of reasons why not.

I value Avios at no more than 1.0 cent each and while it’s certainly possible to get a lot more value out of the currency than this it’s not always easy to do so – you’ll struggle to get back the 2.1 cents per Avios this sale is asking you to pay.

Also, you should bear in mind that British Airways has sold Avios with 40% and 50% bonus already this year and it’s highly likely that we’ll see at least one of those bonuses reappear before this year is out – unless you’re desperate for Avios patience is what you should be practicing here.

If you’re based in the US you’re fortunate enough to have access to a number of credit cards which essentially allow you to earn Avios at a very healthy rate. AMEX Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points both convert to Avios is a ratio of 1:1 and with credit cards issued by these banks offering earnings rates of up to 5 points/dollar it’s not hard to generate a nice Avios balance without having to buy the currency in sales such as this one.

British Airways Airbus A319
British Airways A319 Business Class

UK & Europe

Even though Avios are being sold at a cheaper rate to those with UK/European based Executive Club accounts than to those of us in the US, it’s still by no means a certainty that this sale offers value for these account holders.

If you’re in no major hurry to add more Avios to your account there’s absolutely no reason for you to be buying Avios now. Apart from the fact that a better sale will probably be along in a month or two you shouldn’t be stockpiling loyalty currencies – they can easily devalue before you get a chance to use them.

Having said that (and contrary to what I’ve seen written elsewhere) there will definitely be times when buying Avios in this sale is a good idea.

Example 1

A friend of mine recently found himself 50,000 Avios short when he wanted to book a Business Class trip for him and his family for the Holidays and, after comparing the cost of buying the required Avios (and booking the awards) or booking the trip with cash, it was clear that buying Avios in this sale was by far and away the cheaper option.

Did he buy Avios at a great rate? No. Did he save himself quite a bit of cash? Yes.

Example 2

Some of BA’s short-haul routes can be incredibly expensive during peak seasons and award bookings can be a fantastic way to save a lot of money on family vacations.

Right now, for example, it’s possible for a family of 4 to book roundtrip travel between London and Cyprus for 80,000 Avios + £140 (max) for travel next summer while those same flights could cost that family over £2,000.

And that’s just for hand baggage only fares!

Buying 80,000 Avios in this sale would cost a little over £1,000 so, even when you add in the taxes on the awards, the family would save around £800 by buying Avios in this sale and booking award travel rather than by paying with cash.

They would also each get a checked baggage allowance with an award booking and they would also have the flexibility to change their flights should their plans change unexpectedly.

Yes this is an extreme example, but it’s still a valid example and it illustrates the thought process people should be using when deciding if an Avios sale is useful or not – just because a bonus that’s on offer isn’t anywhere near the best that we see doesn’t mean that the sale is universally bad.

Bottom Line

This is far from being the best British Airways Avios sale that we’ve seen and for most people it’s a sale that should be avoided….but that doesn’t mean that this sale is a bad idea for everyone.

If a trip you’re planning appears to be expensive it’s always worth checking to see if awards are available for your preferred dates and checking to see how much the trip would cost you if you bought all (or some) of the Avios needed for the award booking – you may be surprised how much money can be saved sometimes.

Link to BA Avios sale

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