Often buying miles can represent a great value, especially for first and business class award redemptions, where redeeming miles represents a disproportionately good value.
It’s worth noting that a promotion that was rolled out at the beginning of the month is ending tomorrow, for anyone who may be interested.
British Airways offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios
Through tomorrow (Tuesday, May 21, 2019) British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios.
Ordinarily you can purchase at most 100,000 Avios (pre-bonus) per calendar year, though during this promotion British Airways has increased the cap to 200,000 Avios, meaning that you could purchase up to 300,000 Avios, including the 50% bonus.
The bonus applies regardless of how many Avios you purchase. One of the things that makes buying Avios unique is that the cost per purchased point varies depending on what country your account is registered in, and therefore based on what currency you pay in. So the price to purchase Avios will be different depending on whether you’re paying in EUR, GBP, or USD.
In the case of my account (which is registered in the US), I’m given the option of purchasing up to 300,000 Avios for $5,523, which is a cost of 1.84 cents per Avios.
Personally I value British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, though there are certainly ways to get outsized value thanks to their distance based award chart. For some inspiration on the best ways to redeem Avios, see this post.
Do keep in mind that British Airways is making changes to partner award pricing as of May 30, 2019, and we don’t fully know the details of these changes. So I would only recommend buying Avios if you have a short term use in mind, or if you plan to redeem on British Airways, Iberia, or Aer Lingus.
With which credit card should you buy Avios?
British Airways Avios purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spend.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spend, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card (The best credit cards for buying points and miles.)
There are other ways to earn Avios
While I think there’s a lot of value to be had with British Airways Avios, personally I wouldn’t buy them at this price because I have access to US credit cards, and British Airways is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Through June 16, 2019, you can even get a 30% bonus when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Executive Club.
Typically a 50% bonus is as good as it gets when it comes to buying Avios, and in this case they’ve even doubled the maximum number of Avios you can purchase.
While this is as good as it gets, I wouldn’t exactly consider this a bargain. British Airways has never been that aggressive about selling points, and I’d much rather transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, etc.
Still, some people will certainly find this to be valuable. Just keep in mind the partner award pricing changes that are happening as of May 30.
Do you plan on purchasing British Airways Avios with a 50% bonus?