Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom Unlimited® whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.
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Often buying miles can represent a great value, especially for first and business class award redemptions, where redeeming miles represents a disproportionately good value.
British Airways has just rolled out a promotion on purchased Avios which is in line with their best offers ever, though for many people there will be a better way to acquire Avios.
British Airways’ 50% Bonus On Purchased Avios
Through March 22, 2020, British Airways Executive Club 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.
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.
As a point of comparison, if you had an EU registered account you could buy 300,000 Avios for 3,601EUR (~4,085USD), so that’s a significantly better deal.
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.
There are lots of great partner redemptions with Avios
Buying Iberia Avios Is Sometimes A Better Deal
While it’s not being offered at the moment, I’d note that buying Iberia Avios is potentially a better value when they’re offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios.
In theory the pricing is the same, but there’s one major advantage to buying Iberia Avios — with Iberia even if your account is based in the US, you can buy Avios at the much lower cost in EUR, which brings down the cost to about 1.3 cents per Avios.
With British Airways you can only buy Avios in the currency for the country your account is registered in, while with Iberia it’s based on what country’s website you’re on. In other words, if you’re based in the US you could buy Iberia Avios for 1.3 cents each, while you can only buy British Airways Avios for 1.84 cents each.
You can transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia, assuming you’ve had both accounts open for at least 90 days, and the accounts have some activity.
Unfortunately Iberia’s 50% bonus promotion ended last week, though I’m sure they’ll offer another one at some point.
Buying Iberia Avios often represents a better value
Which Credit Card Should You Buy Avios With?
British Airways Avios purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spending requirement, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending. Generally my favorite cards for everyday spending are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) or Citi® Double Cash Card (review), though these cards also have foreign transaction fees.
See this post for the best credit cards for buying points.
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.
British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, and in addition to that you can earn Avios with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review), which has some fantastic benefits.
There are lots of great ways to earn British Airways Avios
British Airways is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased Avios for the next couple of weeks. Nowadays British Airways offers these types of promotions a few times per year, and the 50% bonus is as good as these offers get.
Personally my preferred way to acquire Avios continues to be to earn them through Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, etc. However, if you don’t have access to US credit cards, this could be worthwhile as well.
Do you plan on purchasing British Airways Avios with a 50% bonus?