Often buying points can represent a great deal, especially for first and business class award redemptions, where there’s the most value to be had. British Airways has just launched a promotion on purchased Avios. It’s not terribly compelling, but it’s at least worth being aware of.
British Airways selling Avios with up to 30% bonus
Through Tuesday, February 2, 2021, British Airways Executive Club has launched a 30% bonus on purchased Avios. With this promotion you get a flat 30% bonus on purchased Avios, no matter how many you buy.
This promotion is pretty disappointing, frankly — in the past British Airways has frequently offered a 50% bonus on purchased Avios, so a 30% bonus is significantly worse than usual during these promotions.
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 pre-bonus.
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:
- For US registered accounts you can expect to pay $5,523 for 260,000 Avios with the 30% bonus, which is a cost of 2.12 cents per Avios
- For EU registered accounts you can expect to pay 3,601EUR (~4,412USD) for 260,000 Avios with the 30% bonus, which is a cost of 1.7 cents per Avios
Personally I value British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, though there are ways to get outsized value thanks to the 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
Note that Iberia Plus sometimes (though unfortunately not right now) offers a 50% bonus on purchased Avios, and that can represent a much better deal.
In theory the pricing between the programs 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 considerably.
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 at the lower EU cost.
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.
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 Avios, do keep in mind that there are quite a few ways to earn Avios with US credit cards. British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
On top of that, there are three credit cards issued in the US that earn Avios, and all of them offer huge welcome bonuses of up to 100K Avios, plus lots of great long-term benefits:
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review)
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review)
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review)
There are lots of great ways to earn British Airways Avios
British Airways is offering a 30% bonus on purchased Avios for the next several weeks. I wouldn’t take advantage of this promotion unless I had an immediate use in mind, because we’ve seen bonuses of up to 50% in the past.
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, some might consider this to be worthwhile.
Do you plan on purchasing Avios with this promotion?