Should You Buy British Airways Avios With A 50% Bonus?

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Update: There’s an exciting new offer for the SPG American Express cards! The links below are expired, but you can learn more about the opportunity to earn 35,000 SPG points here!

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Through Monday, December 5, 2016, British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios. While you’re usually capped at purchasing 35,000 Avios per year, for this promotion the limit has been increased to 100,000 Avios pre-bonus (150,000 factoring in the bonus).

ba-avios-bonus

The bonus applies regardless of how many Avios you purchase. What’s strange about Avios is that the cost to purchase points is different depending on the country in which your account is registered. You have to pay in the local currency, though the price in USD and GBP and EUR doesn’t actually convert.

In the case of my account (which is registered in the US), I’m given the option of purchasing up to 150,000 Avios at a cost of $2,775, which is a cost of 1.85 cents per Avios.

british-airways-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 (though keep in mind awards within North America start in Zone 2 rather than Zone 1). In general Avios are extremely valuable for shorthaul awards, while longhaul awards are quite expensive.

New-Avios-Redemption-Chart

However, there are a lot of ways to earn Avios, so in general it’s not a currency I’d buy at that price:

Lastly, keep in mind that at the moment Starwood is selling Starpoints at a discount, and most accounts are targeted for 25-50% off. This is potentially an opportunity to indirectly buy British Airways Avios for even less, though you’ll want to check your SPG account to see which offer you’re targeted for.

Bottom line

This is one of the better deals we’ve seen on the purchase of Avios, but even so, I wouldn’t exactly consider this to be a bargain. British Airways has never been that aggressive about selling points, and I’d much rather transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, etc.

Still, some people will certainly find this to be valuable.

Do you plan on purchasing British Airways Avios with a 50% bonus?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. At the points.com page link, change the country code to an European country like AT will change the currency to euro, which will become 1800 euros for 150,000 points, around 1.3 cents per mile

  2. @ Jeff — Sorry, I might be missing something, but on what page are you changing the country, and how are you doing it? Thanks for the heads up.

  3. I purchased a JFK to MAD economy ticket and was short a few thousand points. I was able to buy up to the needed points for about $.0083 per avios (5100 points for €40)

  4. @Duane

    Just curious, are you in Europe?

    I tried logging into BA via both the German and Austrian BA sites, but it still priced out in USD, so I’m thinking maybe it prices in the currency of the country of the address on file?

  5. I had tried it initially and it priced out higher in USD. So I googled Iberia EU and it let me check out in euros. 11900 avios + €106

  6. Lucky or anyone else, how bad is the experience connecting in Heathrow, BA to BA? Need to fly PHL-TLV for a wedding. For around the same price I can: 1) Fly PHL-LHR-TLV (and back), all on BA metal, with the outbound legs (only) in WTP (premium eco), or 2) Fly EWR-TLV non-stop in United or EL AL coach. To me, not having to drive/train to EWR from Philly, and sitting in WTP-class for half the trip makes the connections seem worth it. But i’ve really got no clue what to expect at Heathrow in terms of distance i’ll have to walk, and what kinds of security line i’ll have to clear. any Heathrow-connection advice would be greatly appreciated!

  7. @ Steven — Everyone has to re-clear security at Heathrow, and you’ll also have to change terminals. There’s a bus for the latter, but Heathrow is a pretty big airport.

  8. Willy In the top right hand corner of the BA site you can switch country, currency or both. But the site will still know where you are from your IP

    So use a VPN proxy in whatever nation you seek and the site will default.

    I often dance around different country versions of airline sites because, as weird as it may seem, the price can vary a lot.

  9. @lucky on the email you received about this promotion when you click buy button it’s a points.com link. If you look into the link URL it contains the BA number ID, email address and country code. If you change the country code in the URL and enter again, the currency will change. I purchased using 1800 euros, which I think it’s the lower than pound or USD. Still waiting for the miles to be posted tho

  10. Steven, I would consider first your age and physical condition. In October I changed from AA to BA at LHR. We were told that we had a very tight connection and were given bright orange boarding pass jackets to show. Within one bldg, I walked and walked and walked and walked, up ramps, down stairs, up stairs, down ramps, escalators each direction, jammed in an elevator, walked some more. All the while I wheeled a huge suitcase, packed to the max because I was flying Business Class nonstop ORD-HEL. [AA changed me off Finnair at the last minute.] Finally I got to a very long line, exhausted, soaking with perspiration and a cheery fellow directed me to the far shorter Business Class line.
    I said something snotty like: NOW help shows up! He replied: Oh we have people to help you if you are in Business Class. They didn’t. I really looked the next time.
    In by-gone days I would have welcomed the exercise between two long flights. But, again, I’m an old guy and it was a big suitcase. This rush-a-thon ended with a two hour delayed flight. Conclusion: if I were young, fit and could resist any urge to overpack, I’d take the better seats from PHL. You forgot that EWR is often its own nasty experience. נסיעה טובה

  11. @Steven – if your flights are all on BA metal, PHL-LHR-TLV is a T5 to T5 connection. That isn’t as awful as if you had to change terminals, but not exactly pleasant, either. It is a rather long walk to the Flight Connections zone, and the security check at LHR tends to be slow. Depending on which set of T5 gates the flight to TLV departs from (A, B, or C), you could be facing as much as a 20-minute train ride/walk to the gate from security. I’d allow at least 40 minutes if you don’t have Fast Track.

  12. I changed my mailing address to France, and my purchase is now automatically set to euro. I think you must have a European address in your profile to purchase in euro.

  13. Thanks for the tip on purchasing in Euros. I actually did it through my Iberia Avios account which has my U.S. address on file. It automatically dispalyed in Euros. 150k Avios for €1800 ($1920). I called BA and the rep did a trial transfer from Iberia to BA for me. Some of the Iberia award flights from U.S. to Europe are pretty reasonable in Biz class so I may just redeem thru IB. Although my typical BA redepmtion is for <1000 miles on American domestic.

  14. I would never buy Avios. I have about 220,000 of them and every time I fly within the USA on AA, I try to use them without success. It has become quite frustrating. Maybe I use up to 15,000 Avios a year if I am lucky. In the meantime, I have to pay USD $95 (or whatever the going rate is these days) to keep my BA Visa Card open so that the Avios do not expire. There is no way in heck that I would classify them as ‘extreme valuable.’

  15. Greg, have you tried booking your AA flights by calling the BA call centre? I am told that it’s often possible for AA flight redemptions to be available but not showing on the website.

  16. Avios Miles are rarely if ever available. Air Alaska or Air Canada far better availability. Bought 150000 miles for $2775 almost total waste of money

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