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For three days only, through May 26, 2016, British Airways is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased Avios. While you’re usually capped at purchasing 35,000 Avios per year, for this promotion only the limit has been increased to 100,000 Avios pre-bonus (140,000 factoring in the 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 140,000 Avios at a cost of $2,775, which is a cost of ~1.98 cents per Avios.
However, for an account I have access to which is registered in Germany, the cost to purchase 140,000 Avios is 1,800EUR (~$2,010), which is a cost of just ~1.44 cents per Avios.
That’s rather annoying…
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.
While there’s potentially value to be had, personally I’d be much more tempted to buy points from Alaska Mileage Plan, Avianca LifeMiles, or Starwood Preferred Guest, all of which are offering bonuses on purchased points at the moment.
As a matter of fact, if you’re an eligible SPG member with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, buying Starpoints right now would be a cheaper way to acquire British Airways Avios, thanks to the 35% bonus they’re offering.
Starpoints are on sale at the moment for 2.275 cents each. They convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred, meaning it’s essentially an opportunity to pick up your choice of airline miles for 1.82 cents each. Assuming you’re a member based on North America, that’s a better deal than paying ~1.98 cents per Avios.
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.
If you’re based in North America, want to buy British Airways Avios, and are eligible for the 35% bonus on purchased Starpoints, I’d go that route to save money, rather than buying British Airways Avios outright.
Do you plan on purchasing British Airways Avios with a 40% bonus?