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The British Airways Executive Club has joined United & American in launching a points promotion and, this time around, it offers Executive Club members the chance to buy Avios with a 50% bonus.
If your account is in the US this allows you to buy Avios from 1.84 cents but, if you have your BAEC account registered in the EU, the cost should be a lot lower (probably around 1.3 cents – I don’t have access to an EU-registered account so I can’t be sure)
Buy Avios With A 50% Bonus – Headline T&Cs
- This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An Eligible Participant is aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club (‘BAEC’) Member. The Promoter reserves the right to verify the eligibility of Eligible Participants. Eligible Participants confirm that they accept the terms and conditions set out below.
- Between 00:01 hr BST Monday 13 November and 23:59 hr BST Friday 17 November 2017 (the ‘Promotional Period’) Eligible Participants will receive 50% Avios bonus upon any Purchase or Gift Avios transaction
- Eligible Participants may Gift Avios (purchase for someone else) during the promotional period, provided that the recipient holds or opens a British Airways Executive Club account and the recipient’s BAEC membership number is entered at the time of purchase. Members can receive up to 200,000 gifted Avios. The recipient will receive 50% bonus Avios.
- Eligible Participants may not exceed their annual 200,000 Avios limit. Bonus Avios do not count towards your annual limit.
Follow this link for the full terms & conditions
The Math – If You’re Based In The US
Although you’ll get the 50% bonus irrespective of how many or how few Avios you buy, the more Avios you buy the cheaper the cost/Avios figure becomes.
Starting at the bottom – a purchase of 1,000 Avios would see you net 1,500 Avios after the bonus at a cost of $53
That works out to be over 3.5 cents per Avios….and that’s ludicrously expensive.
As you move up the scale the cost/Avios decreases:
• 10,000 Avios will net 15,000 Avios after the bonus at 2.00 cents/Avios
• 30,000 Avios will net 45,000 Avios after the bonus at 1.89 cents/Avios
• 100,000 Avios will net 150,000 Avios after the bonus at 1.85 cents/Avios
Once you get to the very top of the purchasing scale you can buy 200,000 Avios (the maximum allowable in a calendar year) and, after the 50% bonus, you’ll net 300,000 Avios at a cost of $5,523….
….which works out to be ~1.84 cents/Avios
That’s a bad deal….here’s why:
New York – London Business Class Roundtrip
During off-peak pricing this trip would cost 100,000 Avios and $1,123.69 in taxes and fees:
So, if you were to purchase the required Avios in this promotion the total cost of this booking would be:
(100,000 x $0.0184) + $1,123.69 = $2,963.69
You can find cash Business Class fares for less than that and with those fares you don’t have to pray that there’s availability on the days you wish to travel.
This deal only gets worse when you want to travel greater distances. An award on the LA to London route (for example) is an even worse deal thanks to the huge number of Avios needed for such a flight.
Short Haul Trips
Short haul flights are usually where Avios shines because fares can be expensive while the number of Avios needed and the taxes charged are low.
A good example of this is the New York – Boston route:
LGA – BOS will cost you 7,500 Avios & $5.60 for a one-way Economy Class fare…..
……and, if you were to buy those Avios in this promotion, the total cost would come to $143.60.
If you wanted to book a last-minute flight on a route like New York to Boston buying miles in this promotion may save you $50 – $60….but it’s a myth that fares on routes like these are always high – I’ve seen days where all flights on this route were under $130 – so don’t assume that buying Avios to use on routes like these is a certain money saver. It’s not.
How To Decide If You Should Buy Avios In This Promotion
Work out the math!
If you can see that the cost of a cash fare for your trip is greater than what a reward flight would cost (and that reward flights are actually available to book) then it may be a good idea to buy some Avios and book your trip that way.
Don’t forget, however, that a cash fare will earn you Avios and Tier Points (or any other oneworld currency you may wish to collect) while an award flight will not….those points/Avios/miles that you would be forgoing have value so you should take that into account when working out the best course of action.
For US-based travelers I consider this a promotion to be avoided (at 1.84 cents/Avios you’ll struggle to get your money back on most routes) but, for UK/EU-based travelers, if you buy Avios considerably cheaper than this there’s probably value to be had if you look carefully.
Note: don’t forget that British Airways handles its own Avios purchases so be sure to use a credit card that offers a bonus for airline/travel purchases if you do decide to buy some Avios.