British Airways just launched a new sale to buy Avios via a short promotion. This deal ends July 10, 2022. Executive Club members can get a 50% bonus when buying Avios. While this is better than other recent promotions, it’s still a poor deal—particularly for U.S.-registered accounts (more on that later). However, there are still some cases where it could be worth considering.

A Note on Buying Avios

Buying points isn’t usually the best way to accumulate any award currency—Avios or otherwise. It’s much better to earn points and miles through everyday purchases, credit card welcome bonuses, and traveling. However, there are at least a couple of scenarios where buying points can make sense.

First, if your balance is just short of booking that next great redemption, buying points can be the fastest solution. Considering award availability can change in a second, waiting around for points to post may make the difference between snagging an award and not.

Second, it’s often possible to save money by buying points for an award redemption instead of paying the cash fare. I’ll get into some examples of this later in the post—but needless to say, I’m all about saving money however I can.

Key Terms of the Buy Avios Promotion

Banner image for flash sale to buy Avios with a bonus in March 2022

  • Buy or Gift Avios and receive up to a 50% bonus.
  • Promotion expires on July 10, 2022 at 23:59 British Standard Time (BST).
  • Executive Club members can buy a maximum of 200,000 Avios (pre-bonus) per year.
  • Purchases can take up to 3 business days to post to your account.
  • To buy or gift Avios, you must have at least one Avios point in your account. If you have a zero balance, you’ll need to have collected or redeemed Avios in the past 36 months in order to buy Avios.
  • Avios purchases can be refunded within 14 days, provided they haven’t been used.
  • Buying Avios will reset the expiry date for Avios in your account (typically 36 months of inactivity)

With this promotion, you can buy Avios with a 50% bonus as long as you purchase 2,000 Avios or more.

British Airways Club World Business Class
At one time, British Airways’ ‘Club World’ seats were industry-leading.

Different Prices for Different Regions

Here’s the real kicker with promotions to buy Avios from British Airways. British Airways offers different prices depending on where you’ve registered your Executive Club account:

  • For accounts registered in the United States, you will pay $5,523 for 300,000 Avios (including the 50% bonus). That’s 1.84¢ per mile.
  • For accounts registered in the United Kingdom, you will pay £3,215 (~$3,947 USD) for 300,000 Avios (including the 50% bonus). That’s 1.32¢ USD per mile.
  • For accounts registered in the European Union, you will pay 3,601EUR (~$3,810 USD) for 300,000 Avios (including the 50% bonus). That’s 1.27¢ USD per mile.

And unfortunately, you can’t select your preferred currency. British Airways determines the currency based on your account’s registered address.

The Value of British Airways Avios

From recent redemption data from AwardWallet users, we see the following values for British Airways Avios:

  • Short-haul economy and premium economy: 1.96¢
  • Short-haul business and first class: 2.44¢
  • Long-haul economy and premium economy: 1.96¢
  • Long-haul business and first class: 3.05¢

This doesn’t mean that you’ll get this much value from every Avios redemption option. In fact, many Avios redemption options — especially on British Airways flights themselves — can be downright bad. However, the value can be found when you know where to look.

Buy Avios and Save

British Airways utilizes a distance-based award chart. So, shorter flights are going to cost less. There are several British Airways sweet spots where buying Avios could save money compared to paying a cash rate. Moreover, members who meet certain criteria can transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia. That means that you could utilize purchased Avios to leverage Iberia’s award chart, as well.

Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios where buying Avios could make sense.

Los Angeles to Kona on American Airlines

Using British Avios for flights on AA is a staple redemption among award travelers. And no route is more loved for this strategy than a one-way to Hawaii from the West Coast.

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Nothing beats a Hawaiian hike.
  • Mileage Rate: 13,000 Avios + $5.60
  • Typical Cash Price: $170
  • Redemption Rate: 1.26 cents per mile
  • Cost to Buy 13,000 Avios (at 1.84¢ per Avios): $239
  • Cost of Buying 13,000 Avios (at 1.27¢ per Avios): $165

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Miami to St. Kitts and Nevis on American Airlines

If you live on the East Coast and don’t find the long flight to Hawaii appealing, Avios presents another great option to get your tropical fix.

Park-Hyatt-St-Kitts-P242-The-Great-House-Common-Area.16x9-300x169
Book a stay at the luxurious Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour.

For whatever reason, flights to the Caribbean tend to be expensive relative to the flight time. However, thanks to British Airways’ distance-based award chart, you can save money by using Avios instead.

  • Mileage Rate: 11,000 Avios + $15.60
  • Typical Cash Price: $407
  • Redemption Rate: 3.6 cents per mile
  • Cost to Buy 11,000 Avios (at 1.84¢ per Avios): $202
  • Cost of Buying 11,000 Avios (at 1.27¢ per Avios): $140

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Chicago to Madrid in Iberia Business Class

Like I hinted before, just because you’re buying Avios from British Airways doesn’t mean you have to book with them. You could simply transfer your Avios to your Iberia account. Iberia’s award chart has several sweet spots of its own, one of which involves flying business class to Europe.

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Iberia business class

It’s possible to book Iberia business class from Chicago to Madrid for only 34,000 Avios during off-peak season. You can book this award via British Airways:

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Or you can transfer your British Airways Avios to book with Iberia at the same taxes/fees.

  • Mileage Rate: 34,000 Avios + $124.60
  • Typical Cash Price: $5,650
  • Redemption Rate: 16.3 cents per mile
  • Cost to Buy 34,000 Avios (at 1.84¢ per Avios): $626
  • Cost of Buying 34,000 Avios (at 1.27¢ per Avios): $432

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Buy Avios with the Right Card to Maximize Your Earnings

Like many loyalty programs, British Airways partners with Points.com to process Avios purchases. This means buying Avios will (unfortunately) not qualify for any ‘travel’ bonus category on cards that offer one.

With that in mind, the best card to use will fit into one of two categories:

  1. A card that offers a great return on everyday purchases
  2. A card on which you’re currently completing a minimum spending requirement

Other Ways to Earn British Airways Avios

If you aren’t in a rush, there are several other (less expensive) ways to add to your Avios stash.

British Airways Transfer Parters

For one thing, British Airways partners with several major transferable currencies, including:

  1. American Express Membership Rewards — 1:1 ratio
  2. Capital One Venture Miles — 1:1 ratio
  3. Chase Ultimate Rewards Points— 1:1 ratio, plus a 30% transfer bonus through July 31, 2022.
  4. Marriott Bonvoy Points — 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 Avios bonus for transferring 60,000 points (transfers in 10 hours)

Other than Marriott Bonvoy, the other points transfer immediately. Any card earning these types of points can, in effect, earn British Airways Avios. Even better, if you collect more than one, you can simply pool them together.

British Airways Co-Branded Credit Card

If you’re looking for a big boost to your Avios balance, you may want to consider applying for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. That’s because the card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus Avios!

British Airways Visa Signature® Card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Annual Fee$95
Welcome BonusEarn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

The card offers several valuable benefits for frequent BA flyers, with only a modest $95 annual fee. However, there are a couple of drawbacks. First, not everyone will be able to spend enough on the card to earn the full bonus. Second, many of the cards offered by 1:1 transfer partners deliver better earning rates. With that said, if you want to earn a lot of Avios in a hurry (and can meet the spending requirements), that sign-up bonus could be valuable enough.

Bottom Line

British Airways currently offers a promotion for Executive Club members to buy Avios with a 50% bonus on your miles. However, given how British Airways determines the currency used, this deal’s actual value varies from okay to downright poor. U.S.-registered accounts can buy points for 1.84¢ each, which is an objectively disappointing value. Most people would do better by waiting for a better promotion or generating Avios through credit card spending.

With that said, there’s still value to be had when leveraging British Airways’ award sweet spots. If you need Avios in a hurry to finish an award redemption, keep this deal in mind.

Would you buy British Airways Avios with a 50% bonus?

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