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Buy British Airways Avios with a 50% Bonus

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Buying points can often represent a great deal, especially when topping-up your account for a redemption or for premium cabin award tickets where cash costs are eye-popping.

British Airways Avios, a popular program for Canadians with access to award inventory on many high-end Oneworld partners, is currently offering another round of its 50% promotion on purchased Avios – but only through the next few days.

Buy Avios with a 50% Bonus

From now until January 19, 2022 at 23:59 BST, you’ll earn 50% bonus Avios when purchasing points directly from the program.

For this round, British Airways is offering the same bonus rate on any amount of points purchased. This bonus is within the standard range that British Airways usually uses for their Avios promotions.

As always, the cost per base Avios varies depending on how many you buy. The more you buy, the lower the average cost will be, although this difference is negligible over about 25,000 Avios.

One interesting feature of buying Avios is that your price varies depending on the currency you pay (GBP, EUR, or USD), which is determined by the country your account is registered in.

Canadian accounts will pay in USD at the prices listed above, which translate into a purchase cost of 2.3–2.5 (CAD) cents per Avios depending on how many points you buy.

At our current valuation of 1.7 (CAD) cents per point, I’d be hesitant to buy Avios at these promotional rates unless I were very confident in my reasons for doing so and had an immediate redemption in mind.

How many Avios can you buy?

Usually, British Airways imposes a limit of 200,000 base Avios purchased per calendar year.

Bonus Avios on points purchases don’t count against this cap. With the current 50% promotion, you can therefore buy a maximum total of 300,000 Avios.

Which credit card should you use to buy Avios?

It looks like British Airways no longer uses Points.com to sell Avios. However, you still may not receive bonus points for using a co-branded credit card like the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card.

You also may not receive the category bonus on other cards with a travel accelerator. Instead, consider any card with a high base earn rate, or one where you’re working on meeting the minimum spend requirement.

Avios can’t be purchased directly in Canadian dollars, so you may prefer to buy with a card that waives foreign exchange fees, including many popular US credit cards. Even if your Avios account charges in GBP or EUR and you have a European credit card, I’d still favour a Canadian or US card, as credit card rewards tend to be higher on our side of the Atlantic.

When Should You Buy Avios with a 50% Bonus?

If you’re short on Avios for an upcoming booking and have no other way to earn them quickly, there are a few situations where it might be worth it to buy points. Ultimately, as long as you’re redeeming at a value above the cost you pay, you’ll come out ahead.

Maximizing Sweet Spots with Direct Flights on Partner Airlines

If you’ve identified a good opportunity to redeem Avios, you may find it acceptable to pay above baseline value to make up the difference. Any time you’re willing to pay cash but prices are high, consider if buying points to make the same booking would be cheaper.

One popular route is Toronto–Dublin on Aer Lingus, for 50,000 Avios one-way in business class on off-peak dates. At a cost of approximately 2.5 (CAD) cents per point, the break-even point for this ticket is $1,250.

If the cash price of the base fare (before taxes and fees) is higher and there’s award space available, it’d be better to buy points with this promotion and book an award ticket instead.

Another sweet spot, Seattle to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines, can offer great value if you travel during high season, when cash prices are high but award prices are consistent. You can fly one-way in economy for 13,000 Avios, with a break-even point at $325.

More generally speaking, if you’re trying to lock in a family vacation over the holiday season before hotly-contested award inventory gets picked over, it might be prudent to strike fast with an immediate points top-up, even at a modest premium.

Booking a Multi-Carrier Award

For more extensive trips, the British Airways multi-carrier award chart is a powerful way to stretch your value. Each ticket can include up to eight flights, one open-jaw, and long stopovers in each city.

At the maximum amount available with this promotion, you can buy 300,000 Avios for US$5,523. That would allow you to book:

  • A First Class multi-carrier award of up to 20,000 miles in distance flown
  • A business class multi-carrier award of up to 35,000 miles in distance flown
  • Two “economy class” multi-carrier awards up to 35,000 miles in distance flown

The price is nothing to scoff at, but if you maximize your ticket(s) with numerous desirable business class or First Class products among Oneworld members, you’ll easily realize the value within the first flight or two. 

Other Ways to Earn Avios

Before rushing into this Avios promotion, I’d look to other sources of earning Avios at lower costs first.

Canadian Credit Cards

Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways to earn Avios through the credit cards we have in Canada.

American Express Membership Rewards can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, sometimes with a bonus of 30%. Any of these cards would be a good choice, with the high annual fees representing an opportunity to “buy” points:

  • Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card: Earn 80,000 MR points upon spending $5,000–10,000 in the first three months, with a net annual fee of $499, for a cost of 0.63 cents per Avios.
  • Business Gold Card: Earn 65,000 MR points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of $199, for a cost of 0.3 cents per Avios.
  • Business Edge Card: Earn 55,000 MR points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of $199, for a cost of 0.18 cents per Avios.
  • Gold Rewards Card: Earn 50,000 MR points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months, with a net annual fee of $150, for a cost of 0.3 cents per Avios.
American Express MR Cards for Avios Redemptions

RBC Avion points can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, with frequent bonuses up to 30% and in some cases as high as 50%. The personal Avion Visa credit cards are all offering an elevated welcome bonus of 35,000 Avion points if you apply before April 18, 2022:

Also in the RBC ecosystem, the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite card can earn up to 50,000 Avios in the first year upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of $165, for a cost of 0.33 cents per Avios.

RBC Credit Cards for Avios Redemptions
Credit Card Best Offer Value
50,000 Avios $702 Apply Now
35,000 Avion points
$120 annual fee
35,000 Avion points $545 Apply Now
35,000 RBC Avion points $490 Apply Now
35,000 RBC Avion points $266 Apply Now

HSBC Rewards can be transferred to Avios at 2.5:1, with occasional transfer bonuses as high as 35%.

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard currently has a strong welcome bonus of 100,000 points (or more for Quebec residents), which equals 40,000 Avios.

Marriott Bonvoy points, Amex US MR points, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be converted to British Airways Avios, but all three of these currencies generally command higher value through other redemptions, so I wouldn’t recommend using them for Avios when there are cheaper earning methods out there.

Consider Waiting for an Iberia Avios Promotion Instead

Sometimes, purchasing Avios from Iberia is a better deal than buying from British Airways. Points can be transferred easily between the two at 1:1 if both accounts have been open and active for 90 days.

Iberia also offers bonuses on Avios sales of up to 50%. Unfortunately, there is currently no promotion.

While prices are the same in theory, the biggest advantage of buying from Iberia is that the pricing is based on which website you’re on, not which country your account is registered in. That means Canadians can take advantage of lower pricing, which is normally only available to Europeans.

Previous Promotions

As you decide whether this promotion is a good opportunity for you to meet your travel goals, here’s a look back at British Airways’ past bonuses on purchasing Avios:

Bonus

Start Date

End Date

50% more purchased Avios

December 10, 2021

December 19, 2021

50% more purchased Avios

August 19, 2021

August 30, 2021

Up to 50% more purchased Avios

June 21, 2021

July 4, 2021

50% more purchased Avios

March 29, 2021

April 11, 2021

30% more purchased Avios

December 18, 2020

February 2, 2021

Conclusion

British Airways Avios is currently offering a 50% bonus on points purchased from the program.

However, with so many different credit cards to earn Avios, and frequent points-purchase promotions with a similar bonus, I would only take advantage of this opportunity if I had an immediate use lined up and if buying Avios was cheaper than making the same booking with cash.

If you are interested, the deal is live until January 19, 2022 at 23:59 BST, so be sure to buy by then.

This is a recurring article, regularly updated with the latest promotion. Some comments may refer to past promotions that are no longer available.

11 Comments
  1. Canuck

    British Airways Avios:
    When I first got into points and miles I did this with British Airways Avios and thought it was the cat’s meow because I could fly business class, but I soon realized how little I knew about this subject and realized that British Airways is not that great. First, the best use of BA Avios is often not with flying BA, although there are a few sweet spots. Their fuel surcharge costs are ridiculous and then they even charge you to pick your seat. To me, if you are going to purchase points/miles it is better to do it with something like Alaska Miles or Aeroplan when they have their huge bonuses. I mean you can fly to Australia/New Zealand for 60k Alaska Miles! Aeroplan will maybe once per year will have at least 100% bonus on miles purchased but that is rare.

    British Airways does not treat their customers well. I have several companion vouchers with BA. You have to spend 30k on a British Airways Credit Card in one calendar year to get these vouchers. That is not pocket change. In addition, you are restricted on flying with BA and you have to depart and return to a Canadian city. Recently, I had a voucher coming to near expiry date and I called BA several times asking them to extend this out because it was very difficult to fly at this time during the pandemic and over the last 2 years for obvious reasons. I explained the significant cost of 30k to get these vouchers, the pandemic, government travel restrictions and the restriction on the voucher itself in terms of using it to try and convince them that in GOOD customer service they should extend the expiry date of the voucher. I got a flat out NO.
    I would not give British Airways my money unless you were desperate to make a trip work and needed a top up of some Avios.

  2. Simon

    Does a purchase of Avios points reset the overall expiry date for the account? I believe points expire at 36 months, unless BA suspended this?

  3. Jason

    “RBC Avion points can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, with frequent bonuses…”

    I don’t think there have been any transfer bonuses for either AVION or HSBC in the past 12 months.

    Maybe something soon?

    1. Josh YVR

      HSBC did a 35% transfer bonus in November, but at this rate I wouldn’t get your hopes up until the pandemic is over.

  4. JohnAndos

    Waiting patiently for RBC Avion to have another 50% bonus.

  5. Mitch

    Buying miles during a pandemic is a sucker’s game. The end.
    Seriously that’s it. Don’t do it.

    1. Jay*

      Ymmv, depends how far out you plan for.

  6. jol

    I’m really sorry Josh for my mistake 😉

    1. Josh YVR

      Not a problem! It’s a bit of an adjustment seeing more names and faces on the blog 🙂

  7. JOL

    Hi Ricky! is it worthing paying RBC renewal fees in february and wait for transfer bonus to Avios or transfer now 35000 to Avios and closed the credit card? Thanks!

    1. Josh YVR

      Think of it this way: would you rather pay $120 now for the possibility of a ~10K (30%) transfer bonus, or $120 later for a new card bonus of 15K (maybe boosted, maybe first year free)?

      Unless I’m getting an ongoing benefit from the card, I prefer to keep my fees down and transfer points. There will always be opportunities to earn more in the future.

Josh Greenberg

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