British Airways Avios Launches Avios Subscriptions

British Airways Avios has come out with a new subscription model for buying Avios, in which the price per Avios comes out to an all-time-low price of 2.11 cents per point (cpp) (CAD) each.

Buying points won’t always be a good deal, but can be in certain cases, such as when topping up your account for a redemption or when booking a premium cabin award to shave hundreds off the cash price.

While Avios frequently puts on promotions for buying points, the new Avios subscription model is a cheaper but longer-term alternative to consider.

Buy Avios for 2.11cpp (CAD) Each

Styled as a way to “supercharge your Avios collection”, British Airways has launched a new subscription model in which you pay a certain amount, billed either annually or monthly, in exchange for having a fixed amount of Avios deposited into your account per month.

This subscription comes at slightly different price points depending on if you choose the annual or monthly billed plan. Here’s the annual pricing:

And here’s the monthly pricing:

The annual plan comes out to the best price here, as you’d be getting two months free in exchange for paying the whole year upfront.

Regardless of whether you choose the annual or monthly billing, Avios would flow in monthly. For example, under the highest-tier Adventurer plan for 200,000 Avios, this would be 16,667 Avios per month for 12 months.

The Adventurer plan for 200,000 Avios per year would be the most optimal one to sign up for, in order to unlock the buying rate of 1.53cpp (USD) per Avios, or about 2.11cpp (CAD) each.

Running the numbers, the monthly version makes very little sense at 2.41cpp (CAD) per point purchased, compared to regular buying Avios promotions in which you can acquire Avios at rates as low as 2.3cpp (CAD) each.

It’s also worth noting that the UK version of the subscription represents a much better deal, with each Avios costing £0.89 or 1.37cpp (CAD) each. This is a very attractive price to scoop up Avios, considering our current valuation of 1.9cpp (CAD).

Just like one-time purchases of Avios, the currency you buy in is automatically set based on the country your British Airways Avios account is registered in, so Canadian accounts will be billed in USD according to the USD dollar amounts. 

Should You Buy Avios with a Subscription?

North American or UK Avios accounts can earn Avios at an acquisition price of 2.11cpp (CAD) or 1.37cpp (CAD), respectively. While these rates can be attractive if you were to subsequently redeem Avios for higher value, they’re perhaps not significant enough to pre-pay for an entire year of 200,000 Avios upfront. 

Ultimately, signing up for an Avios subscription would only be recommended if you’re aiming for the Avios program’s high-value sweet spots, where buying points can represent a discount compared to the cash price:

  • Maximizing sweet spots with direct flights on partner airlines such as Toronto–Dublin on Aer Lingus from 50,000 Avios one-way
  • Transferring British Airways to Qatar Airways Avios to book Qatar Airways Qsuites award flights
  • Short-haul Oneworld flights around the world
  • Booking a multi-carrier award for up to eight stops around the world

However, the major caveat to be aware of here is that in order to earn the optimal rate of buying Avios, you’d have to pay the entire $3,069 (USD) or £1,789 (depending on the geography) upfront in exchange for 16,667 Avios per month for 12 months, for a total of 200,000 Avios.

While the acquisition price under an Avios subscription is cheaper than a one-time purchase, the counterpoint is that you wouldn’t receive the full Avios amount until 12 months later, when your travel goals may have evolved – or worse, the Avios program as a whole may have undergone a devaluation or two. 

Indeed, it’s most likely the case that earning Avios from credit card welcome bonuses would be a faster, cheaper, and more flexible option.

American Express Membership Rewards and can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, sometimes with conversion bonuses on top. Any of the Amex MR credit cards would therefore be a good choice, with the annual fees representing an opportunity to “buy” Avios at an attractive acquisition rate.

American Express Cards for Avios Redemptions

As a reminder, RBC Avion points can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, with a current 30% transfer bonus. Currently, personal Avion Visa credit cards are all offering an elevated welcome bonus of 55,000 Avion points upon spending $5,000 in the first six months if you apply before October 31, 2022.

The annual fee is $120, which makes the Avios acquisition 0.22cpp. With the current transfer bonus, the Avios acquisition rate would drop further to 0.17cpp.

Also from RBC, 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 an acquisition cost of 0.33cpp.

RBC Credit Cards for Avios Redemptions
Credit Card Best Offer Value
55,000 RBC Rewards points
$120 annual fee
55,000 RBC Rewards points $1,080 Apply Now
55,000 RBC Rewards points
$120 annual fee
55,000 RBC Rewards points $1,080 Apply Now
50,000 Avios $899 Apply Now
55,000 RBC Rewards points $826 Apply Now
35,000 RBC Avion points $525 Apply Now
20,000 RBC Rewards points
$120 annual fee
20,000 RBC Rewards points $280 Apply Now

Finally, consider the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, which currently offers 90,000 HSBC Rewards points in the first year with an annual fee of $149 for Quebec residents, equivalent to 36,000 Avios or an equivalent acquisition rate of 0.41cpp.

Those outside of Quebec can earn 60,000 HSBC Rewards points in the first year with an annual fee waiver and spending $6,000 in the first six months, which comes out to 24,000 Avios with no acquisition cost.

HSBC Credit Cards for Avios Redemptions
Credit Card Best Offer Value
Up to 80,000 HSBC Rewards points
First Year Free
Up to 80,000 HSBC Rewards points $724 Apply Now

Applying for any of these credit cards and earning the welcome bonuses would allow you to earn Avios for much cheaper than signing up for a subscription, and you’d be earning the Avios along the same 12-month timeframe, if not sooner.

The Avios subscription is therefore best-suited to those who’d prefer to earn Avios steadily at a reasonable rate without having to lift a finger. If you’re happy to take a more proactive approach and apply for a few credit cards in order to earn Avios at a much more favourable cost, then the subscription model should be thought of as only a last resort. 

Conclusion

British Airways Avios has launched a new subscription service to buy Avios, which offers a much more attractive rate of acquiring Avios than one-time Buy Avios promotions if you want to keep your Avios account topped up with minimal effort.

However, to unlock the optimal purchase rate of 2.11cpp (CAD) on North American accounts, you’ll have to pay annual $3,069 (USD) price upfront and receive 16,667 Avios per month for 12 months thereafter. Therefore, the subscription model wouldn’t work if you need a big chunk of Avios for an immediate redemption, and you’d be better served with a one-time purchase instead. 

Ultimately, there are so many different Canadian- and US-issued credit cards that earn Avios, which would represent a far superior earning opportunity in terms of both the cost and the speed at which you can rack up Avios.

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