Earlier this week, British Airways offered a three day promotion for purchasing Avios points (their loyalty program currency). You have until end of day today February 25, 2015 to purchase the points with a 50% bonus, which could be pretty good for the right person.
One of the best sweet spots in the points and miles world is 4,500 Avios points for a short-haul flight on American Airlines or US Airways. Sometimes these quick flights can cost way more than they should, but fortunately the point value is extremely low with Avios! And since British Airways, American, and US Airways are all part of the OneWorld Alliance, you can use your British Airways Avios points to redeem on American Airline or US Airways domestic flights. FYI – You can also redeem for other OneWorld alliance partners internationally.
With that being said, sometimes purchasing Avios points to redeem for a “free” flight can actually be cheaper then purchasing the flight outright. With this current promotion, the straight forward way to purchase the points will cost you a minimum of 1.88 cents per point or as high as 2.4 cents per point. The more points you purchase, the less you pay per points. You can purchase up to 35,000 points during the calendar year and with this bonus that results in 52,500 points. This will cost you a total of $988 if you go all in.
With that being said, there is actually a cheaper way to purchase the points if purchased in Euros (thanks to this thread on FlyerTalk!). You’ll first need change your account settings and use a European address. With that being said, the British Airways site only allows you to change your address once every 6 months. So if you have changed your address recently you not be able to do this, or if you are looking to change it back immediately it will be months. So keep that in mind when determining whether or not this is worth it to you. If you are looking to purchase the maximum number of points it will cost you 661 euros which is equivalent to $750.06 based on today’s currency rate. That means you are purchasing points at 1.428 cents per point. This is significantly cheaper than purchasing in US dollars!
So is purchasing a points a good deal?
While I would NOT purchase points speculatively, if you know of a flight you need to take that has availability for point redemption, this might be a good option for you. As previously mentioned, short haul flights cost 4,500 Avios points one-way. Example flights include: New York to Toronto, New York to Montreal, Miami to Nassau, etc.
You’d have to purchase 3,000 points + 1,500 bonus to redeem for a one-way redemption flight. This will cost you $108 the normal way or even less with the roundabout changing address method. The more one-way flights needed the less expensive your cost will be since the price goes down as you purchase more points. So if the short-haul flight you are looking at is more then $108, purchasing points is a great deal! You will hardly find a flight from New York to Montreal at that price! And with flights to Toronto and Montreal you can use cash & points which actually makes the final price even less!
This could be valuable for all routes, not just short-haul options, so make sure to just do the math and see if it works for you. This is the cheapest option we’ve seen in a while for purchasing British Airways points.
If you are new to the British Airways Avios program, make sure to check out these posts learn everything you need to know:
- Earn Avios Points with the British Airways Credit Card
- Earning and Redeeming a British Airways Companion Ticket
- Canceling Flights Booked with Avios
- Creating a Household Account with British Airways
- Top 10 Redemption Opportunities for British Airways Avios Points