EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.
Just a couple of weeks ago we wrote a detailed analysis of three key good value ways to use British Airways Avios points to secure oneworld award tickets in the Asia Pacific region. Thankfully none of them actually involved flying on BA, which is a significant plus these days!
Where’s the value?
In case you missed it we talked about:
- Cheap tax-free domestic flight awards in Japan with JAL (here).
- Cheap Australia domestic and trans Tasman flight awards with Qantas (here).
- Good value Cathay Pacific award tickets across the region, including to Hong Kong and Bangkok from Singapore (here).
There were a few other gems in there too, like 10,000 Avios in Economy from Singapore to Colombo with Sri Lankan (KrisFlyer want 18,500 miles for the same route).
Do have a read of the full article if you’re interested.
British Airways occasionally offer a limited time bonus when you buy Avios directly from them (like most airlines, their regular purchase rates aren’t good value).
The current offer, which runs from today until 11.59pm BST on 6th August 2018 (6.59am on 7th August 2018 Singapore Time if you’re planning to cut it fine) gets you:
- A 20% bonus when you purchase 1,000 – 15,000 Avios
- A 30% bonus when you purchase 20,000 – 35,000 Avios
- A 35% bonus when you purchase 40,000 – 90,000 Avios
- A 45% bonus when you purchase 100,000 – 200,000 Avios
Since each purchase level within the bonus categories is tiered – simple valuations are a little complicated. We’ve done the legwork for you converting into Singapore cents per point, which works approximately like this:
- 20% bonus – 2.54 to 4.62 ¢/point
- 30% bonus – 2.26 to 2.31 ¢/point
- 35% bonus – 2.14 to 2.17 ¢/point
- 45% bonus – 1.99 ¢/point
At the top end there you’re buying Avios at exactly 2 Singapore cents each (for anywhere between 145,000 Avios and 290,000 Avios). That’s not an absolute steal, we value Avios at broadly the same rate we value KrisFlyer miles and that’s 2 cents each.
It’s our upper limit to buy and for Avios that’s no exception, so we’d only be interested in the 45% bonus tier and that means parting with a lot of cash (for a lot of points). This clearly won’t suit everyone so you should only consider it if you think you’ll get good value from such a large volume of Avios.
Alternatively if you think the cheaper tiers will still get you a good return from the points you might want to consider a smaller amount (though personally we think paying more than 2¢ per Avios point is not a good idea).
Remember the forex fee
Since you’ll be buying Avios in GBP if you take part in this promotion do bear in mind that you’ll take a slight hit in the forex fee levied when using your Singapore credit card, which brings us neatly on to…
Buying Avios directly from BA means your transaction will be processed by points.com, so you can earn the most extra miles for the purchase transaction by using one of the following Singapore issued credit cards if you can:
|Card||Miles per S$1||Notes|
|BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard||5.0||Only launched today (did you apply yet?), so not much chance of you receiving this card before this Avios promo ends on 6th August. If you do though it gets 5mpd on all overseas spend until 31st December 2018, with no cap.|
|UOB Visa Signature||4.0||4mpd on all overseas spend of at least S$1,000 in a statement period, capped at S$2,000.|
|Standard Chartered Visa Infinite
(see our review)
|3.0||For non-SGD spend, provided total card spend (any currency) is S$2,000 or greater in the same statement cycle.|
|UOB PRVI Miles (see our review)||2.4||All non-SGD spend.|
|OCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
|2.3||All non-SGD spend.|
We also understand the Citi Rewards Visa or Mastercard earns at the 10x bonus rewards rates (4 miles per dollar) on points.com transactions, though as we haven’t tried this do be cautious and don’t scold us if the bonus is not credited!
|Card||Miles per S$1||Notes|
|Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
|4.0||points.com transactions qualify for 10x Rewards Points (4mpd).|
Why we like Avios
- British Airways has an excellent online search tool to help you search for and book award seats on all oneworld airlines.
- One-way redemptions are permitted using Avios, even with oneworld and partner airlines.
- Avios points never expire, provided you have earned or redeemed at least 1 Avios point in the last three years your entire balance will stay ‘alive’. Buying Avios, like in this promotion for example, classifies as eligible account activity and resets the clock too.
- You must have at least 1 Avios in your Executive Club account to be able to buy Avios (if you’re setting up a new account, Mileslife is a good way to credit a small number quickly to qualify).
- There is an annual purchase limit of 200,000 Avios per member per calendar year (excluding the bonus) when you buy direct from British Airways.
- Cancellation of Avios award tickets comes with a £35 price tag per ticket (about S$63, or local currency equivalent depending on the currency the ticket was issued in).
- Most Avios redemptions (and subsequent cancellations) can be made online, though for some you will have to call. There’s always a BA Executive Club office open somewhere around the world and any office can help you manage your booking (there’s even one in Singapore with a local number, otherwise Skype is your friend).
- If you cancel an award ticket within 24 hours of flight departure, you will forfeit the Avios used for the redemption, so always make sure to cancel outside this window, as you clearly don’t want that to happen.
Certainly not for everyone, be sure to fully research Avios before committing to buying a large volume speculatively. Our article earlier this month is a good place to start where we gave examples of being able to achieve as little as 2 cents per mile but over 7 cents per mile in some cases even on short-haul Asia Pacific redemptions.
As always when buying miles or points it’s best to have a short-term idea of how you’re going to spend them rather than sitting on a stash for the sake of it, as devaluations can occur, partner agreements can change, and of course you always have the availability issue to contend with.
For those with a clear idea on what to do with their Avios though, this offer probably does represent good value.
Will you be buying Avios points in this promotion? Let us know in the comments section.
Hat tip to Head for Points for the heads-up on this promo.
(Cover Photo: Venkat Mangudi)