Buy British Airways Avios with a 40% Bonus

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 40% promotion on purchased Avios.

Buy Avios with a 40% Bonus

From now until March 13, 2023 at 23:59 GMT, you’ll earn 40% bonus Avios when purchasing points directly from the program.

For this round, British Airways is offering the bonus rate as long as you purchase at least 2,000 Avios. This bonus is lower than the 50% bonus 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 2.6–3.8 cents per Avios (CAD) depending on how many points you buy.

At our current valuation of 2.0 cents per point (CAD), 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 40% promotion, you can therefore buy a maximum total of 280,000 Avios.

Which credit card should you use to buy Avios?

British Airways no longer uses 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 40% 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 2.6 cents per point (CAD), the break-even point for this ticket is $1,300 (CAD).

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 $338 (CAD).

Or perhaps you’d like to fly in one of the best business class products in the world, Qatar Airways Qsuites. Round-trip flights in business class price out at over $7,500 (CAD), but buying the number of points required for the same flights prices out at around $4,549 (CAD).

Book Qatar Airways Qsuites with Avios

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 280,000 Avios for $5,523 (USD). That would allow you to book:

  • A First Class multi-carrier award of up to 14,000 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 annual fees representing an opportunity to “buy” points.

American Express Cards for Avios Redemptions

Credit Card Best Offer Value

90,000 MR points

$499 annual fee

90,000 MR points $1,646
Apply Now

75,000 MR points

$199 annual fee

75,000 MR points $1,561
Apply Now

85,000 MR points

$699 annual fee

85,000 MR points $1,503
Apply Now

Up to 77,000 MR points

$99 annual fee

Up to 77,000 MR points $1,419
Apply Now

55,000 MR points

$250 annual fee

55,000 MR points $1,118
Apply Now

30,000 MR points

$156 annual fee

30,000 MR points $564
Apply Now

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 55,000 Avion points if you apply before April 30, 2023.

Also in the RBC ecosystem, the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card card can earn up to 50,000 Avios in the first year upon spending $6,000 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

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

$165 annual fee

50,000 Avios $899
Apply Now

55,000 RBC Rewards points

$399 annual fee

55,000 RBC Rewards points $826
Apply Now

35,000 RBC Avion points

$175 annual fee

35,000 RBC Avion points $525
Apply Now

20,000 RBC Rewards points

$120 annual fee

20,000 RBC Rewards points $280
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 often has a strong welcome bonus for new applicants, and makes for a useful card during your travels as it has no foreign transaction fees.

HSBC Credit Cards for Avios Redemptions

Marriott Bonvoy points, Amex US MR points, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be converted to British Airways Avios. Since all three of these currencies generally command higher value through other redemptions, 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’s past bonuses on purchasing Avios:


British Airways Avios is currently offering a 40% 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, act quick, because the deal is live until March 13, 2023 at 23:59 GMT, so be sure to buy by then.

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