Buy miles, get a date (76 miles per dollar)

While I’m not personally looking to buy miles or get a date, this deal may interest some readers who want one or the other, or both…

The British Airways’ Shopping Portal, Gate 365, is currently offering 76 Avios per dollar for Match.com.

76 miles per dollar

You’ll only earn Avios on your first time paid subscriptions, so I took a look to find the option with the largest initial out of pocket charge. That appears to be the 12 Month Bundle, which can be purchased for $197.88:

match-dot-com-12-month-bundle

If you start at the Gate 365 portal, click through to Match.com, and then buy the $197.88 package, you should receive 15,038 Avios:

76 miles per dollar

Of course, you can do this with any Match.com package, but 15,038 Avios seems to be the upper limit that a person can earn without creating multiple Match.com accounts (and I can’t promise that multiple accounts would work anyway).

Regardless of which package you buy, your cost in cents per Avios can be calculated: 100 cents / 76 Avios = 1.32 cents per mile.

If you were going to sign up for Match.com anyway, then obviously this is a good way to do it.  If you’re not particularly interested in that service, then its necessary to decide if it is worth doing for the Avios alone…

Is 1.32 cents per mile a good price compared to buying from BA?  Yes

British Airways will happily sell you Avios for 2.775 cents each.  That’s rarely a good deal.  Alternatively, when booking an award flight, British Airways will often let you pay part of the award with cash rather than with Avios.  This is an alternative way to sort-of buy Avios directly from British Airways.  The price you pay per point, though, varies.

Here’s an example one-way award flight from London to Amsterdam.  British Airways would charge only 4500 Avios + $55.71 in taxes and fees.

ba-lhr-ams-one-way-economy

Clicking on “continue” reveals a slightly adjusted price at 4500 Avios, and other price options:

ba-lhr-ams-one-way-economy-price-options

Paying fewer Avios with more cash is like buying those Avios.  So, we can calculate the “price” per Avios.  We could, for example, pay 500 fewer Avios and $10 more for the same flight. This is like buying 500 Avios for $10.  That comes to 2 cents per Avios.  By repeating the calculation with each option, we find that the best deal (if you want to sort-of buy Avios) is 3600 Avios + $68.09.  That option gives us a price per mile of 1.67 cents.

When I look at the same flight in business class, we find a similar pattern:

ba-lhr-ams-one-way-biz-price-options

The best of these options is in the middle (6500 Avios + $109.21).  This option saves 2,500 Avios at a cost of 109.21-69.21 = $40.  That leads to a cost of 1.6 cents per mile.

While this is hardly an exhaustive search, we can see above that BA will usually charge quite a bit more than 1.32 cents per mile to either buy Avios or to save Avios via a cash co-pay.

Is 1.32 cents per mile a good price in general?

As a rule, I don’t like to buy miles for more than a penny each unless I have a specific valuable use for those miles.  British Airways has a distance based award chart which usually results in short non-stop flights offering the best value.

The award flight shown above is a great example.  Via Google Flights, the cheapest one-way non-stop flight I could find for that particular day priced out at $293.  You could, instead, spend 4500 Avios + $53.09.  In this example, 4500 Avios produce a savings of $239.91.  That’s a value of 5.3 cents per mile!  And, it’s possible to find similar terrific value, not just with BA flights, but with OneWorld partners as well.

Unfortunately, for flights to or from North America, BA has eliminated their Zone 1 award pricing.  As a result, award prices start at 7,500 points for one-way for flights up to 1,150 miles.  Still, great deals can be had if you can find saver level awards on BA partners such as American Airlines or Alaska.

But, it is also true that terrible deals can be found.  For example, I found a  round-trip fare to London from Chicago for $786.  If I were to book the same exact flights with Avios, BA would charge 26,000 Avios + $722.33 in fees and fuel surcharges!  In this example, using Avios saves only $64 and results in a terrible per point value of one fifth of 1 cent.

To make a long story short-ish, yes 1.32 cents can be a great price for Avios, but it can also be a bad price if you use those Avios unwisely.

My Take

This deal isn’t for me, but if you’re short on Avios that you’ll use for a high value award, it can be well worth doing.  Or, if you really need a date, this is a nice way to earn miles along the way…

Oh, and if you do this, make sure to cancel before your subscription renews the following year!

 

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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