TPG reader question: Will buying Avios count towards the spend required to earn a Companion Voucher?
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Editor’s note: This article is part of a new weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com.
The British Airways Companion Voucher can be the most lucrative credit card perk available in the U.K. if redeemed correctly.
You can earn a Companion Voucher each year through the following minimum spends on your cobranded BA Amex card:
- The British Airways American Express Credit Card: £20,000 in each calendar year
- The British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card: £10,000 in each calendar year.
The spend is on a 12-month basis from your account opening and renewal date. It’s worth noting that you can only earn one Companion Voucher per 12 months from your renewal date (card year), and money spent beyond the required amount does not roll over.
Note that as part of the big changes to Companion Vouchers from 1 September, the spend required to earn a Companion Voucher on the no-fee British Airways American Express Credit Card is reducing from £20,000 per year to £12,000.
Even £10,000 per year can be a high amount to reach, especially if you are not travelling much right now. This brings us to this week’s TPG reader question, which was asked by Ken Howieson in our TPG U.K. Facebook lounge:
If you use your British Airways American Express to buy Avios points does that spending count towards your annual spending for a Companion Voucher?Ken Howieson, TPG reader
The good news is that buying any miles or points absolutely does count towards any spend required to earn a welcome bonus, anniversary bonus or Companion Voucher on any U.K. credit card.
You can buy miles and points directly in many loyalty programmes and these will code as normal purchases. At full price, it’s not usually a great deal because the cost of buying the miles and points is usually much higher than the amount TPG values them at. For example, if you are paying 2p per point to then redeem them for 1p in value, that’s a poor purchase.
Fortunately, loyalty programmes will often offer generous bonuses on purchased miles, which can reduce the cost significantly. For example, right now, British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios until 4 July 2021. This brings the cost down as low as 1.01p per Avios, which is a great deal considering we value Avios at 1.1p.
It often does not make sense to purchase Avios speculatively, as in, without an immediate use for them. This is because loyalty programmes can and do devalue their programmes without notice, which can make the points less valuable than you paid for them overnight.
However, in Ken’s case, this could make sense. If he is struggling to reach the spend required to earn his Companion Voucher, and presumably, he has a good use planned for his Companion Voucher, purchasing Avios would count towards the spend required.
It could also help to top up his Avios account if he’s a little short of Avios needed for that dream Companion Voucher redemption. If he used his Premium Plus Card, he would also earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent on purchasing the Avios as part of the normal per £1 earn rate for purchases. Unfortunately, they are processed by a third party so do not qualify for double the earn rate for purchases made directly with British Airways.
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