Online shopping is one of those strange ways to earn lots of miles very cheaply. These portals, often run under contract by a third-party, run regular promotions that let you earn a certain number of miles or points for every dollar you spend. The British Airways shopping portal already had an unusually generous earning rate for collecting Avios when you subscribe to Match.com.
Now that they’re running a short-term promotion that offer has become twice as good. According to Frequent Miler you can currently receive 150 points per dollar spent, which works out to 0.67 cents each (yes, that’s $0.0067). If you maximize this offer you could potentially spend $548.57 and earn 82,286 Avios (or 82,350 if they round to whole dollars).
If you have trouble finding this offer, just list all offers and sort them by amount. I found Match.com on the second page. (Some offers are higher, but they are fixed. You want to find a deal that scales with the amount you spend.) Only first-time subscriptions are eligible.
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The promotion runs this weekend only, through March 5. Make sure you change your location to “USA” in case the site loads the United Kingdom page by default.
Once you click on “Shop Now” you’ll need to log into your British Airways Executive Club account (so they can track you and award your Avios) before reaching Match.com. Go through the sign-up process. On the payment page make sure you select a “basic” plan.
This will cost less at first, but you can add more features on the next page. If you make the mistake of a “bundled” plan all of these features will be included already. Remember you want to drive the price as high as possible since the Avios are only provided for your first subscription payment.
You’re not buying a dating service, you’re buying miles. At a very good price! Just remember to set a reminder to cancel your subscription (after the Avios have posted to your account) in order to avoid the automatic renewal.
Given my father used to work for Match.com, I wonder what he would have thought of this offer. Probably not much as had a couple hundred thousand Avios already and found it difficult to use the 2-for-1 companion fare that he earned with his British Airways Visa card. But this brings up an important point: cheap miles are not always a good deal unless you know how to use them. That’s why I wrote my guide to redeeming Avios and how to get lower fees on British Airways award tickets.
I think that 0.67 cents per Avios is still a great value. The British Airways website can find and book almost any partner award pretty easily, and economy class awards start at just 4,500 Avios. The program is distance based, charging for each individual segment, with multiples for business and first class. This can make travel very expensive in premium cabins or if you need to make a connection.
On the other hand, non-stop flights — especially in economy class — are ridiculously cheap. Just keep in mind that British Airways passes on any fuel surcharges imposed by the operating carrier, so you should try to book carriers that have low fees (like Cathay Pacific) or domestic flights that have no surcharge at all.
My favorite use of Avios is on domestic flights operated by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, and fortunately I live in an Alaska Airlines hub city. The problem is that Alaska Airlines flights do not appear on the BA website. You must call British Airways to book, hopefully after you’ve already found award space online. (I recommend checking the American Airlines website; BA reservation agents should see the same flights.)