Maximise Avios through the BA Shopping eStore (formerly Gate 365)
Many moons ago – November 2013 to be precise – it was announced that the online shopping portal British Airways eStore would be relaunched as Gate 365. Since then the British Airways shopping portal has lost its Gate 365 branding however remains an excellent place to earn Avios points on your everyday online spending.
The BA Avios shopping website can be found here.
This article has been prompted by a recent BA eStore purchase which earned me enough points for a return European flight – crazy, I know! I’ve been limping along with a laptop that’s served me well but should have been traded in a long time ago. With a number of posts recently lost due to the laptop crashing, I felt that a new investment was warranted, and with a current promotion of double Avios offered by Apple in the BA shopping eStore it seemed like a no-brainer to go for the new MacBook Pro.
Now the MacBook Pro isn’t cheap, with the entry-level 15-inch version retailing at an eye watering £2,349. It’s been on the ‘to buy’ list for years now and in the past I’ve got as far as the check-out page at apple.com but then chickened out. I suspect the thought of earning 6 Avios for every £1 spent finally pushed me over the edge, so I’m now the proud owner of a new laptop.
From this one purchase I earned a staggering 14,094 Avios through the British Airways Avios eStore but it doesn’t stop there. I made the purchase on my British Airways Premium Plus Card (reviewed here) which earns 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent providing a further 3,523 Avios.
Yes that’s right, from one purchase with the BA eStore UK I was able to earn a grand total of 17,617 Avios points. This would be enough to get two people return flights from London to Geneva or one person a return flight to the likes of Malta or Marrakesh! However I’d recommend combining the Avios with the points from 2 very generous credit card sign-up bonuses to give you enough points for 2 First Class flights – read our recent First Class review and step-by-step guide here.
The Basics – BA Avios Shopping (formerly Gate 365)
The BA Shopping eStore can be found here. Simply log in to your British Airways Executive Club account to view the various offers currently available.
Search for the retailer you were intending to use and then go to ‘shop now’.
The retailer will appear in another window and you’ll see in the URL that a tracking cookie has been enabled on your browser. When you head back to the BA.com shopping website you should see confirmation that the transaction has been successfully tracked.
As always make sure you’re not just spending for the sake of earning Avios and don’t forget to shop around to make sure that the retailers listed on the BA Executive Club eStore are genuinely the lowest price for the product you’re purchasing.
Also make sure to read the terms and conditions of each of the offers to avoid disappointment (painful I know but important!). Something I noticed on the Apple T&Cs was that recently launched products are not included. As such if you plan on making the most of the Apple double points promotion just double check that your product is included!
Special Offers Available on the BA Shopping Portal
As I alluded to earlier, there is currently an ongoing double points offer for 119 retailers listed on the BA shopping portal. The offer runs until 21 May 2019 and includes some of the following retail partners.
Similar promotions are run throughout the year, which are occasionally combined with entry into a draw to win Avios. The last British Airways eStore prize draw required a minimum spend of £50 with 3 x 500k Avios prizes on offer.
Increase the Avios Earned in the British Airways eStore by Using a Credit Card
As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to ‘supercharge’ your Avios earning through the British Airways shopping portal by choosing to use an Avios-earning credit card at check out.
The highest earning Avios credit card is the British Airways Premium Plus with 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on the card. Whilst the card comes with an annual fee of £195, this is partially offset by the 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months – boosted to 26,000 Avios using this link. The most attractive benefit of this card however is not the points-earning ability but the 2-4-1 companion voucher when you spend £10,000 on the card in a calendar year. This has the potential to save the holder over 100,000 Avios points as we discuss here – at a rough value of 1p per Avios point this benefit could be worth somewhere in the region of £1,000+!
If you’d prefer a free credit card, then the American Express Gold Card is likely to be your best choice. The card offers 1 Membership Rewards point (easily transferred to Avios at a rate of 1:1) for every £1 spent and a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 12,000 points using this link. You’ll also receive 2 free airport lounge passes. From year 2 a fee of £140 is charged at which point we’d recommend cancelling….
How Does the British Airways Shopping Portal Compare to Using a Cashback Site?
The British Airways eStore is effectively a cashback website but rather than paying out money as a reward it provides Avios. As such, let’s run a couple of examples to see whether the BA Avios shopping portal or a cashback website provides best value. We tend to use topcashback – sign up here.
Example 1 – My New Mac Book Pro
As we saw in the example above, I received 14,094 Avios for my £2,349 purchase. There is no definitive value of an Avios point – discussed here – however we would usually expect to receive roughly 1p per point when redeeming. An absolute worst-case scenario would be redeeming using the part pay with Avios function on the British Airways website at 0.55p per Avios point.
On this worst-case basis the 14,094 Avios would have a cash value of £77.52, increasing to somewhere in the region of £140.09 if redeemed for flights. This equates to a cashback rate of 3.3% to 6.0%.
Interestingly Apple no longer allows cashback websites to offer rewards for purchases through Apple.com. They do however offer cashback on refurbished products with topcashback offering 3.15%.
Example 2 – Booking a Hotel
Interestingly you can use the British Airways eStore to earn Avios on hotels through Booking.com. You’ll earn a healthy 8 Avios points for every £1 spent between now and 30 June 2019. This will drop down to 4 Avios from July. 8 Avios per £1 equates to a cashback rate of 4.4% to 8% depending on your redemption method, reducing to 2.2% to 4% from July.
This compares to a rate of 3% offered at topcashback. Clearly if you’re likely to redeem your points for flights you’d be far better off using the BA eStore over a cashback website. Don’t forget, if you were to combine with the BA companion voucher offered by the BA Premium Plus card you could effectively benefit from double the points earned…
What’s the British Airways Mall?
Historically the British Airways Avios eStore has been referred to as the British Airways Mall. This was at a similar time to the short-lived rebranding to Gate 365. Both names have now been dropped – thankfully!
Is there anything to watch out for?
Like with all cashback websites, the BA shopping eStore is dependent on the various browser tracking cookies functioning correctly. Some ad blocking software can affect these – I’d suggest speaking with the team at BA shopping if you’re concerned or have additional queries.
Let’s Wrap this BA Shopping Review Up
With the potential to earn enough Avios points from a single purchase for 2 return European flights, the BA eStore clearly has its benefits! When compared with other cashback websites the British Airways shopping portal fares well, partially helped by the current promotions being offered.
If you don’t use a cashback website for your online shopping, then the British Airways eStore would appear to be a no-brainer, and even if you do it’s likely to provide better value. As always don’t pay more for an item just to receive Avios (unless you’ve done all the maths). Happy Avios collecting!