Should I sell my old Premium Bonds and buy a new set? I’ve won hardly anything and all the jackpot winners seem to have bought their bonds recently…

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I have kept a huge amount in premium bonds with National Savings and Investments for the best part of two decades. The returns I have are modest – odd little prize wins here and there.

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I was wondering if I should start again by selling my bonds. The new numbers seem to be more fortunate.

For example, I saw in the last draw that the two £1 million jackpot winners both bought bonds in 2021. Is there any benefit to redeeming my old bonds to refresh them?


In January 2000, there were 13.5 billion bonds eligible for the draw; In October 2021, the number of bonds eligible for the draw stood at 113 billion, which equated to an increase of more than eight times.

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Ed Magnus of this is money reply: With over 22 million people nationwide having premium bonds, many others may be pondering this question.

In this month’s premium bond draw, as you point out, prize-winning bond numbers worth £1 million were bought in January and February of this year – whereas the draw has been around since 1956.

Looking back on last year’s winners won’t ease people’s worries either.

Over the past 12 months, nearly half of the £24 million prizes were won by bond numbers purchased in 2020 or 2021.

Moving on to the stats, 17 out of 24 premium bond millionaires last year bought their winning bond numbers in the past five years.

premium bond winner

the prizeAreabond value
£1,000,000South Gloucestershire£2,000
£100,000West Sussex£49,990
More October 2021 winners

View the list of winners for October 2021

However, it appears that new premium bonds win more often, which may be because there are more of them in the monthly prize draw.

The number of eligible premium bonds has increased from approximately 63 billion to 113 billion since October 2016, indicating that although the final award favors those who have recently purchased, the number of new bonds does not necessarily increase. have any prejudice against

Chances of winning at least one prize
the prize£1 bond holding
£1 million1 in 56.54 billion
£100,0001 in 22.62 billion
£50,0001 in 9423 million
£25,0001 in 5385 million
£10,0001 in 1037 million

The fact that 42 percent of the latest 24 premium bond millionaires have bought their winning bonds in the past two years is not extraordinary at all.

As per NS&I data, 36.9 per cent premium bonds now available for draw have been purchased since January 1, 2020.

Not only has the interest increased, but the amount that can be kept in them has also increased significantly.

In 2003 this limit was increased from £20,000 to £30,000. It rose to £40,000 in 2014 and £50,000 in 2015.

The bond’s purchase date versus the rewards allocated to those bonds
decade of investment% £1 bonds in September 2021% Prizes Paid in September 2021 Draw

For someone who has held the same premium bond for the best part of two decades, it may seem like your luck is out.

But it may actually be because your chances of winning the eventual cash prize are decreasing as more bond numbers are bought by others.

A staggering 97.3 percent of available bonds have been purchased since January 1, 2000, and 85.4 percent of bonds have been purchased since January 1, 2010.

How are numbers drawn?

The fate of premium bond holders rests on the electronic random number generator called ERNIE 5.

Unlike previous versions, which used thermal noise to generate random numbers, ERNIE 5 is powered by quantum technology that uses light.

The new technology allows ERNIE 5 to generate lucky numbers for 53.5 million tax-free rewards, valued at £22.1 billion but in 12 minutes – 42.5 times faster than its thermal predecessor.

NS&I claims that each bond number, whether it contains 8, 9, 10 or 11 digits, has a different and equal chance of winning the prize, regardless of when it was purchased.

We spoke to a member of the team at NS&I to see if they could shed further light on our reader’s question.

Why do new premium bonds seem to be more fortunate?

An NS&I spokesperson replies: No matter when it was purchased, each £1 bond has an equal chance of winning a prize in each monthly premium bond prize draw.

If clients hold their bonds longer, the odds of winning each £1 bond does not change, the odds are currently set at 34,500 to 1 and the prize money rate is currently 1 per cent.

From January 2000 to October 2021, 399 premium bonds have become millionaires.

Of these millionaires, 70 had bought their winning bonds before January 2000.

The last time someone won a £1 million premium bond jackpot with a bond purchased before January 2000 was when an Essex man won it with a bond purchased in August 1999, investing £4,000 in premium bonds had gone.

The longest bond anyone has ever held before winning the £1 million jackpot is 16,587 days when, in July 2004, a woman from the London Borough of Newham in London won it with a holding of only £17.

The winning bond was purchased in February 1959.

This woman’s £17 is also the smallest holding ever to achieve the £1 million premium bond jackpot.

In January 2000, there were over 13.5 billion bonds eligible for the draw; In October 2021, the number of bonds eligible for the draw stood at over 113 billion – the equivalent of an increase of more than eight times.


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