Two lucky premium bond holders became millionaires overnight as the winners of NS&I’s November prize draw were announced – and a record number of smaller prizes were handed out too.
While two bondholders took home a million-pound prize this month, the NS&I gave out a further 2,375,944 prizes worth between £25 and £100,000.
Here, we take a look at how many prizes have previously been awarded, and explain how the size of the pool is decided by the NS&I.
Triple coincidence for premium bond winners
One of the winners of the million pound prizes was a Cambridgeshire woman, who bought her winning bond (number: 235XY200329) in November 2014 – exactly three years ago.
This marks the third occasion this year that a jackpot winner has been announced on the third anniversary of buying their ticket.
The other million-pound winner was a man from Edinburgh, who bought his winning bond (number: 211HV345974) in September 2013.
The NS&I also awarded millions of other prizes to winners around the UK. The break-down of the prize pool for November is below:
How has the prize pool grown?
The number of prizes awarded by the NS&I has steadily increased over time, and hit an all-time high this month. Compared to November last year, the total number of prizes awarded has increased by 240,684.
But the total value of the prize pool has varied, depending on the prize fund rate set by the NS&I.
It’s important to note that the NS&I prize fund rate is not a guaranteed rate of return – rather, it predicts each bond’s likely winnings over the course of a year, assuming the holder has ‘average luck’.
The value of the pool last hit a high in April 2017, coming in at over £70.8m. The next month, the NS&I dropped its prize fund rate from 1.25% to 1.15% – and the value of the pool fell to £65.8m, even as the number of prizes increased.
Since the prize fund rate was dropped in April 2017, the value of the pool has been gradually rising again, though it still remains below the previous high.
How is the prize pool decided?
The size and value of the prize pool will depend on the amount of money invested in premium bonds each month. The NS&I then applies a formula to its prize fund to decide how to share out the prizes, while making sure the odds of winning any prize remain at 30,000 to 1.
Higher value band – awards above £5,000
Each month, 5% of the value of the prize pool is allocated to awards worth more than £5,000.
There are always two prizes worth £1 million. The rest of the 5% share is divided evenly between the remaining prizes in this band.
The NS&I then calculates how many prizes should be in each category, starting with the highest value of £100,000. If there is less than £250,000 allocated to the £100,000 prize category, there will be two £100,000 prizes awarded. Any leftover will move to the £50,000 category.
If there is more than £250,000 allocated, three £100,000 prizes will be awarded. This continues for the other high value categories.
Medium value band – awards between £500 and £1,000
The NS&I allocates 5% of the prize pool to the medium value band. Each month, one £1,000 prize is given out for every three £500 prizes. Any remainder is allocated to the lower value band.
Lower value band – awards of less than £500
Each month, 90% of the prize fund is allocated to prizes worth less than £500. The NS&I hands out an equal number of £100 and £50 prizes.
It also seeks to ensure to total the total number of prizes – including £25 prizes – is equal to the number of eligible £1 bond units, divided by the odds.
The NS&I reserves the right to reduce the number of prizes allocated to the medium or higher value bands in the event there’s a prize shortfall.