The start of a new year often heralds grand plans to improve your life for the better – and for some lucky premium bond holders, that dream may have come true earlier than expected.
The two winners of the £1m premium bond jackpot were revealed today, while an additional five people won £100,000 from NS&I premium bonds and a further 11 won £50,000.
Which? reveals the high-value prize winners and looks at the total prize pool.
Premium bond £1m jackpot winners
The capital had a lot to celebrate in the new year, with both jackpot winners living in the Greater London area.
The man from Croydon holds £20,000 in premium bonds and bought his winning bond (number: 097MC379479) a whopping 17 years ago.
The other winner, a woman from Inner London, holds the maximum of £50,000 and has owned her winning bond for almost 14 years.
But while the million-pound jackpot tends to grab attention, these weren’t the only life-changing sums awarded by the NS&I this month.
- Find out more: our guide to premium bonds
High-value prize winners
NS&I handed out 3,213,040 prizes in total in January.
Among these were five winners who were awarded £100,000 each, including another lucky London resident.
A further 11 people kicked off their new year by winning £50,000.
You can see the full list of the high-value prize winners below.
If you look at the winners each month, you may notice that the number of high-value prizes fluctuates – some months, for example, eight people have won £50,000, whereas this month 11 did. So, how does the NS&I decide how many prizes to give out?
The number of big prizes depends on how much is in the total prize pool.
Each month, NS&I allocates 5% of the total prize pool to the ‘higher-value band’, meaning prizes worth more than £5,000.
There are always two £1m prizes, and the rest of the funds are divided evenly between the £100,000, £50,000, £25,000, £10,000 and £5,000 categories. So, for example, if £430,000 is allocated to the £100,000 prize category, there’ll be four £100,000 prize winners and the remainder will go to the £50,000 category.
- Find out more: five alternatives to premium bonds
How large is the total prize pool?
The total prize pool was worth £91,839,350 this month, hitting a new high. But its value can fluctuate, depending on how many people buy bonds and what the current ‘prize fund rate’ is.
The prize fund rate, which is set by NS&I, shows your expected return over a year if you have ‘average luck’. NS&I will adjust the value of the prizes it gives out to ensure the prize fund rate is accurate.
On 1 December 2017, the prize fund rate was raised from 1.15% to 1.4%. This caused the prize pool to jump in value by more than £5m and it’s only increased since then.
By contrast, reducing the prize fund rate can decrease the value of the total prize pool. In May 2017, NS&I dropped its prize fund rate from 1.25% to 1.15%. From one month to the next, the value of the pool fell from £70.8m to £65.8m – even though the number of prizes increased.
- Find out more: NS&I hikes prize fund rate on premium bonds