Two lucky premium bond holders have started 2022 by becoming millionaires in January's NS&I prize draw.
The jackpot winners are from Hertfordshire and Lancashire, and both will get the top prize of £1m. Six other winners were picked for the next-best prize of £100,000.
Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, and also looks at who was luckiest in 2021.
This month, the two £1m jackpot prizes went to premium bond holders living in Hertfordshire and Lancashire.
The first winning bond (258VJ570205) was purchased in October 2015, and belongs to a premium bond holder in Hertfordshire who has a total holding of £50,000.
The second winner from Lancashire bought their winning bond (127VF630970) in May 2007. This is part of an overall holding of £30,000.
There were 3,352,872 premium bond prizes in the January draw, worth a total of £96,395,075. Of these, 3,344,955 were worth £100 or less.
|Value of prize||Number of prizes|
The map below shows where 2021's premium bond jackpot winners live in the UK.
The south-west of England saw the most jackpot prize winners in 2021, with a total of seven. South-east England was the next luckiest, with four millionaires being made there last year.
We usually see several winners in the East of England every year, due to the high number of premium bond holders living in this area, but there were none in 2021.
Unfortunately, there were no jackpot winners in Northern Ireland in 2021, and only one jackpot prize went to a premium bondholder in Wales back in August.
The map below shows the spread of all premium bonds prizes received throughout 2021.
As the map shows, when it comes to the overall number of prizes that were won last year - not just the jackpots - the most went to premium bond holders in south-east England and the East of England. This is in-line with the fact that these areas are where the majority of premium bond holders live.
The fact that so many jackpot wins went to people living in south-west England - which only received the third-highest number of prizes overall - speaks to what a lucky year it was for the jackpot winners living in that part of the country.
In addition to the prizes on the map, there were 550,977 prizes won by bond holders who are either living overseas or whose address is unknown.
According to NS&I data covering the whole of 2021, premium bond holders between the ages of 70 and 74 won the most prizes last year, bagging nearly 5.09m. This accounted for around 13% of the total number of prizes, as well as the prize value.
Premium bonds are likely to be more popular with older age groups, and older savers also tend to have more money to invest, which improves their chances of winning.
Indeed, those aged 70-74 hold more than 15.3bn £1 premium bonds, accounting for 13.2% of the entire number of premium bonds, totalling around 116.7bn.
Those aged between 60 and 64, and aged 65-69 collectively won more than £9.4m, and were the next-luckiest age groups.
As for the age group least likely to win a prize, this was 16 to 17-year-olds, who only won 0.3% of last year's premium bonds prizes, totalling 117,284. These prizes were worth nearly £3.4m.
The chart below shows the number of prizes won by each age group in 2021.
The chart below shows the year all of the premium bonds were purchased that were chosen for a jackpot prize in 2021.
The graph shows that a surprising six of the 24 jackpot prize-winning bond numbers were purchased during 2021. Five of these were purchased in February 2021 specifically; one saver who purchased premium bonds in February had become a millionaire by May.
But this doesn't actually mean that new bonds are luckier; it can just seem that way due to the fact that the savings product has maintained its popularity due to a period of poor savings rates being offered elsewhere. In fact, all £1 bonds that enter the prize draw each month have an equal chance of being picked.
NS&I data from March 2020 to October 2021 has shown that more than 2m premium bond prizes have been left unclaimed.
A prize is considered to be unclaimed if you haven't claimed it within 18 months - if you've opted to automatically receive your prize via bank transfer or for it to be reinvested, then you won't have to worry about having an unclaimed prize.
It can be an issue, however, if you've asked to be sent your prize via a cheque in the post and haven't given NS&I your most up-to-date address.
The table below shows how unclaimed prizes are spread out across the UK and overseas, using data from NS&I.
|Region||Number of unclaimed prizes|
|North East England||49,057|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||107,942|
In general, the more premium bond holders there are in each area, the more unclaimed prizes there are.
For instance, we know that south-east England is home to the most premium bond holders, so it makes sense that this is where 15% of unclaimed prizes are registered to.
London is an anomaly, home to the most unclaimed premium bond prizes but not the most premium bond holders. However, there may be more unclaimed prizes there due to the fact that people are more likely to rent and move home more often, therefore making it more likely that they haven't kept NS&I up-to-date with their current address.