Two lucky premium bond holders have started 2023 by becoming millionaires in January’s NS&I prize draw.
This month, jackpot winners are from South Yorkshire and Wiltshire, both receiving the top prize of £1m. In addition, 56 other winners were picked for the next-best prize of £100,000.
This is the first draw since NS&I announced it would increase its ‘prize fund rate’ from 2.2% to 3% – with an extra £80m added to the prize fund value.
Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, and looks at the luckiest places and age groups in 2022 – as well as which seems to be the luckiest year for buying premium bonds.
January 2023 winners
The first winning bond (461RN328709) was bought by a lucky winner living in South Yorkshire, and is part of a total holding of £4,625.The winning bond was bought in July 2021.
The second winner, from Wiltshire, has held their winning bond (399PD449641) since June 2020. They have a total holding of £50,000.
How many winners were drawn in January?
There were 4,986,706 premium bond prizes paid out in the January draw. Of these, 4,936,766 were worth £100 or less.
In total, these prizes were worth £299,202,350.
What’s changed in the January draw?
This month’s draw got an impressive boost after NS&I increased the prize fund rate to 3% – with an extra £80m added to the prize fund.
The prize fund rate refers to the average amount earned by all premium bonds over the course of a year, taking in the lucky few who win £1m and the thousands of others who don’t win anything at all.
Despite the extra money being given away by NS&I, the odds of winning any prize remain at 24,000 to 1. This is because of the reduction in the number of prizes worth £25.
There were 878,598 fewer £25 prizes in the January draw compared to last month, but there was a greater number of higher-value prizes. There were three times as many prizes worth £100,000, £50,000, £25,000, £10,000 and £5,000.
Where were the luckiest places in the UK in 2022?
The map below shows where 2022’s premium bond jackpot winners live in the UK.
The south-east of England saw the most jackpot prize winners in 2021, with a total of 10.
North-west England was the next luckiest, with four millionaires last year. There were no jackpot winners in Northern Ireland, Wales, the East Midlands or the North East.
How NS&I reveals prize-winner locations
When a lucky premium bond holder wins the jackpot, NS&I set some rules when revealing prize-winning locations to protect their anonymity.
Each customer is assigned a town, local authority, country or Government Standard Region and country.
When a winner is assigned to a town with less than 100,000 holders, the next-largest area is used until a level is reached where there are at least 100,000 premium bond holders:
This is why sometimes a bond holder will be revealed to be from a broader area such as Wales, rather than a local authority such as Wandsworth, Greater London.
For large towns and cities that are divided into local authorities or boroughs, NS&I will reveal the area with the fewest customers over the 100,000 limit.
And for premium bond holders that live outside the UK, it only publishes the country if there are at least 100,000 holders living there. If not, it will just say ‘overseas’.
Luckiest age groups in 2022
According to NS&I data covering the whole of 2022, premium bond holders over the age of 65 won the most prizes last year, bagging over 26m. These prizes were collectively worth £877m. The age group least likely to win a prize covered those under the age of 16: in 2022, young premium bond holders won 823,809 prizes worth a total of £27m.
The oldest age group also had the most jackpot winners, with 16 over 65s receiving £1m last year. They were followed by the second-oldest age group, with five premium bond holders from the 45-64 age group winning the jackpot last year.
There were three jackpot winners from the 25-44 age group, but no £1m wins for those aged 16-24 or under 16.
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.
Luckiest year for buying premium bonds
The chart below shows the year all premium bonds chosen for a jackpot prize in 2022 were purchased.
As the graph shows, five of the 24 jackpot prize-winning bond numbers were purchased during 2021.
However, this doesn’t mean that new bonds are luckier; it can just seem that way because 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.