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(Update 9/14 – reposting as the last day to do this is Sunday the 17th so if you didn’t hear about this, or meant to do it but forgot, you have a few weeks left)
American Express is like Citi ThankYou points and Chase Ultimate Rewards in being called a “convertible” currency. The reason for that is that one of the most valuable uses of those points is that you can transfer them to a variety of airline, hotel and other travel partners.
I’ve transferred American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada before to get around the close-in booking fee that United charges.
Last week, American Express upped their regular transfer bonus to British Airways and Iberia. Whereas before it was 1000 Membership Rewards to 800 Avios, now it is 1:1 (technically 250:250), restoring the ratio to where it was a few years ago, and putting it on par with the 1:1 ratio between Chase and British Airways. Live and Let’s Fly had some good speculation as to why this was, including competition with Chase, American Express realizing they have a huge stash of Avios and nobody wants to transfer them for 20% fewer Avios
In any case, American Express frequently runs transfer bonuses to its transfer partners, and there is currently a 40% bonus from American Express to British Airways, even on TOP of the 1:1 ratio
American Express 40% transfer to British Airways
I learned from Doctor of Credit that American Express is offering a 40% bonus if you transfer your Membership Rewards to British Airways. You can transfer your Membership Rewards here on the Amex site (you’ll have to log in, of course).
You’ll also see the same 40% bonus on transfers to Iberia
Why British Airways Avios are good miles to have (even if you never leave the USA)
When I first started out in the miles and points world, I only focused on the US airlines since I was planning on domestic travel. What I didn’t realize is that because of airline alliances
When I did my first ever trip with miles and points (from Cincinnati to Miami), I used 20,000 US Airways miles to fly roundtrip via Charlotte
But if I had realized it, I could have used only 15,000 British Airways Avios to fly on the direct American Airlines flight to Miami, saving miles AND time.
It used to be that any flights under 650 flown miles cost 4500 Avios, but that has gone away in North America. It’s still 4500 Avios for those shorter flights in other countries, but if the origin or destination is in the United States, it’s a minimum of 7500 Avios (which is still often a pretty good deal)
Is it worth transferring to Avios?
American Express periodically runs transfer bonuses to British Airways and its other partners. 40% is as high as I’ve seen it before. That is not counting the 50% transfer bonus they did a few months ago when the ratios were lower which made it just an 20% increase. If you’ve got a need for Avios, now would be a good time to transfer. The transfer bonus ends September 17th.