As I wrote about here, the RBC Avion card has a little publicized transfer feature where you can move your points at a 1:1 ratio to British Airways, Cathay, and American. BA is offering a 50% bonus on transferred miles until January 31, 2011, which is a phenomenal deal. While BA may have some inflated award levels (270k first class to Africa vs AA 200), they do have some decent awards, like North America to South America for 80 and they also allow one way awards which include partners.
While the rules say RBC to British Airways transfers may take up to 4 weeks, in actuality they usually transfer in 2-3 days. While BA won’t let you hold awards (technically), they have pretty strong availability, especially in the first class cabin. And as we all know, I love am obsessed with their New First Class product.
Just make sure your RBC account name exactly matches your BA Executive Club account or else the transfer will get rejected. RBC is not like Amex where you can transfer to whomever you please. However, British Airways does let you set up household accounts, so if you and a couple friends want to pool miles for awards, simply change your addresses to the same one and create a household account. NOTE: once you are in a household account, you cannot redeem your miles for anyone outside of the “household”.
So go ahead and splurge on that First class ticket to Europe … as I always say, you only live once!