Reminder: 40% British Airways Amex Transfer Bonus Ends 3/31/11

by on March 25, 2011 · 16 comments

in American Express, Cathay Pacific, Credit Cards

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Just a friendly reminder that you have one more week to take advantage of the 40% Amex Membership Rewards transfer bonus to British Airways.

I just took advantage of it last night. I am going to Vancouver in June for the 2011 Travel Bloggers Exchange conference and flights were all $500+. Worse, flying Delta would have forced me to connect in Minneapolis or Salt Lake – wiping out nearly two whole days that I’d rather spend exploring Vancouver.

Instead, I decided to take Cathay Pacific from JFK-YVR nonstop (that flight then continues onto Hong Kong) because the flight times are ideal – an evening departure and redeye return, so I can maximize my time in Vancouver. The roundtrip in business class cost me a grand total of 50,000 British Airways miles and $85 in taxes, which came to just 36,000 Amex points with this transfer bonus.

I priced out the flight and if I wanted to buy business class, it would have cost: Total Price: USD 4,533.29 – per adult.

So 36,000 Amex points and $85 got me $4,533.29 in flights. Granted, I never would have paid that much, but you get the point. Amex points have unbelievable value when transferred into airline frequent flyer programs – especially when you can take advantage of transfer bonuses and you redeem for premium cabin travel.

If you don’t have an Amex card, the most generous sign-up bonus right now is the Amex Platinum 50,000 points after spending a mere $1,000 within 3 months. Full disclosure – I get credit whenever you sign up using that link, but it’s the best deal out there and I have personally benefited from having this card, so I feel confident endorsing it.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Tim

    Wow you are savvy in knowing what points / miles from what card and airline to use to maximise your $ return!
    I would never have thought you could fly cathay from NYC to Vancouver. And never thought to transfer Amex>BA>use for Cathay to fly to Canada!
    I just applied for and received the Continental 50,000 miles card on your recco – to merge with my UA points.
    Now I want to get the Amex Platnium too.
    Other than BA or Continental – what are some of the most attractive transfer options from the Amex card do you think Brian?


  • The Points Guy

    Tim- it depends on the type of ticket you want. The 50% + 25,000 MQM Delta transfer bonus (good until May 31) is pretty attractive right now, though you need to understand that redeeming Delta miles is generally harder than most.

    Otherwise, the strength of having Amex points is the flexibility in transferring to any alliance at any time given your travel needs. My BA transfer went through instantly- as do most (except ANA and Iberia).

  • Nathan

    I’m sure that Plat Amex is nice to have, but $450 annual fee!! Sheesh I’ll have to pass on that one for now, but more power to those who earn enough miles to make it worth it…

  • The Points Guy

    Nathan- the 50,000 Amex point bonus alone is conservatively worth $1,000, so its a no brainer for the first year because you also get a ton of other benefits like $200 in fee rebates and extensive lounge access. I agree that its a steep fee, but its worth it- at least for the first year.

  • Nathan

    Yeah, I guess the miles are worth that, but considering some of the other recent cards I’ve received like Citi AA 75k Amex with no first year fee, (which I already got two Roundtrip SEA – CDG tickets for next month 40k/ea!) it just seemed steep.

  • Tim

    Thanks Bryan

    I fly United and need to keep my status with the. So Delta MQM is not of too much interest to me. But 50,000 Amex is good for 50,000 CO miles which can become UA miles for upgrades and a good chunk of miles toward an award ticket to Europe or Oz.


  • t

    when is that amex plt bonuns supposed to post / i received the card months ago (thru your link)… as the first plat card on the account, have spent way beyond the threshold, and still havent received the bonus?

  • Kim

    Hi Brian,
    I”m going to Spain in March 2012. Home airport is BOS. We may be flying into BCN or AGP if we decide to focus on southern Spain for the week. I am gold SPG and wonder if I should move some points into BA before March 31? You seem to know the options for Spain pretty well. Is having points in BA be a good bet? I’d be looking to ether upgrade two coach tickets or snag two biz award seats next year and wonder if making this move now is wise. The flights are not up for March 2012 and I have no idea about best options to Spain. Only modest biz travel during the year but lots of AMEX activity. SP status on US.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Just registered for the seminar in NYC on April 30 so I can get a better handle on how to earn and maximize points.

  • Lisa

    Hi Brian,
    I have taken advantage of this BA promo once for 2 specific tickets on AA. I really think because of the size of the bonus, I want to transfer another chunk of MR to hold in my BA account. (I am thinking 144 MR’s). I know most people say not to transfer unless you have specific flights etc. I would appreciate your thoughts.
    Thank you.

  • The Points Guy

    @Tim- Right- until Sept 30 Amex-> Continental -> United, so take advantage of it.
    @Kim- BA points are good for upgrades and awards, so I think thats a decent choice. If you wanted straight up business class awards, I might recommend doing the 50% Delta transfer- they now have flights BOS-London and Paris and you can easily connect from there to Spain. With the 50% bonus, 100,000 miles business class awards are only 68,000 Amex points- a stellar deal. While Delta awards can be tricky, I’ve gotten a lot of availability out of Boston whether on Delta or Air France. Lets meet up at FTU!

    @Lisa- While its good to keep miles in Amex because they are flexible, its also good to take advantage of transfer bonuses while they exist. BA has only been a member for a year or so, but 40% is very generous in my opinion. So if you have plans to fly Oneworld (AA, BA, Cathay, etc) I think its smart to transfer to BA. They allow one way awards even on partners and as long as you don’t fly BA, the fees are reasonable. If you do redeem for BA, be prepared to pay $500+ for a transatlantic premium class award

  • narikin

    Nice one with the Cathay to Vancouver on BA miles. good call. I just transferred 100k of my miles to BA, 140k miles. Thank you very much Amex.

    There is an argument for getting the Amex platinum, hit the qualifying spend, see the miles post and shutting it down. (assuming you have some other Amex card to keep the miles, or have transferred them) You might get a partial refund of that HUGE fee, and…. in 2 years can apply for whatever that Platinum offer is then (another 50,000?) so in a way, shutting it down right away may be worth an extra 25,000 points, especially if you can’t utilize the $200 luggage rebate – a very restricted list of airlines – and don’t use the lounge access. ( I find all those ‘free extras’ very hard to realize, as I fly out of the US mostly, not around it internally)

  • Cricket

    Hi Brian,
    I’m looking at the possibility of buying 2 tickets to Marrakesh, Morocco sometime this fall or next Spring. I have Amex points but would rather save them for a future trip. I also have 80,000 AAdvantage points (thank you for the credit card heads up! my 80,000 includes those points) and scattered other points (small amounts). Is there one airline I should really look for this trip? The BA deal looks good and the Delta deal looks good. I’m willing to use Amex points in these cases because seems like a bargain. But I don’t know about availability, and like you said – some airlines are easier than others to get rewards tickets through. I know I could save some points by using points to fly into Europe (Spain, Portugal) instead of Africa, and I’m willing to do that and just fork over the money to fly down. What would you do?

  • Chris

    Do you know if there is a way to use American Airline miles with Asia miles to get a ticket on Cathay Pacific? Also, what is the most beneficial way to use the 50,000 member rewards points through Amex with Cathay Pacific?

  • The Points Guy

    Yes- you can book American airlines flights at I wrote a post about how to do it here:

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