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Until July 31, 2011, you can get a 50% bonus when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways. This is the best transfer bonus they’ve run in the short 2 year period BA has been a part of Membership Rewards. Most recently, they ran a 40% bonus, which I thought was pretty generous – 50% is even better if you know how to use British Airways miles properly. Another thing to note is that you don’t pay any excise fees on the transfer to BA, unlike the fees you get hit with when transferring Amex points to US carriers like Delta and Continental. However, you should be aware that BA charges hefty fuel surcharges on some flights, which I’ll outline below.
No registration is needed for this bonus because the bonus is hard-coded into the membershiperwards.com transfer portal (Use points -> Travel -> Airlines). However, the T&C state only one bonus per cardmember allowed, however last time they ran the 40% bonus I made several transfers and received the bonus on each, which is what I bet will happen this time as well.
“Get 50% more BA Miles when you transfer Membership Rewards points to your British Airways Executive Club account now through 7/31/11. Bonus Miles will be awarded with the original transfer. One bonus per Cardmember. Taxes, fees, charges & surcharges, including airline surcharges, apply. Visit ba.com for more details.”
If you haven’t done so already, take some time and read my series on British Airways miles. I cover most of the tips and tricks involved with maximizing British Airways award redemptions. General tips, Post 1 – Booking BA Awards, Post 2 – Booking Partner Awards, Post 3 – Oneworld Alliance, Post 4 – Taxes and Fees, Post 5 – Household Accounts, Post 6 – Companion Ticket, Post 7 – Using ExpertFlyer for Partner Award Availability, Post 8 – The Art of the Stopover, Post 9 – Leveraging Miles and Cash Redemptions, and Post 10 – Using Qantas.com to Find Oneworld Award Availability.
1) Don’t redeem awards on British Airways flights (high fees, $500-$1,300 per ticket)
2) Don’t redeem award trips to Europe (high fees, think $400+ per ticket, even on Oneworld partners)
3) The cheapest awards are domestic American Airlines awards, which come with $2.50 in fees per leg and only 25,000 roundtrip for coach, 50,000 for business and 75,000 for first. Also cheap are South American awards, which are usually $60ish per roundtrip – even for business class.
4) BA allows unlimited stopovers on awards, so add in multiple stops to maximize the value of your award.
5) BA has four separate award charts and when you mix more than one carrier on an award, expect to pay exponentially more. Keep itineraries to one carrier! British Airways Flights, BA + 1 partner, single Oneworld partner and multiple Oneworld partners.
6) BA Cash and Miles redemptions can be an amazing value – especially on coach awards.
7) BA allows one-way awards, even on Oneworld partners
8 ) You can use BA miles for awards not only on BA, but American, Cathay, Qantas, FinnAir, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Lan, Malev, Mexicana, Royal Jordanian, S7, Alaska, Aer Lingus and Kingfisher.
9) BA.com is quirky and will automatically try to route you through London, so use Qantas.com, AA.com or Expertflyer.com to search for partner award availability.
10) Some of the best redemptions are 40,000 mile coach awards to South America, including Buenos Aires/Brazil. That means only 27,000 Amex points will get you a roundtrip coach ticket and you can include multiple stopovers! AND you can even use less points if you use the cash and miles option. The same trip is 80,000 miles or 58,000 Amex points. Another one of my favorite redemptions is 100,000 mile (67,000 Amex points) to Asia in Cathay Pacific business class.