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Reminder: Last Opportunity to Transfer American Express to British Airways Miles at a 50% Bonus!

by on July 30, 2011 · 39 comments

in American Express, British Airways

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Just a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Sunday July 31, 2011, is the last day to take advantage of the American Express to British Airways transfer bonus. I’ve highlighted the British Airways Executive Club program details in a 10 part series and compared it against Delta, but if you have any lingering questions that are keeping you from pulling the trigger, feel free to comment below and either me or other savvy TPG readers will chime in to help you make your decision.

In general:
1) Redeeming awards to Europe – even on partners like American, will be expensive.
2) The best BA awards (in my opinion) are single partner awards within the US (25k/50k/75k) on American or Alaska, or South American (40k/80k/120k) or Asia 50k/100k/150k).
3) BA allows one-way awards – even on partners.
4) BA has very generous award routing and stopover rules. You can stop as many times as you want – even on one-way awards! So for example, for 100,000 miles you can fly business class US to Asia. If you split it into two one-way awards, you could fly Cathay Pacific on the outbound, you can stop for however long you want in Hong Kong, before continuing on to another destination like Bali. Then you buy a cheap ticket from Bali to Singapore and if you fly Japan Airlines on the return, you could fly home from Singapore to Tokyo, stop for however long you want, then Tokyo back to the US. So essentially, you just visited 4 cities in Asia and flew business class for only 100,000 miles. Taxes on those awards are cheaper than taxes to Europe – it depends on the carrier, but think around $300 – not bad, especially for business or first class itineraries.
5) BA has four award charts, but I only ever use the single partner award chart (which is easier for me since I live in NYC and most partners fly here).

To read more, check out these posts.

Amazing Deal: 50% Bonus on American Express to British Airways Point Transfers
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.

In general, I think the 50% transfer is a phenomenal deal, but only if you understand the program first!

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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  • JMSL

    How often do these BA transfer bonuses come up? Would you expect them to run a similar promotion sometime within the next year or so?

  • greek2me

    Thanks Brian. Love the Asia idea on Cathay one way and JAL the other. I’m in!
    Can you or readers help answer these questions re #4 before I do the transfer tomorrow.

    My plan is to book a 4-6 week long trip for wife and I from NYC to Asia some time in Feb-Apr.
    I want to maximize the places seen on the award, effectively making it a mini-RTW ticket

    Currently thinking:
    Cathay outbound JFK-Vancouver (stopover allowed there?)-HKG (stopover)- Bangkok
    (then pick up cheap intra-Asia flights to see other spots in Thailand, etc once in Asia)
    JAL return from Singapore (or somewhere else in Asia?)- Tokyo (stopover)- JFK.

    1) Is it worth spending 150k BA miles per ticket to do in First vs the 100k in Business?
    2) Is there any way to fit Hawaii into this- wife never been and dying to go?
    3) Can we stopover in Vancouver as well as Hong Kong on the outbound? I’ve seen conflicting reports.
    4) Are there other originations on JAL besides Singapore (been there already) that work for the return?
    5) Any tips beyond these cities on where should I visit once in Asia?

  • Anonymous

    Stopover def allowed in Vancouver! I recently did that on Cathay and will be posting a trip report soon.
    Your itinerary looks good.
    1) I’d splurge for first if you have enough miles. With that much travel, I think its worth it if you value luxury flying
    2) Unless you want to fly American, I’d save Hawaii for another trip
    3) Yes you should be able to. Stopover rules just say it needs to be most direct routing, which obviously Vancouver is since Cathay stops there en route!
    4) Anywhere in Asia that JAL flies to!
    5) I’m planning an extensive Asia trip as well. I’m planning to do Chang Mai, Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh..and also doing Shanghai/ Hong Kong, Bali and maybe even Hainan Island. So many options!

  • Anonymous

    BA has only been a partner for 2 years. 40% was the highest before this. I think 50% is as good as it gets, but I’ve been surprised more than once before! I think they are creating lots of excitement before (and probably shortly after) Continental leaves the program to make people forget there will be a significant partner missing. Just my humble opinion- I’m hoping for more bonuses, but you just never know.

  • Paul

    Brian, for the way back from Asia, would this be a permitted routing? – SIN-SYD-LAX (all by Qantas)

  • Eric

    I am gone back and forth on transferring enough to top off my BA account to 200k so I could get two business class seats somewhere. I think Bali would be my first choice. Could I do Miami to Bali RT on 200k?

  • Brian

    Brian,
    My Asia trips are all booked up, I have two right now and have been 5 times in the last 6 years, so I don’t expect to be going again too soon. I also have a trip to Paris on the books. (all on miles BTW). I thinking of a road trip Lisbon/Mardrid/Barcelona next but other than that nothing. The question is if I should transfer miles or not, I have 105K from the BA promo. Do you think I can even get to Lisbon on BA?

    There are two reasons I can think of to transfer; because it’s a good value (but with no plan in hand to use them) or because I could use them for Lisbon and then Buenos Aires which would require more than I have. Do you think that a transfer just because it is a good deal makes sense? I’m leaning away from that, but towards Buenos Aires. My other resources are 150K AA and 100K Sappire.

    Thanks for the advice,

    Brian (J)

  • INTYO

    I’ve tried posting this question on FT but no replys. I live in Japan can I use a BA on CX
    nrt-hkg-lax?
    Many thanks for your help!

  • federico vaca

    Do you have some AA miles? from BKK to BOM is 45k/60k/90k (YJ) RT or you can go to SYD for 50k Y, 70k J or 90k F, something like

    BKK-SYD on Qantas/BA for 25k/35k/45k AA miles (YJF)
    SYD-AKL on Qantas for 10k/17.5k AA mies (YJ)
    AKL/SYD-SIN on Qantas/BA for 25k/35k/45k AA miles (YJF)

    4 weeks in Asia and 2 weeks in Australia could be my choice, you can use BA miles and stopover SYD-AKL, 50k/100k (YJ), in both cases you can fly on the new A380 ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Federico-Vaca/785939524 Federico Vaca

    I’m 100% that you can’t get that route… SIN is Far East zone and SYD is South Pacific, if you check LAX-HKG-SIN and compare to SIN-SYD-LAX is more than 25% (they have a limit on awards).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Federico-Vaca/785939524 Federico Vaca

    Yes you can

  • Brian Lockhart

    I’ve seen some past comments that people have been able to secure BKK-DEL(stop)-HKG-YYZ (or wherever you are I guess) for 25k points just that one leg. Now DEL falls into a different zone (and is technically backtracking away from HKG), but Cathay flies this entire route. Is this kind of a fluke that people are getting for only 25k economy because a flight from BKK-HKG isn’t popping up and the agent offers it, or can I legitimately ask for it?

    Of course if you REALLY want to press your luck, SIN-BKK-DEL-HKG-YVR-X on Cathay would be crazy.

  • MJ

    I’m new to the word of savy point usage, but when I went online to check the points needed for the US (LAX) to Hong Bali and then back from Singapore to US (LAX), I came up with a much higher total. In fact, I checked on Cathay and couldn’t even get Cathay as an option — I got American (??!!) but then got an error message. I even tried a simple RT from LAX to Hong Kong on Cathay as well as LAX to Narita on Cathay and got 120,ooo miles for each instead of 100,000. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!!!

  • Federico

    US-EZE 20k BA
    EZE-MAD(stopover)-LIS 35k BA (IB flight)
    LIS-US 30k BA or 20/30 AA

  • tassojunior

    If you have trouble linking do this asap:

    I had to phone MR at 800.297.3276 as my attempts to link BA were unsuccessful and MR will lock you out for 24 hours after a very few tries. They got BA on line and only solution was to open a new BA account with just first and last names, link it, transfer miles to it then have BA combine accounts into new one and have Chase change BA ff#.

    MR explained international airlines can be very troublesome to link if exact name doesn’t seem to match.

  • tassojunior

    If you have trouble linking do this asap:

    I had to phone MR at 800.297.3276 as my attempts to link BA were unsuccessful and MR will lock you out for 24 hours after a very few tries. They got BA on line and only solution was to open a new BA account with just first and last names, link it, transfer miles to it then have BA combine accounts into new one and have Chase change BA ff#.

    MR explained international airlines can be very troublesome to link if exact name doesn’t seem to match.

  • Karan Kchopra

    Im going to be bold and say it’s worth it to take the full 60k points advance and shift it into BA if there’s any chance you will spend enuf this year. You have to call 2 do it though. 1800 345 AMEX

  • Thumbelina

    Thanks for reminding me to apply for the platinum card. Did so and just got approved. One question: does it have primary payor for car rental liability (vs CDW) like the Diners’ card and the old Continental card?

    They also told me there was no foreign exchange fee for charging abroad. Is that also true?

    Thanks again!

    Thumbelina

  • greek2me

    Thanks for the ideas federico but we’ve toured Australia/New Zealand in past. I have been considering continuing on to India, but currently thinking there is plenty to keep us busy in BA’s Far East bucket (and without adding on the add’l 30k in biz each way to continue to India). But I have not 100% ruled it out!

  • greek2me

    Thanks! Great news re YVR stopover and anywhere JAL flies re option to Singapore. I can’t find a functioning JAL int’l route map in English on the web. Anyone got a link?
    Will hold off on Hawaii fior another time. I do have enough miles so leaning toward taking your advice and doing it in F. Re places to see- agree, sooo many options. Almost overwhelming, hence looking for all the advice I can get!

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  • Carl

    Already did mine using the additional 50k Amex Platinum bump and just waiting to hear from Chase regarding the Freedom and Sapphire applications, which would be an additional 70k, on top of the Chase BA 100k.

  • Paul

    Federico, that makes sense, and thanks for pointing it out.

  • Anonymous

    The Amex car insurance is secondary- they will pay for any accidents, but it does not cover you for liability.
    And yes, the Plat card has no foreign transaction fees, so charge away! :-)

  • Anonymous

    What website were you using? Cathay? You have to use Britishairways.com and often there isn’t availability so you need to be flexible. I outlined how to book a partner award on britishairways.com here http://thepointsguy.com/2011/04/how-to-use-british-airways-miles-post-2-booking-a-lan-award-jfk-lim/

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never tried booking SIN-BKK-DEL-HKG-onward. Interesting, though! let me know if you ever book it

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Federico. In general I don’t recommend using BA for European trips- especially not in coach. However, the South America options are amazing- 40k roundtrip coach or 80k in business- with multiple stops and low fees.

  • Anonymous

    You couldn’t do Miami to Bali because Cathay doesn’t fly to Miami (and the 100k awards are for travel on only one partner airline). You’d have to get yourself to a Cathay gateway, like NY/Chicago/Toronto and then fly them to Bali via Hong Kong there.

  • ron b

    So I’m a little confused – I’ve got an Amex card that gives me AA miles – that’s not what we’re talking about here, right? There are some specific AmEx cards that have their own rewards system or something?

  • Anonymous

    Correct- the Amex Platinum/ Premier Rewards/ Gold/ Green and some corporate cards allow you to accrue Membership Rewards points which can then be transferred to specific partners. From time to time they run bonuses, like this 50% one to BA.

    You should look into the program. Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket and only earning AA miles, you should accrue points that are transferable to all three alliances and give major bonuses.

  • Federico
  • Federico

    Go to http://www.jal.co.jp/en/
    then –>International Flights–>Route Map (disable your pop-up blocker)

  • ron b

    Got it. And yeah, I have a similar thing already with SPG and Capital One I guess. Have you ever done a post that compares these various non-specific rewards options?

  • M J

    Thanks! 20+ years of school and I’m still on a learning curve! It’s a real education reading up on your posts. I shudder to think of all the years I wasted just racking up points for Home Depot, restaurant, and Am Ex gift cards to give away to family and friends without taking into account how to get the best bang for my charged buck. I have 2 Marriott timeshare weeks, a ton of Marriott points, some SPG points, love to travel comfortably, so getting upgrades or free tix would be great!

    PS — as Karan reported above, you will have to call in to make the Am Ex to BA points transfer as there’s a glitch in their online system (at least as of this a.m.). I transferred 74K points online (for 111K BA) and, just in case I can’t figure out how to get an Asia RT with 100K, I went ahead and transferred 30K Marriott into 10K BA points for a total of 121K BA. I’m ready!

  • Dewhit6959

    There is a lot of fine print in the master rental agreements concerning primary and secondary coverages. I do not believe there are any credit card companies that provide primary coverage any longer UNLESS a seperate rider has been applied and paid for. Employee’s on company business may even find that the credit card coverage would only apply after their personal primary coverage has been exhausted and the corporate liability coverage for employee sanctioned travel put on notice in the case of severe claims.

  • Angel

    Just an FYI – As of August 1st, the 50% promotion still works! I just transferred another 80K Amex MR (120K BA). I had to borrow 60k points from Amex, so I called in and event the MR agents still see that. I was afraid it was only a web site glitch but it looks like they still have the promotion going on which makes me think BA might extend it…..In any case, 50% bonus is great so HURRY UP!!! :)

  • Pingback: American Express -> British Airways 50% Transfer Bonus Still Live | The Points Guy()

  • Kris

    Is BA still offering 50% more mils transferred from AX Members Rewards?

  • Anonymous

    No

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