Reminder: Amex 30% Transfer Bonus to British Airways Ends Today

by on January 31, 2012 · 20 comments

in American Express, British Airways

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Update: Because of technical difficulties, American Express is extending this transfer bonus opportunity to 11:59pm EST on February 1, 2012.

Today is the last day to take advantage of the American Express Membership Rewards 30% bonus on transfers to British Airways Avios points. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Amex points = 1,300 Avios points and they transfer instantlyNote: some TPG readers have reported getting an error message when they tried to take advantage of the transfer bonus; I’ve contacted Amex and confirmed that this should be fixed soon as the promotion runs through today. Update: This is now fixed.

Remember, you can transfer Amex points to anyone else, so this might be a good time to top up your family or friends’ accounts to get them to levels needed for awards. Amex will even let you advance points for free as long as you earn them back within a year – 15,000 for Premier Rewards Gold/ Gold/ Green and up to 60,000 points for Platinum. Remember, you can also set up a Household Account to pool your Avios points, which makes the logistics of booking travel amongst several accounts much easier.

The Avios program isn’t as bad as it may have gotten credit for recently, and I’m still going to use the program because there is value to be had, as I wrote about in a previous post.

Avios is a valuable program for last-minute redemptions since it doesn’t charge last-minute award ticketing fees, and expensive short-haul flights since it is based on distance and the number of connections, but sometimes those short flights from point to point are the most expensive. Just check out the hundreds of comments on my recent post where I asked for comments on best Avios redemptions – an overwhelming majority of TPG readers find great value in short haul redemptions.

Before you transfer, figure out if Avios will indeed make sense for your award redemption. Here is an award chart Avios released for Iberia flyers and I’m pretty sure these distance bands apply to all other Avios redemptions.

You can also use this calculator to figure out how much your trip will cost in Avios points. Note: You must price each leg of your itinerary individually.
A 30% transfer bonus isn’t huge, especially compared to previous Amex bonus transfers of 40% or even 50%, but if you have any last-minute or expensive short/medium-haul flights coming up, it makes sense to transfer some Amex Membership Rewards points to the program while the bonus is still good.

Note: Starwood Preferred Guest points transfer to British Airways at a constant 25% bonus per 20,000 points transferred and Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer at a fixed 1:1 ratio.

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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  • JA

    Would you transfer speculatively ?

  • Anonymous

    Depends on how many Amex points you have and where you want to go. If you think you’ll need short/mid haul redemptions, especially last minute, on American- then yes. If you want to go to Europe- no, because BA has huge fees on European awards.

    Its possible that BA could run another 40-50%, but who knows. Personally, I think 30% is a good bonus.

  • Rio

    I just tried to transfer my points but British Airways is not even on the MR page as of now. When I click the link, I get a message saying “reward not available”. Anyone else having issues?

  • Anonymous

    I’m getting the same error. I emailed my contacts at Membership Rewards to let them know. Hopefully it gets fixed soon!
    “The reward you requested is currently unavailable. Please search for similiar rewards or continue to search our online interactive catalog. Thank you. “

  • Raj

    I just took a trip using Avios on American, DCA-ORD-JAX round trip and i was charged 12000 miles each way. I do not see anywhere in the chart 12000 miles segament. Not sure how they charged my itinerary. Any comments?

  • Anonymous

    It calculates by segment. DCA-ORD is 4500 Avios and ORD-JAX is 7500 = 12,000 total

  • Maury

    I am also getting a message that BA is not available at the time to transfer.

  • Raj


  • Brandon

    I’m having the same issue – the Amex site is saying the reward is no longer available.

  • PJ

    AVIOS produce surprises
    this is a shoker DCA ORD is 4.5 K NYC-ORD 7.5K.
    IF you take a one stop AA flight EWR -ORD-LAX, it would cost 7.5K+10K versus non stop 12.5K
    My best redemption ever is PMC( Puerto Varas) SCL =4.5K +12.50 on line to travel on 4-29 ; an ongoing cash price would cost ~240 . The funny thing is after I booked two tickets , nothing available on nearby dates

    Would like to alert readers heading to South America: I believe LAN does not open certain routes to Avios ( I am watching IGR-AEP) until very close to departure days. There is no point to rush in a cash purchase since as of now the flight taking off in a few days ( and available for online booking with avios) costs as much as flight to leave 3 months down the road.

  • Rio

    I just had my points manually transfered by calling the membership rewards line directly. The number is 800-297-3276. The representative didn’t know why BA was not showing the 30% bonus online or even as a transfer partner at all! But the deal is still live until tonight at 12 midnight EST.

  • Jamison

    thx, just transferred 200,000 membership rewards to avois… now i can fly intraeurope for cheap and LAX-HNL for cheap ;)

  • Anonymous

    Amex just let me know that the deal is back online and due to the interruption it will be extended to Feb 1 at 11:59pm EST

  • James

    online transfers now working immediately- my points showed up in my BA account by the time I logged back in (2 minutes or less)

  • Anonymous

    Yep- and they even extended the promo until tomorrow

  • Kevin

    Looks like it’s broken again. British Airways is not showing up among the transfer partners as of 11:25 a.m. PT.

  • Anonymous

    Its back- you just have to scroll to the second page of airline partners

  • tassojunior

    Is anyone even considering that since AA is in bankruptcy and being courted by DL and US among others, AA may not remain in OneWorld ?

  • amb

    At least for my (northwest-US-based) purposes American is irrelevant; the best bet in Avios rewards are the semi-secret Alaska partner tickets. They don’t show up online on BA’s site, though because of that the US call center will sometimes waive the $25 phone booking fee. (Actual availability seems to be the same as what shows.)

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