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Deal Recap: Amex British Airways Transfer Bonus, US Airways Buy and Hotel Transfer Bonuses

by on March 19, 2012 · 10 comments

in Amazing Deal Alerts, British Airways, US Airways

Last week was good for miles and points bonus promotions.

For those of you who missed it, I thought I’d do a quick recap of each promotion and whether it might be worth it.

1. 50% Transfer Bonus on Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios: One of the best parts of the Amex Membership Rewards points program is the lucrative transfer bonuses they run from time to time with partners such as Delta and British Airways, including this current offer running now through May 31, 2012, of a 50% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to British Airways. As always, let me add the disclaimer that I know there are many of you who think Avios are worthless due to high fuel surcharges on some awards, but there are actually some fantastic redemption opportunities on their short- and medium-haul flights, as well as on premium class tickets that don’t go through Europe. Another positive is the fact that you can transfer Amex points to anyone else, and there are no last-minute award booking fees with Avios. Read my detailed breakdown of the promotion here.
Key Considerations: If you transfer all of your Amex now, you might miss out on future transfer promotions and I suspect there will be a Delta one soon. Delta isn’t the perfect frequent flyer program either, but their fees are lower and there are lots of options for European travel with partners like Air France, KLM and Alitalia.

2. 100% Purchase Bonus on US Airways Dividend Miles: Miles purchased through this promotion, through April 15, 2012,  can be procured for nearly 1.9 cents each. While that’s more than past promos of 1.5 cents per mile, this is as good as we’ve seen in recent months. US Airways has some great redemptions, like 90,000 miles business class to North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan & Korea).
Key Considerations: This probably isn’t worth it if you are redeeming for coach awards, unless you need to top up your balances. US Airways does not have one-way awards (at least not at half the price of roundtrip) and you cannot change awards once you take the first outbound segment. That being said, they do have very flexible routing rules and allow a stopover and open jaw, so you can create some great trips if you take the time to understand the rules. For more information on maximizing US Airways awards, check out this post.

3. 50% US Airways Bonus on Hotel Transfers: The second US Airways promotion from last week was a 50% bonus on transferring hotel points from the airline’s partner programs into miles until March 31, 2012. You can find the details and the full list of hotel partners including Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, Priority Club and Starwood Preferred Guest on US Airways’ site here. But the short version is that though I generally don’t recommend transferring hotel points to airline miles (unless you really need to top up for an award),  this promotion certainly sweetens the value proposition – especially if you know how to maximize US Airways redemptions and score award gems  like 110,000 miles for business class to Australia/Oceania/New Zealand with the possibility of routing through Asia. One of the biggest opportunities with this promotion  is to transfer Starwood points, because this promotion stacks on top of the existing 5,000-mile bonus Starwood adds to each 20,000-point transfer to US Airways. So 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 US Airways miles + this 50% promotion = 37,500 miles. Not a bad redemption if you need airline miles and have more hotel points than you need.
Key Considerations: This makes the current Marriott hotel+air redemptions even more lucrative. Also, Starwood points are extremely valuable for hotel redemptions, so I’d really only recommend this if you are in need of Star Alliance miles. I personally don’t want to drain my Starwood balance, but I do have a huge amount of Amex points. You can also transfer Amex points to Starwood at 2:1 until March 31, 2012, so with this bonus you can essentially move Amex to US Airways at 1: .94, which is nearly an even exchange. I may transfer 80,000 Amex to 40,000 Starwood, which will turn into 75,000 US Airways miles. US Airways generally charges less for awards in terms of miles and fees than the other Star Alliance partners of Amex (Aeroplan, ANA and Singapore).

Lots to think about here, especially if you’re planning on redeeming US Airways or British Airways Avios anytime soon. As with all things miles and points, do the math yourself and make sure you aren’t just taking advantage of these promos for the sake of getting in on a good deal.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • wagger

    A question : if I transfer Hilton or Starwood points to USAir to top up my Dividend miles a/c – does the transaction extend the expiration date for my USAir Dividend miles a/c ??

    Also, vice versa does this transaction extend the Hilton or Starwood expiration date for my Hilton or Starwood a/c ‘s ??

    And lastly, what are the minimum transfer points for such transactions ?

    TIA
    wagger

  • thepointsguy

    Yes it would extend the expiration date on both the airline and hotel programs because you are triggering activity in each. Though double check- some frequent flyer programs have stricter expiration rules.

    Minimum transfer varies by hotel program.

  • Kimberly

    Thank you for the heads up on Avios!!! I was able to book two airlines tickets HKG to TPE for 9000 points (6000 AMEX) and $89.84, and then TPE to SGN for 24,000 points (16,000 AMEX) and $138.32
    Great deal!!!

  • Agee19

    Just transferred 114,000 Amex points for 171,000 Avios and got a JFK-SGN in business class plus $401 in fees
    That’s a great deal!!!!

  • Keith

    Hey Brian,

    Do you anticipate that Delta will run a transfer bonus with MQM incentives as they have in the last two years?

    Thanks!

  • Brad

    Hey Brian,

    With regards to your post about USAirways, I thought you were only allowed a stopover OR an open-jaw. Above you have listed you can do both. Did this recently change?

  • Alan

    Do we have confirmation that the US 50% Hotel transfer bonus can be earned multiple times rather than just once? Still awaiting confirmation before pulling the trigger.

  • Mpohl

    I am traveling four-times a year ATL-POP. To me the AVIOS is just a killer deal; economy typically runs around $700. W/ Avios and Amex, I can get biz for half of that.

  • milevalue

    The Avios deal is fantastic. Avios are worth 1.48 cpm assuming a $450 LAX-HNL r/t costs 25,000 Avios and $5 (and 5112 miles foegone by not purchasing.) So that means since 1 MR = 1.5 Avios, 1 MR = 2.22 cents with this promo!

  • 1357

    One quick question, are reward availability seen in CX website redeemable from BA avios? Thanks

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