40% Bonus on Amex to British Airways Transfers Until September 27, 2012

by on August 28, 2012 · 50 comments

in American Express, British Airways

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the British Airways Visa has changed. View the current offer here

Today American Express Membership Rewards will start offering a 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways Avios points until September 27, 2012. The bonus will be hard-coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Amex points = 1,400 Avios points and they transfer instantly and there is no fee to transfer points to British Airways.

While this isn’t as lucrative as the most recent Amex 50% transfer bonus to Avios back in May that was an amazing deal, this is still something to consider if you are thinking about redeeming your Avios for travel on British Airways or any of its partners like American Airlines, LAN and Cathay Pacific. If you need a British Airways account, you can get one for free here.

Remember, you can also transfer Amex points to anyone else (simply log in to your account -> Points Summary -> Scroll to bottom right where you see accounts, scroll to bottom and select “Link additional accounts”), 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.

British Airways awards are distance-based according to the zones above, so be sure to calculate how many Avios you’ll need for your redemption here.

Before you transfer, figure out if Avios will indeed make sense for your award redemption. As you know, the British Airways Executive Club mileage program changed dramatically last November when it switched over to Avios, but I’ve since written a series on Maximizing British Airways Avios that will help you make the most of your points. The posts in my series include: Master FAQ Post on British Airways 100,000 Mile Offer, Distance-Based Awards, Spotlight on Taxes and Fees,  Travel Together Companion TicketHousehold AccountsUsing Avios to Upgrade Paid TicketsThe Avios and Cash OptionSave Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to IberiaUsing Avios For Non-Flight Redemptions.

Overall, if you work this promotion appropriately, you can get some great values out of your American Express Membership Rewards points. If you’re thinking of speculatively transferring points to BA in anticipating of wanting to redeem an award in the future, I’d just counsel you to consider what kind of award you want and whether it makes sense on the value scale.

For instance, if you’re just trying to get your family to Europe in economy, I wouldn’t advise transferring your points to Avios since BA charges huge taxes and fuel surcharges and you’ll wind up paying hundreds of dollars per ticket. However, if you’re trying to get everyone from Chicago down to Orlando in coach, because of the distance-based Avios formula, you could get each person down there for 15,000 miles roundtrip. A great value.

Or let’s say you wanted to fly roundtrip from New York JFK-Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific first class. That trip would normally cost you 210,000 Avios (and hence 210,000 American Express points at the 1:1 transfer ratio), but if you used this transfer bonus, it would only cost you 150,000 Membership Rewards points – saving you 60,000 points, and giving your points an individual value of about 7-11 cents each since those tickets are usually in the $10,000-$16,000 range.

If you are in the market for a new Amex card that is part of the Membership Rewards program, the top cards are listed below. Before you apply for any card, make sure you are logged out of your Amex account or open these links from a new browser or else it may erroneously say the promotions are no longer valid:

Mercedes-Benz Platinum: 50,000 points when you spend $1,000 within 3 months. $475 annual fee.
Business Platinum: 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 within 3 months. $450 annual fee.
Premier Rewards Gold: 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months. $175 annual fee, waived the first year. Detailed review.
Platinum: 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. $450 annual fee. Detailed review.

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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  • PJ

    not a bad exit to avoid the toll ( annual fees ) if you were showered with Amex 75K+ Gold Premier Rewards sign on promotion late summer time 2011.

  • T Cohn

    For Alaska Air redemption its been my experience that the lowest-cost category ends at 550 miles, not 650.

  • Wandering Aramean

    If you have specific city pairs you want to calculate the costs on – particularly those requiring a connection – the calculator I have here should help.

  • atxtravel

    There’s no direct flight from HKG to HND/ NRT showing up in your search results. Is there a reason for that, or just search error?

  • Jam

    Thanks, TPG!

    Been waiting for a decent xfer opportunity, but don’t have time to regularly check into Amex. I knew you’d keep us updated.

  • Michael

    I don’t see this offer in the Amex rewards portal

  • thepointsguy

    It’s not loaded in yet..should be up shortly

  • Amazzajr

    How do you redeem Alaska via BA? I thought Alaska was SkyTeam and BA was Oneworld? Am I missing something?

  • T Cohn

    It says BIL-PDX is 30,00 avios….

  • VK

    Where can I get the information on taxes and fees? I am looking at JFK -> DEL

  • Tuscanyx

    Do u have any insights on when delta is having a promo too?

  • thepointsguy

    Unfortunately no idea

  • Joe

    You. Can’t. Value. Points. Against. A. $16,000. Revenue. Ticket. That. You’d. Never. Pay. For. Out. Of. Pocket.

    Other than that silliness, decent info here.

  • Sean

    I got in on the 75k PRG last summer. I’ve since got the Plat too. So when August closed with a $175 annual fee I called in to close it. They countered with 10k MR instant and another 7500 MR after $1500 in 60 days. Now I’m keeping both for another year.

  • Brian L.

    Alaska isn’t in any of the alliances. They have partners in Oneworld, partners in SkyTeam, and some independent partners.

  • Suzannehendrix

    I want that Delta promo back from last year that gave you Silver Medallion status if you transferred enough points. That was so killer. C’mon AMEX and Delta!

  • Justin

    But you can value them against all other revenue tickets in a premium cabin on that route. If you’d never fly JFK-HKG in economy, then you have to value the points at LEAST as high as the cheapest alternative–particularly when the CX product is the best available for that route. If such an alternative were UA biz class at $4k (for instance), that’s still a damn good redemption… and instead of UA C, you’re getting CX F!

  • John

    For last summers 75k PRG offer, how much did you have to spend?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    It’s loaded in now!

  • Jean-Maximilien

    It doesn’t work for canadian customers :(

  • Seth

    You said that “Amex will even let you advance points for free as long as you earn them back within a year”.

    Here’s my question…..

    As of my September 13 statement, I will have met the 10k minimum spend on my Amex Business Gold Card, which triggers a 75K bonus. It seems that points are delayed by about a month before they post. Since this offer expires on Sept 27 is there any way for me to get in on this deal?

  • arcticbull

    It’s simple: value them at the maximum amount that you would be willing to pay for a certain trip, no matter what the market price is. If you’d only fly Economy no matter what those points won’t amount to more than $1200 out of your pocket. If you’d fly Business, but you’d only be willing to pay $2000, that’s your number. If you’d fly First but you’d only be willing to pay $2500, that’s your number. Doesn’t matter what the market rate is unless it’s below what you’d be willing to pay.

    Point Value = ($(max you’d pay) – $(taxes, fees, charges, surcharges)) / points.

  • As

    Points for 75k bonus hit a few days after i meet 10k threshold no delay in billing cycles

  • Chuck

    Quote: Remember, you can also transfer Amex points to anyone else (simply log in to your account -> Points Summary -> Scroll to bottom right where you see accounts, scroll to bottom and select “Link additional accounts”), so this might be a good time to top up your family or friends’ accounts to get them to levels needed for awards.

    I tried to transfer to my wife’s account but could not find the link you cited. The Amex FAQs state that points are not transferable to any other person!

  • CU

    done. thx tpg.

  • arcticbull

    All Amex account-based promo points post as soon as you complete the requirements regardless of billing cycle.

  • j.t.

    10K MR is a fantastic retention offer! Just curious- what is your typical spend on the prg?

  • John

    Not true. I had 100k prom pts post 30 days AFTER I hit the min spend req. Amex actually told me they would post in 6-8 wks and that they had no control over it. Promo pts DID NOT post as soon as you hit min spend req.

  • Seth

    As it so happens, I passed 10K in spending in the past few days, and when I checked my account, the bonus points were already there.

  • thepointsguy

    The point is that Avios can get you extremely expensive tickets for cheap. Period. Whether you’d actually pay the 16k isn’t really important in my opinion.

  • thepointsguy

    I like your formula.. but I generally don’t bother with CPMs- If I like the redemption, I just do it.. unless its for a really cheap flight and I need the elite qualifying miles

  • thepointsguy

    Just link her accounts the same exact way that you linked your own accounts. The FAQ are wrong

  • thepointsguy

    You can try to do a points advance but they may not allow you if you are a new cardholder. I’d call and ask

  • Charlie

    75k bonus bonus had not posted 8 weeks after meeting $5k spend threshold. I sent Amex an email and they had the points in the account within 2 hours.

  • xina

    Do you think the 50% transfer bonus will come up soon? Should I wait for the 50% bonus or take advantage of the 40%? I don’t really have upcoming redemptions but don’t want to miss the opportunity to transfer but if the 50% promo will come up in the future, I would rather wait.

  • Cindy

    How do I transfer my Amex points to my husband? I tried to follow Chuck’s common but could not find a place how link our accounts.

  • MJ

    Transferred Amex Points to Avios but the 40% bonus points have not showed up yet in my BA Avios Account. Is this normal?

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  • deltaqueue

    “Remember, you can also transfer Amex points to anyone else (simply log in to your account -> Points Summary -> Scroll to bottom right where you see accounts, scroll to bottom and select “Link additional accounts”)”

    How do you transfer to United? I don’t see it as an option :(

  • thepointsguy

    You can’t. Only chase points transfer to united at 1:1 ratio

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