Reminder: 40% Amex Transfer Bonus to British Airways Ends Thursday!

by on September 25, 2012 · 28 comments

in American Express, British Airways

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Update: The current offer for the British Airways Visa is 50,000 Avios when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

In August American Express announced a 40% bonus on Membership Rewards points transfer to British Airways Avios and for all of the procrastinators out there (myself included), Thursday is the last day to decide whether you want to take advantage of this offer.

The bonus is 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.

I’ll reiterate that this bonus isn’t as lucrative May’s amazing Amex 50% transfer bonus to Avios (when I transferred 100,000 points), but 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.

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, you can get some great values out of your American Express Membership Rewards points with a transfer bonus like this. For example, I needed to get a roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Austin in October, and tickets were going for $541. However, there was tons of low-level award availability on American Airlines, so I could book a roundtrip economy ticket for 20,000 Avios and $5 in fees even just a week out from my departure date. All I needed to do was transfer 15,000 Amex points to British Airways Avios (which actually netted me 21,000 Avios thanks to this bonus), and I had more than enough points to book my ticket. My per-point value worked out to 3.6 cents. Pretty good for domestic coach since I would have absolutely had to spend that $541 if I didn’t have my Amex and Avios.

If you’re thinking of speculatively transferring points to British Airways to possibly redeem an award in the future, I’d just counsel you to consider what kind of award you want and whether the value you will get makes sense for you.

Also just as a reminder if you’re looking to top up your Amex Membership Rewards account for future transfer bonuses, you should check for targeted offers from Amex, which are generally the most lucrative. The best current public offer is the Business Gold Rewards card with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $5,000 within 3 months.


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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  • Jamison

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Jt Gonzales

    Do you think they will increase award availability after the transfer is over? 2 days before the bonus I booked 5 first class tix DFW to London (one way) and am now trying to book the return tix. Since the promo has gone up I haven’t seen any availability to DFW only to IAH. Trying to decide if I should transfer my AMEX points and cross my fingers or bite the bullet and use my United miles and fly Business. Any thoughts?

  • thepointsguy

    Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the return flight is booked solid already? BA generally has amazing first class availability, but 5 is going to be tough.

  • T Cohn

    Love love love Avios, such a great value for short Alaska Airlines flights to small markets.

  • Countrygal1102

    Hey Brian,
    I have 55k MRs, 150k sky pesos, and 30k with aa – I need to get to HKG this dec (crazy busy season). It will take 120k with delta to fly in economy. Do you know how many MRs I need with cathay pacific to fly to get to hkg? thanks so much!!!!

  • melody

    Is the British Airways booking website broken for anyone else? I keep on trying to book tickets with Avios, and after entering my credit information it says Error and tells me to call in. I’ve done it 3 times already and its not working.

  • ER

    If you book an American reward ticket using Avois points and you have American status, do you still get those perks at the airport? i.e., Priority Access line…. Thanks!

  • thepointsguy

    You can call and have your AA number added (I just did this for the first time so will be able to report on Friday). I think that should work- anyone else have experience with that?

  • thepointsguy

    I booked tickets the other day with no problems. Maybe try a different browser?

  • thepointsguy

    If you can get the nonstop on Cathay its 70k roundtrip economy, 140k business, 210k first

  • thepointsguy

    Short and mid haul redemptions can be an amazing value indeed!

  • Greg

    Is there any way to get aroud the phone booking fees?

  • Jason

    Hey Brian,

    I have about 95K MR points after the 75K PRG promotion last year. My PRG was just charged the $175/yr annual fee this September, and I don’t plan on keeping the card (hoping to get a refund from AMEX, as it’s in the 2mth period). Since I live on the West Coast, and (San Diego), and plan on flying to Maui, and have a ton of miles with AA, I think this would be the best place to stash my MR points. Am I correct in assuming this?? Any input would be greatly appreciated – Thanks for everything!!

  • thepointsguy

    If you redeem a lot on AA or Alaska I think BA is a good option- especially at the 40% bonus. I don’t think you can go wrong as long as you’re familiar with how the Avios program works before you transfer (read through my series)

  • PJ

    booked a few LAX OGG( Maui) myself and tried to advance 18000 MRs to book as well

    I had to cancel the trip the cancellation fees is only $40. Unlike United, I am debating if is worthwhile to pay $150 to get back 12.5K on inland China flights.

  • PJ

    anybody happens to know the fuel surcharge and taxes?

  • thepointsguy

    Check out my post at 830am for a rundown of fees on Avios redemptions

  • PJ

    if you cannot book yourself when doable online NO WAY they should waive for you . Otherwise they always waive it. I phonebooked LAX MAUI on AA SFO SJD(Cabos) on AS no charge at all. I would look to toss money away for me to phone in and try to book LAX SJD , which can be done on line as ez as 123.

    Good rule to follow: know Avios partners and it is a non stop flight , then you are in luck.

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  • New 2 this!

    I have a Bank Of America (BOA) American Express with 270K points. Can a BOA AMEX transefer over points to AVIOS as well?

  • Jason

    Hey TPG – do Avios expire? I already have BA 100k that I haven’t used, but am tempted by the 40% bonus…How often does Delta have a deal w/ Amex and what % bonus have they offered in the past? Thanks!

  • Spencer

    Hey TPG, I am stuck with AMEX points and would like to book flight in Asia. HKG-DPS, DPS-BKK, BKK-Shangai. This incentive is tempting me because a 40% bonus and the ability to now book on AA. I live in Miami and this sounds great. However, I am not sure this helps me with Asian partners. Thoughts and and other rec’s for transferring AMEX to something else? United would be great bc of Thai Airlines but that seems impossible to backdoor in to. Thanks

  • thepointsguy

    Avios would be great because you can redeem on Cathay, which is one of the main carriers on HKG-DPS/BKK

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  • Jessielou2000

    I have an Amex card with approximately 150,000 points accrued. My family of four is planning a trip from Miami/Fort Lauderdale to London in June 2013. Should I sign up for Executive Club program and transfer these amex points over? BA is currently running a 30% bonus incentive. I am very unfamiliar with transferring points and figuring out the best deal for us in this situation. Would I be better served using the points elsewhere while planning the trip? Please HELP!

  • Jerroldjay

    I have 500,000 avios miles
    I have never had a business seat available on British Airways
    I have only been able to use them on partner airlines
    Seems a bit of a scam at the expense of the partner airlines and the

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