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Update: The current offer for the British Airways Visa is 50,000 Avios when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
While not as exciting as recent 50% transfer bonuses, Amex Membership Rewards will be launching a 30% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios from December 3, 2012 – January 14, 2013. No need to register as the bonus will, as usual, be hard coded into the transfer page at Membership Rewards.
So instead of the usual 1:1 ratio where 1,000 Amex points will get you 1,000 British Airways Avios, you’ll end up with 1,300 Avios instead. This isn’t as lucrative as their 40% and 50% transfer bonuses, but a 30% bonus is still better than nothing and if you know how to leverage the Avios program you can reap huge value out of redemptions.
For instance that business class Iberia award I wrote about (and flew on) yesterday cost me 7,500 Avios and $127.50. With this transfer bonus, however, I only would have needed 5,800 Avios. That ticket would have cost $970. So originally I got a value of 11 cents per Avios, but with this bonus, I’d get a whopping 16.7 cents per Avios! And that’s not even on international premium luxury fares, just a simple intra-European hop. Even better, I still wouldn’t have had to worry about transfer times since Amex transfers to BA instantaneously, and then BA Avios transfer into Iberia Avios instantly as well, so I would not have had any problem reaping value from this promo- even if I would have never paid that $970 for the fare.
The good part about all this, however, is that there’s plenty of advance notice, so you can start scouring awards in the coming months and see if a point transfer for an award redemption might make sense for you, then when the bonus kicks in, you’ll be all ready to go. For instance, I was considering using my British Airways Travel Together companion ticket (which you have to use on an award redemption) over the holidays, so I’m going to look for some first class fares to Europe. That first class award seat on BA from New York to London that I was considering would ordinarily cost 120,000 Avios roundtrip would now require just 93,000 – that’s better than most roundtrip business class redemptions, and definitely something to consider.
To learn more about how to maximize Avios, check out my most recent series:
Distance-Based Awards, Spotlight on Taxes and Fees, Travel Together Companion Ticket, Household Accounts, Using Avios to Upgrade Paid Tickets, The Avios and Cash Option, Save Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to Iberia, Using Avios For Non-Flight Redemptions.