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Just a reminder that the current transfer bonus of 35% from American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying ends tomorrow, December 29, 2012 at 11:59pm ET (I confirmed the end time with Amex).

The normal transfer ratio is 1:1, so with this bonus, instead of transferring 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,000 Flying Club miles, you’ll get 1,350 Flying Club miles instead, and points transfer instantly. The bonus will be hard-coded into the transfer page, so you won’t have to register or do anything special, just transfer miles as you normally would. Past bonuses have been in the 15-25% range, so 35% is pretty good in my opinion- especially if you know how to leverage your Flying Club miles.

Amex Virgin Atlantic

For instance, flying roundtrip from New York to London on an award ticket in Upper Class requires 80,000 miles plus $1,300. To end up with 80,000 miles, you’d only need 59,260 Amex points with this transfer bonus and while those $1,300 in taxes and fees are pretty hefty,  that’s still a pretty significant discount on tickets that can go for $4,000+ miles. An economy ticket will still cost you $700 in taxes and fees, but only 25,926 miles instead of the usual 35,000. That’s almost like flying a domestic roundtrip. Have a look at the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s redemption requirements here.

Also remember that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to Hilton at a 2:1 ratio. This is a great way to make even more of those Amex points, which  transfer to Hilton HHonors directly at a ratio of 1 Amex point to 1.5 HHonors points. With this promo, however, 1 Amex point = 1.35 Virgin miles = 2.7 HHonors points, 80% more than transferring directly from Amex.

I actually took advantage of the transfer bonus and favorable Virgin-to-Hilton ratio to transfer 100,000 Amex points into 270,000 Hilton Honors points, plus I’ve got my two bonus weekend nights from signing up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card. I had some business expenses to put on my card – so I will earn Hilton Diamond status for next year through spending on it, so I plan to explore Hilton’s loyalty programs and hotels next year and take advantage of its elite GLON reduced award rates. Those 270,000 points from this transfer are enough for an 9-night stay at GLON rates at a Category 6 property like the Hilton Los Cabos in Mexico or the Conrad Punta del Este Resort in Uruguay.

I still have a bunch of Amex points left, so I’m probably also going to take advantage of the 30% Amex transfer bonus to British Airways that’s live until January 14, 2013, for future redemptions but I usually like to wait until the last minute to decide and I’m in no rush just yet.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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