(Canada) 50% British Airways Transfer Bonus With Amex Membership Rewards Through March 31

by on March 1, 2013 · 17 comments

in American Express, British Airways, Canada

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I’ve previously written about the differences between the US and Canadian versions of the American Express Membership Rewards programs. In general, the US version is a lot more sophisticated and generous when it comes to the number of transfer partners, the standard transfer ratios as well as transfer bonuses. In fact, there are actually two airline transfer partners at the 1:1 ratio in the Canadian program – Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways Executive Club.

From now through March 31, there's a 50% bonus on transfers to British Airways.

From now through March 31, there’s a 50% bonus on transfers to British Airways.

However, from time to time, the Canadian Membership Rewards program offers transfer bonuses like its US counterpart, and Amex just announced a 50% transfer bonus to British Airways until March 31, 2013. The basics are the same as the 50% transfer bonus from last May.  I think it general this might make even more sense for those with Canadian points than US Amex cardholders because there are less alternative transfer partners to consider. Whenever you transfer points, you risk losing out on future bonuses, but since they are relatively rare and the transfer options so limited, I’d really consider taking advantage of this transfer bonus if I had Canadian Amex points.

If you’re not familiar with the British Airways Avios program, I’ve written an entire series about how to maximize them:

There are some downsides of British Airways Avios that you should be aware of, though – namely the huge fees on travel awards to Europe through London and anywhere beyond where British Airways flies. That said, value can be had as they do allow one-way awards for half the price of a roundtrip and their booking site does pull from a good portion of their partners.

For North America to Europe awards, I’d transfer my points to Aeroplan without a bonus vs. British Airways with the 50%. Aeroplan does impose fuel surcharges, but nothing to the extent of British Airways (think $850 for a business class flight).

Aeroplan also has short-haul awards and more availability on the Canada to US routes – with Avios you need to stick to American Airlines or Alaska Air.

However, for Asia Avios can be used for Cathay Pacific redemptions and they generally have great availability from Toronto and Vancouver to Hong Kong. Toronto is 70,000 roundtrip (47,000 Amex with this promo) for economy; 140,000 for business (94,000 points with this promo) and 210,000 (140,000 with this promo) for First Class, which is a great product. Those rates for Vancouver- Hong Kong are slightly less because Avios is based on distance and Vancouver is within a closer band to Hong Kong: 60,000/120.000/180,000 for coach/business/first.

With this promo, you'd only need 140,000 Avios to fly roundtrip on Cathay first class.

With this promo, you’d only need 140,000 Avios to fly roundtrip on Cathay first class.

To calculate how many Avios you need for a route, use the calculator for each leg of your trip. British Airways prices segments a la carte, so if you wanted to fly to Bali via Hong Kong from Toronto you’d price Toronto to Hong Kong plus Hong Kong to Bali. And if you’re in the market for a Canadian Amex, check out this post highlighting a range of redemption options for Canadian points collectors.

Hat tip: Rewards Canada.

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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  • Kurt

    Does the US version of Amex MR typically offer a 50% Avios transfer bonus as well? I don’t see it available on my account.

  • thepointsguy

    They have in the past, but not currently. I’ve also seen 30 and 40% bonuses

  • Tormapleaf

    Is there a fuel surcharge using Avios for Cathay flights ?

  • PJ

    last at 30% on downward trend; i caught 50% and 40%

  • PJ

    It is fun to have Avios to fly on CX from HongKong to nearby cities. my favor is 4.5 K plus ~$40 to fly HKG TPE with availability on almost their hourly flights.

  • Ben Senise

    and don’t forget that canadian amex plat earns 1.25 MR points per $. with a 50% bonus, that comes out to 1.875 avios per $.

  • Jerry

    Thanks TPG, great analysis on uses of Avios as I’m debating how much MR to transfer and CX J is great

  • Jesse


    Do you know which credit bureau is used when applying US Bank Club Carlson Personal credit card in Texas

  • Pokee99

    I think so…I redeemed 25000 avios for a yvr to jfk cx flight, and $160 for taxes/fees…worth the extra $$ for a direct flight on cx, though…

  • Clive

    Your other post that you linked to in this one here has a typo, “25,000 points after $3,00 in spend within 3 months on the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card.” should be “25,000 points after $3,000….” ;)

    Then, again about that other post linked, it was written about a year ago, so one might want to be careful with the offers in it. For instance, I remember reading a recent post on TPG (just a few weeks old maybe) about a much better offer than the 10,000 points for the Personal Starwood American Express where one could get instead 21,000 points. Also, there seems to be better offers in your “Tod Deals” section for the Canadian Amex cards. They’re buried at the bottom of the numerous American credit cards offers, but at least there are a few Canadian ones there too. :)

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  • Ash

    i am so confused. should i open an avios account and convert 70K amex points to earn a 105k avios points?

    i want to fly from toronto YYZ to mumbai BOM

    please help. i dont want to screw this up!

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  • ALLTravel

    Hey TPG, any word on an upcoming AmEx->BA bonus? I’m trying to book some award travel for early 2014…all my flights are open on Cathay, but I’m trying to hold out for a bonus since i have a ton of MR points…any info you have is appreciated!

  • Anne

    Any more bonuses with Avios in next couple months likely for Canadians?
    Any more news about ANY credit card sign up boneses? 2013 has been pretty dry for good sign up bonuses. Anyone have info about new Chase Canada card coming later this year? Any Canada updates appreciated. thanks

  • Anne

    Any updates on ANY Canadian Credit card Sign up bonuses? It has been a dry year so far. Thanks!

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