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American Express 25% Emirates Transfer Bonus Through November 21

by on November 7, 2013 · 5 comments

in American Express, Emirates

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Business Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

To celebrate the addition of Emirates as the newest airline transfer partner of Membership Rewards, the points program of cards like the Premier Rewards Gold, Business Gold Rewards, Platinum and Business Platinum cards, American Express just launched a limited-time 25% transfer bonus from now through November 21, 2013. Amex points normally transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Emirates Skywards miles, but with this bonus, they now transfer at a ratio of 1:1.25. That means if you transfer 1,000 points you’ll end up with 1,250 miles. The offer is hard-coded into the transfer page, so you don’t have to register or do anything else when setting up a transfer.

Emirates Airlines and Virgin America announced their new partnership today.

Emirates is the newest Amex transfer partner.

While this isn’t the highest transfer bonus we’ve seen from Amex, it’s still worth keeping in mind if you were considering a points transfer to Emirates anytime soon – you might as well get more miles for your points.

To take a couple quick examples, if you wanted to fly on an award ticket from New York (or anywhere in North America East – Newark, JFK, Boston, Washington Dulles or Toronto), you would need the following amount of miles:

Economy: 72,500 miles
Business: 145,000 miles
First: 217,500 miles

So with the current transfer bonus, here are the amounts of points you’d need for each redemption:

Economy: 58,000 points
Business: 116,000 points
First: 174,000 points

Suddenly those redemptions look just a little bit more reasonable. The one thing to look out for is that taxes and fuel surcharges on Emirates can be quite high, even on economy awards.

Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 6.56.09 PMYou can see that the taxes and surcharges on this economy award ticket are over $700, while business and first class surcharges are over $1,300!

Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 7.02.53 PMSo that’s a big consideration – and if flying Emirates is a goal of yours in certain circumstances you might be better off using Alaska miles to do so since Alaska doesn’t levy fuel surcharges on Emirates awards and roundtrip you’re looking at under $50 in fees:

Alaska App Emirates AFYou’ll still be using more miles – 85,000 roundtrip in Economy, 145,000 in Business and 200,000 in First – but you’ll be saving over $1,000 in some cases. Just note that Alaska is only a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest so your transfer options are limited, but still something to keep in mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, as long as you’re going to be paying these hefty fuel surcharges and fees anyway, you might consider transferring to one of Amex’s other airline partners instead such as ANA since that airline’s award chart is distance-based and there are some amazing values there like just 43,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 68,000 miles in business from the east coast to Europe even though you’re paying up to $1,000 in surcharges on business class awards. If getting to the Middle East is your goal, though, ANA is partners with both Etihad and Qatar Airways, and will only charge you 60,000/90,000/140,000 to fly economy/business/first from the east coast to the airlines’ respective hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, with fuel surcharges that are comparable to Emirates, so ANA might still be a better option for you.

ANA's distance-based award chart means there are some great redemption values.

ANA’s distance-based award chart means there are some great redemption values.

For more information, check out my ANA Award series.

Also note that Amex is currently offering transfer bonuses to both British Airways (20%) and Virgin Atlantic (30%), so those might be better options for you depending on where you hope to travel as well. You can find out more here.

For more information, check out the posts in our Emirates Series:

Emirates Added as the Newest Amex Transfer Partner
The Basics of Earning and Redeeming

Using Miles To Upgrade
Award Chart Sweet Spots

Good News: Amex Points Transfer to Emirates Instantly

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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  • umeshunni

    This is awesome news in general, but I just transferred 80000 MRs to EK last night! Do you know if Amex will retroactively give me this bonus?

  • brian

    from the press release, “To celebrate the relationship, American Express and Emirates will offer a
    limited time transfer bonus. Eligible Card Members in the U.S, U.K and
    France who transfer points to Emirates Skywards between November 8 and
    21 will receive a 25% bonus.”

    so it looks like this does not kick in until Friday.

  • brian

    and it further states, ” This offer is only valid for the recipient of this email and is not transferable” So not sure if it will apply to everyone, as I have not generally looked at the T& C’s carefully.

  • john C

    does alaksa have a partnership with EK?and is there a way through amex or ultimate rewards to transfer to alaska miles?

  • Texas281

    Serious question for this that worries me. My Account says I will have X amount of miles expire in February of 2016. How can i delay the miles from expiring?!?

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