From May 1 – 31, American Express Membership Rewards, the points program of cards like the Platinum Card and the Premier Rewards Gold as well as the new EveryDay cards, will be offering a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic.
There’s no need to register – the bonus will be hard-coded into the transfer page starting May 1. While this isn’t the most lucrative transfer bonus we’ve seen from Amex, it’s still decent, and a good alternative if you were already considering transferring either Membership Rewards points or if you were going to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards from your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus accounts at the usual 1:1 ratio to either program.
Comparison to Virgin America 30% Bonus
Unfortunately, the Amex 30% transfer bonus to Virgin America ended yesterday, April 30. But if you didn’t get in on that, at least now you have another choice. For future reference, though, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two bonuses in case this situation comes up again and you want to use your Amex points for travel on Virgin Atlantic.
Here’s the Virgin America award chart for Virgin Atlantic:
Amex points transfer to Virgin America at a ratio of 2:1, but with the recent transfer bonus, you would get a 2:1.3 ratio. So for awards, you’re looking at using the following amounts of Amex points:
Economy: 15,000 Elevate points = 24,000 Amex points
Premium Economy: 25,000 Elevate points = 39,000 Amex points
Upper Class: 35,000 Elevate points = 54,000 Amex points
Here’s the Virgin Atlantic award chart:
The taxes and fees on these tickets are approximately the same as what redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles would incur. Now here are the redemption levels from JFK-LHR using Virgin Atlantic miles and the amount of Amex points you’d need during the current transfer bonus:
Economy: 35,000 miles = 27,000 Amex points
Premium Economy: 55,000 miles = 43,000 Amex points
Upper Class: 80,000 miles = 62,000 Amex points
So if you have a choice in the future, you should probably go with the Virgin America transfer bonus, unless you have some miles in your Virgin Atlantic account and just need to top up for your specific award. Just remember to watch out for those high fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic redemptions!
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