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

Mar 1, 2013

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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.

Analysis
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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
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Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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