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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
American Express Membership Rewards, the points program of premium cards like The Platinum Card from American Express and the Premier Rewards Gold as well as the EveryDay Preferred and EveryDay cards, just launched a 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways now through January 31, 2015.
Normally when you transfer Amex points to Avios, the ratio is 1:1, so if you transfer 1,000 points you end up with 1,000 Avios. However, with this bonus, when you transfer 1,000 points, you end up with 1,400 Avios instead.
This is the highest transfer bonus we’ve seen to British Airways in a while, with more recent offers ranging from around 20-35%, so if you’ve been waiting for a higher rate of return, this might be your chance. There is no need to register for the bonus, it is automatically coded into transfers.
Should you do it?
As always with bonuses of this nature, the major question is, should you actually transfer your points? While it might not make sense to speculatively transfer Amex points to British Airways, even with a transfer bonus like this, if you have a specific upcoming redemption in mind, you know how many Avios you’ll need, and you think you can snag the award availability you need, then it is worth saving some Amex points.
Avios points also expire in 36 months if your account has no activity including earning, redeeming, purchasing or sharing them, so an Amex transfer is a quick, easy way to reset the expiration clock on your entire account if you need to do so.
While you might want to avoid using Avios on British Airways itself due to high fuel surcharges on tickets to/from the UK that can range up to around $1,300 on some premium tickets, the airline is a member of Oneworld and has some great partners including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, LAN and Qantas, so there are a lot of options out there for you. For example, if you wanted to use Avios to book American flights, flying transcontinentally from New York to Los Angeles would only cost you 9,000 Avios with this bonus instead of 12,500 each way in economy, and 18,000 Avios instead of 25,000 in business class. Not a bad deal.
Avios is also a distance-based mileage redemption program, so short-haul awards require fewer miles than long-haul awards, with redemptions starting at just 4,500 Avios each way for flights under 600 miles, such as those between New York and Montreal. Now you could book one of those by transferring just 7,000 Amex points instead of 9,000 for a roundtrip.
There are also some tremendous values to be had booking Avios + Cash awards and using Avios to upgrade on flights. For more info on this card and how to maximize British Airways Avios check out my series.
Posts include: Distance-Based Awards; Household Accounts; Using Avios to Upgrade Paid Tickets; The Avios and Cash Option; Save Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to Iberia; Using Avios For Non-Flight Redemptions; Using Avios to Book Domestic First Class Flights, Direct Flights, London Stopovers and UK Destinations; How to Redeem British Airways Avios Without Huge Fees; and Using British Airways Avios on Aer Lingus to Avoid Huge Fees.
Do you plan to transfer points during the bonus offer period? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.