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American Express Membership Rewards are one of the most valuable transferable points currency (tied near the top at 2 cents each with Chase Ultimate Rewards). AMEX also frequently offers transfer bonuses that give your points a nice hefty multiplier.
AMEX is back with its latest bonus, offering an extra 25% on transfers to Aeromexico through November 30th, 2018. Note that unlike most Membership Rewards transfer bonuses, you’ll need to register at this link to activate the offer.
Membership Rewards normally transfer to Aeromexico Club Premier at a 1:1.6 rate, so with the current bonus, you’ll earn 2,000 Premier Points for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points you transfer. Aeromexico’s award chart, both for flights on their own metal and for SkyTeam partner flights, is fairly average. Not overpriced, but not many sweet spots to take advantage of either. But there’s one key reason you won’t want to overlook this transfer bonus, and that’s Club Premier’s SkyTeam “Go Round The World Pass.”
Around The World In One Ticket
Around the world award tickets used to be much more popular, but over the years we’ve seen many airlines discontinue them entirely or make the terms so burdensome and restrictive as to essentially ruin the program. Aeromexico Club Premier continues to offer one of the best Round The World (RTW) passes available. Here are the terms and conditions you need to know:
- Valid only for travel on SkyTeam airlines.
- RTW awards cost 224,000 miles in economy and 352,000 in business class. With the current transfer bonus, that comes out to just 112,000 Membership Rewards points in economy, and 176,000 in business class.
- Travel must continue in the same direction, east or west (although there are some reports that Aeromexico is flexible on this if you’re backtracking to connect through a SkyTeam hub city).
- Travel must begin and end in the same country.
- You can have a minimum of three or a maximum of 15 stopovers, with no more than five per continent. A stopover is defined as any city where you remain for 24 hours before continuing your travel.
- All flights must be booked in the same class of service.
- Pass is valid for one year from the date of issue.
That’s barely any fine print for anywhere from four to 16 flights (since your origin/destination do not count as a stopover), and it leaves a lot of room for your wanderlust to plan the ultimate trip unimpeded.
Let’s Get Creative
The possibilities are literally endless here, but I’ll share two examples I came up with to demonstrate the incredible value you can get out of your Membership Rewards points this way.
The first one is a shorter trip, with six stops and seven total flight segments across Europe and Asia.
You could fly this route east or west, whichever you prefer, but let’s take a look at how it would break down:
|Segment (Airline)||Approximate cost in economy||Approximate cost in business|
|1. New York (JFK) to Seoul (ICN) on Korean Air||$1,000||$3,500|
|2. Seoul (ICN) to Shanghai (PVG) on Korean Air or China Eastern||$200||$300|
|3. Shanghai (PVG) to Guangzhou (CAN) on China Eastern or China Southern||$250||$500|
|4. Guangzhou (CAN) to Singapore (SIN) on China Southern||$150||$1,000|
|5. Singapore (SIN) to Amsterdam (AMS) on KLM||$1,300||$4,000|
|6. Amsterdam (AMS) to Paris (CDG) on KLM or Air France||$200||$700|
|7. Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK) on Air France or Delta||$2,500||$5,500|
And now I’ll wave a magic wand and make some math happen:
|Total cost of seven flights:||Number of Amex points needed||Value of MR points|
|Economy:||$5,600||112,000||5 cents per point|
|Business:||$15,500||176,000||8.8 cents per point|
These numbers are just a sampling of what’s possible for one itinerary, but relative to TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, you’re getting an absolute steal by jumping on one of these RTW passes.
If you think that was exciting, good! But something is still missing from this map, namely the entire continent of Africa. Let’s see if we can’t fix that:
The 12 flights shown above would still qualify for an RTW award. We added stops in Hanoi (HAN), Moscow (SVO), Nairobi (NBO) and Madrid (MAD), as well as a few connecting flights through Cairo (CAI) and Jeddah (JED). While Jeddah is technically slightly east of Moscow, Aeromexico would likely still allow this booking if you don’t treat Jeddah as a stopover, but instead have a <24 hour connection on your way to Nairobi.
A good rule of thumb to follow when building an RTW itinerary is to make sure that you’re always flying to or from (or both) a SkyTeam hub city. In the above example, actually, all the destinations other than Cairo and Madrid are SkyTeam hubs. This guarantees that you’ll have ample flight options to choose from. Remember, while you’re likely to have more flexibility with a grand trip like this than you do with a short weekend vacation, you do still need to find award space for every segment of your trip.
Aeromeixco Club Premier has flown under the radar for a long time, but hopefully this limited time AMEX transfer bonus will help give it the attention it deserves. If you’re looking to jump on this deal and take a long, slow, round the world trip at a fraction of the cost, just make sure to register and transfer your Membership Rewards points before the promo expires on November 30th. You don’t have to actually book by then, you only need to transfer your points by then to lock in the deal.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards