American Express Membership Rewards Adds New Valuable 1:1 Airline Transfer Partner

Nov 7, 2018

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American Express Membership Rewards points are already one of the most valuable transferable currencies in TPG valuations due to the wide range of valuable transfer partners. And now, MR points just got a little more valuable with the addition of a new 1:1 airline transfer partner: Avianca LifeMiles.

In an unannounced addition discovered Wednesday morning by Dan’s Deals, the Star Alliance airline was added to the list of transfer partners on the Membership Rewards website:

For those unfamiliar with Avianca LifeMiles, it’s worth getting to know the program for hidden gems such as:

  • United domestic intra-region: 7,500 miles
  • Flights to South of South America in economy: 30,000 miles
  • Flights to New Zealand or Australia in economy: 40,000 miles
  • Flights to Europe in business class (with no fuel surcharges): 63,000 miles
  • Flights to North Asia in business class: 75,000 miles
  • Flights to Middle East in business class: 78,000 miles
  • Flights to Europe in Lufthansa first (with no fuel surcharges): 87,000 miles

In TPG’s latest valuation, he pegs the value of LifeMiles at 1.7 cents each. However, you can easily score multiples of this valuation through some of these sweet spots.

This adds yet another great option for accumulating or topping off your Avianca LifeMiles account. Right now, the cheapest way of buying LifeMiles is through the Club LifeMiles subscription plan. Starting in November 2017, you can transfer Citi ThankYou Points to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. And LifeMiles has become famous for its cheap mileage sales, with rates for buying miles sometimes as cheap as 1.35 cents each.

How to Transfer Miles

Membership Rewards points must be transferred to LifeMiles in increments of 1,000 points at a 1:1 rate. But first, you’ll need to link your Avianca LifeMiles account to Membership Rewards before you can transfer. When I linked my accounts, I received a message that “We are processing your account linking.”

By the time I reloaded my transfer partner dashboard, the link was already complete. So, I tested a 1,000-point transfer:

When I submitted my transfer request, I received the following message:

We are processing your points transfer to Avianca LifeMiles. For Avianca LifeMiles, transfers normally occur immediately, but please allow up to 48 hours.

However, the miles had already posted in my LifeMiles account by the time was able to log in to my account:

How to Earn Membership Rewards Points

If you’re excited about these excellent redemption options, there are currently some lucrative ways of earning Membership Rewards points:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus for spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • American Express® Gold Card: 35,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus for spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus earn 4x points at restaurants worldwide and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases; then 1x) and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.  Plus earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.

Bottom Line

More options for your points and miles are always good, and this addition is especially good for American Express Membership Rewards. Considering the high potential value from LifeMiles awards, MR points just potentially became a lot more valuable for many American Express cardmembers.

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