Use Amex 15% Transfer Bonus to Book a Family Vacation From 6,522 Points Per Ticket

Mar 30, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Want to squeeze an extra family trip this year out of your miles? Here is a way to make it happen, but you have to act by Monday. The American Express Membership Rewards program currently has a 15% bonus for transfers to Avianca’s LifeMiles through April 1. You can use LifeMiles to book United-operated flights (as well as those on other Star Alliance airlines). The process to book awards with LifeMiles is simple and can be accomplished online via the LifeMiles site when United has saver award space available.

Now, 15 percent is not a huge bonus and there isn’t a massive amount of time left to act, but the discount is enough to allow your family to score domestic award flights for as little as little as 6,522 points each direction if you have a card with Amex Membership Rewards points. (Though you can only transfer in increments of 1,000 points from Amex Membership Rewards so you will have to round up a bit.)

Here are some of the cards that earn Membership Rewards points:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
  • The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express

LifeMiles prices its domestic award chart by zones. Flights within a zone start at as little as 7,500 LifeMiles each direction. As the homemade map below indicates, you can fly from as far as Seattle to New Mexico, Montana to Florida or South Carolina to Maine and stay within the same zone. Jumping on the current Amex Membership Rewards 15% transfer bonus lowers the number of Membership Rewards points you need to transfer to book those awards.

Here are five example itineraries you can book with your family to add one more adventure to the calendar:

  • Houston – Billings, Montana for 6,522 Membership Rewards points (normally 7,500 LifeMiles)
  • Newark – New Orleans for 8,696 Membership Rewards points (normally 10k LifeMiles)
  • Denver – San Diego for 6,522 Membership Rewards points (normally 7,500 LifeMiles)
  • Chicago – Portland, Oregon for 8,696 Membership Rewards points (normally 10k LifeMiles)
  • Minneapolis – Orlando for 6,522 Membership Rewards points (normally 7,500 LifeMiles)
(Spring in Yellowstone. Photo by Dmitry Sovyak/Unsplash)
Fly to Montana and then explore Yellowstone (Photo by Dmitry Sovyak/Unsplash)

Note that United saver awards must be available to book these awards — so check the LifeMiles booking site to confirm availability before making the transfer. Additionally, now that United MileagePlus has shifted a bit away from a traditional 12.5k mile award chart, you should absolutely compare LifeMiles award rates to United’s own award prices as United prices can be as low as 6,000 miles each way. However, at other times, LifeMiles will still want fewer miles than United for the same award flights — and Membership Rewards points don’t transfer directly to United anyway.

At 6,522 transferred Membership Rewards points per ticket for each direction of travel, a family of four could fly round trip from just 52,176 total transferred points (rounded up to 53,000), which is not shabby at all. Of course, some families want to travel farther afield and LifeMiles can also be useful for some longer, fancier trips, too. Business class from the US to Europe would cost just 57,783 transferred points each direction with the 15% transfer bonus (plus taxes and fees).

(Photo by Alberto Riva / TPG)
(Photo by Alberto Riva / TPG)

You can also transfer points to LifeMiles from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (2:1.5 ratio) or from the Citi ThankYou program and cards such as the Citi Premier® Card (1:1 ratio).

Read on for more information on LifeMiles or for help planning your family’s next adventure:

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.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
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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