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

March 30, 2019
4 min read
Use Amex 15% Transfer Bonus to Book a Family Vacation From 6,522 Points Per Ticket
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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.)

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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)
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)

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:

Featured image by Getty Images/Cavan Images RF
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases