Hot off the press – between now and May 31, you can transfer your American Express Membership Reward points to British Airways Avios and receive a 50% bonus. Typically, for every 1,000 Membership Reward points you transfer over, you’ll receive 1,000 BA Avios points, but with this promotion, you’ll instead receive 1,500 Avios points. There is no registration needed – you can just transfer your points here.
British Airways Avios Program Details:
Since British Airways changed their entire program last year, there are some significant differences from what you may remember. Unlike many other programs, you redeem your Avios points based on distance and segments, not zones. Depending on your travel desire, this can be a huge advantage or disadvantage. Ultimately, the best redemption of your points will be for US domestic short and medium-haul flights and those from the US to South America (due to low taxes/fees). One of the great perks with British Airways is that round-trip redemption is not required (unlike Delta), allowing you to redeem for one-way trips.
Unlike other airlines, there is no standard chart outlining the points needed for an award redemption. In my opinion, this is one of the more frustrating aspects to the program. You will need to enter the two city pairs on this online calculator to see the points required. However, if there are no direct flights you will need to enter the individual segments and add up the points for segment to find the total points needed. For example, to check Houston to Atlanta which has no direct flights on American Airlines, you will need to enter Houston to Dallas (which is 4,500 points) and then Dallas to Atlanta (another 4,500 points). This means the total points needed for the entire Houston to Atlanta route will be 9,000 points one-way. For non-direct routes, you will need to do some prior research to check the connecting city.
Sample Redemption Opportunities:
- Flight from JFK to Montreal will require only 9,000 Avios points round-trip! This same flight would cost about $450. With this promotion you can transfer only 6,000 Membership Reward points! That is valuing your points at about 7.5 cents per point – which is AMAZING!
- Flight from Miami to Buenos Aires will require 50,000 Avios points round-trip. To pay for this flight could run you close to $1,500! For 34,000 points, this flight could be yours! This values your Amex points at a little over 4 cents per point – which is great!
- While a round-trip ticket from JFK to London is only 40,000 miles, the fees will $653.34!! With British Airways, even when redeeming on a partnering flight to Europe, you will still get his with these hefty fees. Typically, this redemption is not worth it.
Credit Cards that Earn Membership Reward Points (to transfer to British Airways)
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express Open: Earn 30,000 points for new applicants after $5,000 spend within the first 3. Earn 3 points/$1 on airfare, 2 points/$1 on advertising, gas, and shipping, and 1 point/$1 on everything else; Annual fee waived for the first year then $175/year.
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 during your first three months of Card membership; Earn 15K additional points when you spend $30,000 within one calendar year; Earn triple points on airfare, double points on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, double points at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and single points on other purchases; Annual fee waived for the first year then $175/year.
Since this promotion end in two and a half month, if you are looking to transfer points earned from the credit card bonuses, I’d highly suggest applying and spending quickly to ensure the points post to your account in time. From my experience, points post from these two cards pretty quickly after hitting the minimum spend needed. I am personally waiting for a bigger bonus for the Amex platinum card!
Disclosure: This post contains referral links on credit card signups and approvals.