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American Express Membership Rewards are one of the three major transferable currencies that all miles & points collectors should have and, every now and again, the program offers a bonus for Membership Points transfers to one of its partners. Right now it’s the turn of British Airways.
[HT: View From The Wing]
Amex Membership Rewards Points (in the US) can be transferred into any of 17 different airline rewards programs or any of 3 hotel rewards programs….so you could say that the currency is pretty flexible. Unfortunately, like most rewards programs, Membership Rewards has seen its share of devaluations and the most recent notable devaluation (1 October 2015) was when the transfer ratio for Amex to British Airways transfers went from 1000:1000 to 1000:800.
That was a hit to the value of Membership Rewards…more so considering the Avios devaluation we’d already seen courtesy of British Airways.
Well, American Express is now giving its cardmembers an opportunity to, once again, transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways at a rate of 1:1 or better.
As you can see from the screenshot, through 10 October 2016 (no hurry!), cardmembers can transfer their Membership Rewards points to British Airways with a 50% bonus….which equates to a transfer ratio of 1000:1200.
Should You Transfer?
Well, if you’ve been thinking about transferring your points to Avios then this is as good a time as any – I doubt that we’ll see a better bonus than this any time soon.
If, on the other hand, you weren’t considering a transfer to British Airways before this news came out I’m not sure this should change too much.
I’m a fan of Membership Rewards Points (MRPs) but not because they transfer to British Airways (I have Chase UR points for that and they convert at 1:1 ratio every day of the year) – I think there’s a lot more value to be had out of transfers to other partners like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Etihad Guest.
British Airways Avios are most useful for short-distance flights within Europe (where taxes & fees are capped) and for flights of up to 1,150 miles within the US where an award (on American or Alaska) will only cost 7,500 Avios rather than up to 15,000 miles on the other airlines.
But that’s not really a broad spectrum of choices for travelers to use their points on and, if you take a look at the list of other airlines transfer partner Amex MR offers…….
…it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find a better alternative.
If you primarily use what miles/points you have for long-haul flights, then you should definitely be steering clear of Avios (it’s a terrible currency option for flights of any major distance) and you should probably be looking to the likes of KrisFlyer, Etihad Guest and possibly even Emirates for good quality and good value long-haul awards.
If you were already thinking of transferring MRPs to Avios then today’s your lucky day – the 50% bonus just made a big difference to how many MRs you have to transfer for the award(s) you’re looking to book.
If you’re only now wondering if a transfer to British Airways is a good idea (because of this bonus) then make sure you at least think through what you’ll be using the Avios for and what the true cost of any awards you plan to book will be (i.e make sure you take account of all the carrier charges that you’ll be faced with).