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Update: The anomaly discussed below appears to have been a glitch as it has now been corrected
American Express Membership Rewards has launched a great targeted transfer offer for cardholders looking to boost their Avios balances in the British Airways Executive Club, Aer Lingus Aer Club, and Iberia Plus…and something which may be a glitch (or a nice new option) looks very interesting too.
AMEX Avios Transfer Bonuses
There are posts doing the rounds which suggest that some people have been fortunate enough to have been targeted for a 50% transfer bonus when moving points across to any one of three Avios programs, but I’m just seeing a 40% transfer bonus in my account and it would appear that’s what most people have been offered.
This transfer bonus offer is set to run through 1 October 2019 (so there’s no need to hurry to make a transfer straight away) but, more interestingly, there’s also a very strange anomaly that’s appearing in my Membership Rewards account that I’m finding hard to explain.
While transfers to the British Airways Executive Club and Aer Lingus Aer Club both have to be done in the usual 1,000 point increments, AMEX appears to be allowing me to transfer single-digit points across to Iberia Plus.
I’ve deliberatley not written about this for 24 hours to see if this is something that disappears, but I’ve just checked my Membership Rewards account again and the option is still there.
I haven’t actually tried to enact a points transfer yet (I may do so when I decide what I’ll do with any Avios I generate), but it definitely looks as if AMEX will allow me to transfer a lot fewer than the usual minimum of 1,000 points to Iberia Plus…
…and will also allow me to transfer any number of Avios I choose jp to a limit of 999,000
If you try to do the same with a transfer to the British Airways Executive Club this is the message you get:
This is probably only going to be of use to a few people but, if you have an odd number of Avios in your account, it looks like you can now top it up to exactly the number of Avios needed for an award – no Membership Rewards points need be “wasted”.
Should You Transfer Points Across To Avios?
I value Membership Rewards points at a conservative 1.5 cents each while I value British Airways Avios at just 1 cent each so, based just on that, a 40% bonus isn’t worth considering and a 50% bonus is, at best, a 50:50 proposition…but sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
There will be circumstances where you can get significantly more value out of Avios than the 1 cent at which I value them (I got over 1.8 cents of value out of each Avios I used for a recent redemption) so, if you have a solid plan for the Avios you’ll generate by converting Membership Rewards points, there’s every chance this could be a bonus worth considering.
Some of the more popular and very short routes within the US (like New York to Washington D.C.) cost just 7,500 Avios + $5.60 in taxes and fees, while the cash rates can be over $260 one way:
Using 7,500 Avios to book a route such as this one would see a traveler getting over 3.4 cents of value out of each Avios used so, if this is the sort of route you need to book, transferring Membership Rewards points over to the BAEC can be a no-brainer with this promotion (assuming awards are available to book).
There’s definitely value to be had in transferring Membership Rewards points over to the British Airways Executive Club while there’s a 40% – 50% bonus on offer but you should only be doing this when you have a plan for Avios you’ll be generating.
I’ve maintained for a while that we’re overdue an Avios devaluation and nothing that I’ve seen in recent months has changed my mind. If I’m right (it’s going to happen one day!) it will be disappointing if you’re left holding a large number of Avios in your BAEC account because you chose to stockpile for no good reason at all.