30% Bonus on Transfers from Membership Rewards to British Airways

Via Mommypoints, American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 30% bonus on transfers to British Airways through January 31.

It’s not as generous as the February/March 40% bonus or the June/July 50% bonus.

And both of those were offered before British Airways decided to make up a new word for its frequent flyer program, “Avios” — a fitting change because they want you to make believe that the program retains much value.

Still, there are times when you’ll want to use Amex points to redeem awards via British Airways. And a 30% bonus is better than no bonus! I rather thought they’d bring back bonuses once they made their points less valuable, though I admit I was hoping it would be 50% again, perhaps that’ll be offered again in the future.

In fact, it makes those short-haul non-stop awards within the US pretty cheap (transfer 7000 points for that Houston-Dallas roundtrip you’ve been wanting so badly).

And the short hop transatlantics are priced less expensively under the new program, it’s 80,000 ‘Avios’ roundtrip for New York – London in business class meaning it’ll take just 62,000 Amex points.

You’ll pay fuel surcharges on the award of course, but at only 62,000 points roundtrip that may be worthwhile — especially if your points balance is limited.

I wouldn’t make any speculative transfers under this bonus. But if you have a need to book a transatlantic premium cabin (transatlantic coach awards aren’t really worthwhile with this program, because fuel surcharges are often such a large portion of a cost of a paid ticket so you don’t wind up saving that much even when you redeem your miles) this could be a useful opportunity.

And I’d point out that one of the remaining benefits of American Express Membership Rewards that trumps Chase’s Ultimate Rewards would be the transfer bonuses. There’s a 43% transfer bonus to Delta currently, for instance.

And it’s one of the reasons that the I still love the the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card — triple points on airfare (so nearly 4 miles per dollar with a 30% transfer bonus) and double points on gas and groceries.

The American Express Business Gold Rewards card, business version of that same card, offers triple points on airfare and double points on shipping and advertising (GoogleAds!).

Both are no fee the first year, and both do provide a referral credit to me if you use my links to apply. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a fan.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not totally related to the Avios bonus, but I just found out about another MR development…another MR transfer partner being eliminated. On the last page of my November Amex PRG bill it states:

    As of March 1, 2012, AirTran Airways will exit the Membership Rewards program. Any mr point redemptions for AirTran A+ Reqard credits must be made by February 29, 2012.

  2. @jamie AirTran is merging with Southwest, which left the MR program a while ago, so this isn’t a surprise.

  3. While the long haul devaluation was disappointing, the short haul flights are a real bargain and have taken advantage of them twice this week.

    And I earned the companion award ticket this year with $30k spend on Chase BA, so I find that to be an excellent bargain as well from the west coast to the UK.

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