I don’t see any points bonuses without being logged into my American Express Membership Rewards account. But as soon as I log in, it’s a bonanza. Through September 30 (October 31 for Hilton and Marriott) American Express is offering simultaneous points transfer bonuses, including with programs where we rarely see Amex offering a bonus to all of 12 different programs:
- 40%: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia
- 30%: Virgin Atlantic, Hilton, Marriott
- 25%: Air France KLM, Aeromexico, Hawaiian
- 20%: Air Canada, Qantas
- 15%: LifeMiles
I’ve never seen anything like this and I have to wonder whether there are several mileage purchase contracts expiring that include minimum volume commitments. Perhaps American Express has to pay out guarantees to several airlines at the end of the quarter, so whether they do points transfers or not it costs them the same amount? So they might as well burn some of their own points liability in the process.
If this were just based on cost of points to American Express we’d see some programs not on the list, and Avianca would rise higher than it does. And then perhaps they throw in Marriott and Hilton where they have co-brand deals and offer regular bonuses. Notably they overpay Delta so there’s no transfer bonus there.
Could it just be a really broad and concerted marketing effort, albeit one we haven’t heard messaging on yet from American Express? It’s unclear. Just make sure the offer does display in your account if you decide to make a transfer.
I wouldn’t make any speculative transfers, at least to most of these partners. The only one that’s even tempting is Air Canada, but that’s one of the smaller bonuses. It’s great to get more points and you may consider jumping on this if you think you have a near-term use or you’re planning to cash out an account. However the option value in Membership Rewards points is high enough that I’d far prefer to retain the flexibility to decide where I transfer later even if it means forgoing a 30% or 40% transfer bonus.
Update: American Express confirms “this offer is open to all eligible Membership Rewards-enrolled U.S. Card Members.”
(HT: Danny Deal Guru)