[Ends Thursday] American Express Bonanza: 12 Transfer Bonuses, All At The Same Time

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)

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. Lucky timing for me – my BA miles were close to expiration. Was probably going to transfer in 1000 MRs anyway, might as well do it now. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Still eyeing a VA miles for ANA 1st class. So might be helpful since my MR account is the fattest 🙂

  3. There is also an ongoing 30% bonus miles (up to 25,000 miles) on transfering hotel points to UA miles!

    “A member must earn award miles as a result of one or more points to miles conversion transactions from any combination of MileagePlus hotel partner programs that offer a points to miles transfer program that are conducted during the Promotional Period (“Qualifying Activity”) in order to qualify for MileagePlus Hotel Points-to-Miles bonus miles (“Bonus Miles”). Qualifying Activity must be completed by 11:59pm EST on September 30, 2021.”

  4. Almost always these transfers suck

    30.000 AA miles gets me roundtrip to Caribbean. 39,000 Marriot points gets me one night off peak at a category 5 hotel that you get for free with a 95 dollar AF Bonvoy card. Bad deal

    British Airways always made points redemptions painful with huge surcharges

    Hilton points are earned easily and don’t need to be acquired by AA points conversion

    At first glance I would say all these transfer offers are fools gold unless you need to keep a particular account active it seems like a waste

  5. I transferred a healthy amount to BA, as they are my go-to for domestic family trips. Being EP on AA, I can redeem BA Avios at a much better rate than AA miles (plus they’re easier to earn) then put my Advantage number on the reservation and enjoy all of my EP benefits such as MCE seating and priority boarding.

  6. FYI Iberia transfers are broken as of when I inquired about two failed transfers yesterday. I was informed they have been broken for over a week. They were happy to apologize, but not actually do anything about it. Why even list the bonus if it’s non-functional? Sadly my Iberia accounts aren’t 90 days old, can’t use BA avois > Iberia avios without risking availability drying up by the time I can transfer and book.

  7. Gotta agree with Mets Fan. The ROI for many is still very poor, particularly for hotels, and kind of surprising that Gary doesn’t point this out (doubt it would detract from the page hits). The Avios program is probably the most tempting if you had planned travel and could avoid some of the worst surcharges, but I’ve already got too many miles tied up there. And I would not trust miles in AC, given their long history.

    Better to keep the points in Amex so they are flexible for future travel.

  8. I transferred 100K to BA Avios with the intent to open an Iberia account and move enough from BA to get 2 round trip tickets in business class to Madrid. That’s pretty good value.

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