How I’m Spending My 215,000 Brex Points During Their 20% Transfer Bonus

Through August 8, 2021, Brex is offering a 20% bonus on points transfers to several mileage programs.

We’ve partnered with your favourite travel loyalty programs to make it even easier to turn every charge into a chance to explore the world.

This month, you’ll receive 20% more miles for every point you redeem with select airlines. So now 1,000 points = 1,200 miles / points.

The bonus is awarded together with the transfer for Aeromexico, Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Avianca LifeMiles. It’s awarded within a week after the transfer posts for transfers to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

Brex points transfer to:

  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Air France KLM
  • Star Alliance: Singapore, Avianca
  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific, Qantas
  • Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, JetBlue

I’ve got about 215,000 Brex points from the 110,000 point initial bonus offer that ran a few months ago, the 100,000 point Paypal offer, and meeting the minimum spend on the Brex card for the points.

There’s no “obvious place” to transfer miles. Normally I don’t want to transfer points out of a transferrable program unless I have to. The option value is too strong. However I don’t entirely trust Brex as a place to store points, especially since I’m not actively continuing to use the account.

So in order to decide what to do with my points I’m going through an exercise thinking about what to do with them. You can redeem for gift cards, for travel (at 1 cent apiece), for crypto (at lower value still), or transfer to miles.

Here’s my take on each partner:

  • Aeromexico: don’t be fooled by anyone promoting their round the world awards, I don’t know anyone that has ever successfully redeemed a premium cabin round-the-world through this program. Their award prices are mostly expensive, more so than the other SkyTeam program you can transfer to, and whatever value you might gain here is offset by dealing with their call centers.

  • Air France KLM: This is probably the best SkyTeam program for U.S.-based customers. Their awards are frequently much (much!) less expensive than Delta’s. They do add fuel surcharges, their telephone customer service is poor, but the big gotcha is their miles expire every 24 months you don’t take a flight or make a purchase on one of their co-brand cards (or have elite status with them). I already have a stash of Flying Blue miles from transferring points in from Chase prior to the pandemic for a trip I had to cancel.

  • Singapore Airlines: Not inexpensive awards, but this is your go-to for award availability in premium cabins on Singapore Airlines flights since long haul business and first class generally isn’t offered to partners. Plus you can redeem Star Alliance awards with fuel surcharges. But it’s not a long-term store of value because miles expire after 3 years (not 3 years of inactivity). It’s use them or lose them, more or less.

  • Avianca: They offer a good Star Alliance award chart and there are even ways to reduce the cost of redemptions with throwaway segments. They regularly sell miles cheap. Customer service isn’t good, and you’re not going to get them to work with alliance partners if flights are cancelled, you’re pretty much limited to what’s currently open as award space. (E-mail is the way to work with them, or speaking Spanish, rather than English phone calls.) Points expire after 12 months without accrual but transfers into an account keep miles active.

  • Cathay Pacific: expensive distance-based awards and fuel surcharges, but mileage expiration can be extended and I tend to redeem miles on oneworld airlines the most so this is probably the most appealing for me.

  • Qantas: there are a few niche uses of points but this is a program that just keeps getting worse and worse through the years. Their long haul premium cabin awards are too expensive to be useful in most cases. (They do have a useful partnership with Emirates however.)

  • Emirates: Expensive awards, but the way you’re going to redeem Emirates first class awards and JetBlue flights. Points expire three years after earning, and you can’t extend, so not a place to store value.

  • JetBlue: a low value program, almost useless as a partner and they partner with everyone, the only reason to transfer is to top off towards a specific award when you already have most of the points you need in a TrueBlue account.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Without specific redemptions in mind I think of Cathay Pacific and Avianca as the only viable transfer partners. Amex, Citibank, and Capital One all transfer to both of these partners, so it’s easy to get more points into one of those accounts.

I started out thinking that Cathay Pacific Asia Miles would be where I move mine, strictly because I redeem with oneworld more than Star and because I already have a decent LifeMiles balance (they sell miles cheaply all the time). But I am not inspired by this option.

Still, since it’s fairly certain where I should move the points anyway I’m tempted to move them now with this 20% bonus offer.

What would you do with 215,000 Brex points?

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, 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. “Aeromexico: don’t be fooled by anyone promoting their round the world awards, I don’t know anyone that has ever successfully redeemed a premium cabin round-the-world through this program. Their award prices are mostly expensive, more so than the other SkyTeam program you can transfer to, and whatever value you might gain here is offset by dealing with their call centers.”

    Sometimes, just rarely, someone writes something that is utterly damning. This would be such a piece.

  2. I think I would have considered my options before signing up for Brex. That’s why I didn’t.

  3. Alan, you narrowly avoided the agony of having to decide between one or two transcon JetBlue Mint flights @ 80k points each way or one or two legs in Emirates first class at 85k points per.

    Way to dodge that bullet.

    Very little planning ahead required to get value out of this promotion, though as Gary points out these Brex points may be better suited for burning than holding.

  4. Jef, meanwhile back at the farm, I was earning massive bonus points with other point systems. With all the premium flights I take, my points balance continues to grow at a rate 25% faster than I can burn them, so I guess by your narrow standard I really missed out.

  5. @ Gary — Singapore is the obvious choice. The transfer counts towards status right now, they will not go under, and they have the best redemption options. Are you seriously concerned that you cannot redeem a measly 215k SQ miles within 3 years? Counting time from redemption to travel, you have nearly 4 years to use them. That is very easy, even if COVID blocks using them for the first 2 years. You can always use them on a Star Alliance partner….

  6. With respect to Air France/Flying Blue — I believe the requirement to take a flight in order to extend the life of points only applies to points earned from flying and not transferred points.

    I have points sitting in my account (from cc transfers) that were expiring this year and I just extended their expiration date for 2 years (July 2023) by transferring 1k miles into my Air France/Flying Blue account.

  7. I moved them to Lifemiles when there was a 25% bonus last month. 201500 Brex miles became 250k+ Lifemiles.

  8. Glad you brought this up because I’ve been thinking about it as well. I opened two Brex accounts and got the PayPal bonus for one of them so I’m sitting on 332K miles. Of the three alliances, my Star Alliance balance is by far the smallest, so I’m thinking of 2/3 to Avianca and 1/3 to Air France.

    I have a ton of oneworld miles and the Citi cards are easy to churn, so that isn’t a priority for me.

    Like Gary, I’m wondering if Brex will want to keep me as a customer if I don’t maintain an active account.

  9. I thought you could now extend Emirates if you have one of their credit cards

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