American Express Membership Rewards will be losing Priority Club as a transfer partner after June 30th.
While this wasn’t much of a value to begin with, you can buy all the points you want at six tenths of a cent apiece, it’s still a blow to Amex — having recently lost Southwest and Continental as partners, having lost US Airways before that, not partnering with Marriott. The additions to the program have been fairly weak.
Priority Club is a Chase partner, one imagines that Chase managed to push Amex out here, certainly Chase’s corporate strategy has been to go after American Express and they’re generally opposed to allowing their partners to work with more than one financial institution.
Even American Express’ remaining partners have been losing value — Aeroplan gutted their award chart and then began adding fuel surcharges to partner awards, British Airways eviscerated their program last year as well.
I still like Membership Rewards quite a bit because of the flexibility, and find it worthwhile to earn 3 points per dollar on airfare spend and two points per dollar on gas and groceries with the Premier Rewards Gold card.
And I like the transfer bonuses, 50% extra on transfers to British Airways still has strategic uses despite what BA has done to their program. (I also much like Chase’s offer of a 100,000 point signup bonus for their co-branded BA card!)
And I like that they partner with Singapore, with All Nippon, and with Air France KLM Flying Blue especially (this last one for the promo awards). I’d love to use Singapore miles to redeem for Singapore’s new first class which I haven’t flown yet, and the Singapore Krisflyer program makes more seats available to their own members than to partner airline members. Singapore first class isn’t a bad reward for airfare and grocery purchases.
But the transfer bonuses to Delta haven’t popped up in awhile and are missed.
Losing Priority Club is one more blow in a long series of blows to American Express. They need to add value to the program, in my opinion — figure out a way to finance a US Airways acquisition of American Airlines and bring them in as a transfer partner for instance…