Membership Rewards Losing Priority Club as a Transfer Partner on July 1

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…

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. Hopefully AmEx will be pushed to do something to promote their cards more… a new 100k sign up offer would not hurt… transfer to Alaska would be nice too.

  2. Just make sure to transfer 5,000 points over before the deadline and you will be all set to create more points as needed. 😉

  3. Lantean-

    While bonus points are always welcome, the issue here is what to do with those points. As Gary pointed out, the AMEX program has only gone downhill these last few years when it comes to redemptions. When I was at FTU, I met a number of Centurion cardholders who were quite direct that the only reason they still keep the card is the knowledge that if they give it up, they will never get it again – coupled with the hope that they HAVE to do something to create more value for AMEX in general and Centurion in particular.

  4. You can transfer points from Virgin Atlantic 1:1 to priority so the transfer has not been lost entirely

  5. @Steven S

    That’s why I think they should really get new transfer partners such as Alaska.
    Personally, I still think these points have great use, 90k business class to EU with Aeroplan is not terrible, especially if you can incorporate Swiss or Singapore to the route.

  6. I would hate to see Amex lose BA to chase.

    Btw, I tried since this post to link Amex with priority to transfer 5k pts. I am not able to do it. Not even manually

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