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One of the great things about American Express Membership Rewards points is their flexibility, the ability to transfer points to a variety of different airline programs – most instantaneously.
And since they offer cards that earn more than 1 point per dollar on a variety of different kinds of spending you can earn miles in the program you wish quickly. It’s even more leveraged when they offer transfer bonuses.
This makes the fastest earning Membership Rewards cards even more valuable.
But we haven’t seen any bonuses for transfers to British Airways in quite some time.
Chase extended its British Airways partnership last May and then in June of last year American Express announced you’d no longer be able to transfer Membership Rewards points 1:1 into British Airways starting in the fall. So for the past 10 months we’ve had 1:0.8 transfers.
It’s a far cry from a year ago when Membership Rewards transfers were still 1:1 and American Express ran transfer bonuses on top.
British Airways First Class
I assumed at the time that the British Airways-Chase deal precluded other card products from having 1:1 earning with BA. However, it may just have been a function of increased cost for the miles since the BA co-brand also reduced earning from 1.25 miles per dollar down to one.
It’s clearly still possible for American Express to offer 1:1 transfers or better. Back in December they offered a promotion to transfer points 1:1 into Iberia and Iberia points can be transferred to British Airways (provided accounts have been open at least 90 days and had some activity in them).
Now British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on transfers through October 10. That means 1 Membership Rewards point transfers to 1.2 BA Avios.
Of course, British Airways became a less valuable program last year. And then, once we thought the bloodshed was over, they came back and eliminated 4500 Avios awards for short haul North American itineraries back in February.
So now American Airlines and Alaska Airlines economy rewards start at 7500 points one-way for flights up to 1150 miles. That’s still useful, of course, and better than American’s new 7500 mile one-way awards on flights under 500 miles.
American Airlines Economy
I find British Airways awards best for short haul awards, including short haul business class, outside the United States. And I love them for upgrading business class stackable sale fares to first class.