Through September 27, 2012, American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 40% bonus on points transfers to British Airways Executive Club.
There’s no limit to the number of transfers that can be made with this bonus, and the bonus is already accounted for in the transfer rate on the Membership Rewards website.
Through May 31 of this year there was a 50% bonus for transfers to British Airways, though this is the best bonus we’ve seen since then.
British Airways did substantially devalue their award chart late last year so in many cases the points aren’t as valuable as they used to be. Still, for certain types of redemptions they’re the most useful points out there.
Their award pricing is based on the distance of the trip. While British Airways doesn’t officially publish an award chart, here’s Iberia’s, which is the closest thing to British Airways’ pricing:
Just a few examples of great uses of Avios (all one-way):
- 12,500 Avios for coach from the west coast to Hawaii
- 25,000 Avios for Cathay Pacific business class New York to Vancouver
- 12,500 Avios for coach from Boston to Dublin (or just 25,000 Avios for business class)
- 4,500 Avios for coach from New York to Montreal
The above examples don’t account for the 40% bonus, so you’re looking at paying even fewer points for the above.
As you can see, the award chart greatly favors short hauls. Avios have actually grown on me lately, not because they’ll get me “aspirational” awards (though I did enjoy my trip to Ireland in Aer Lingus business class using just 50,000 Avios roundtrip), but rather because they’re incredibly practical for shorthaul flights when a paid ticket would be expensive (and as anyone familiar with airline pricing knows, there’s little correlation between the cost of a ticket and distance of a flight). Furthermore there are no close-in ticketing fees with British Airways, which some of the legacies charge up to $75 for.
Anyway, I’d definitely transfer points if you have a specific use in mind. And I might even speculatively transfer points without a specific use in mind, just because Avios are so practical to have. But there’s really no rush in making a transfer now, since the bonus is good for about a month and the points transfer instantly.