Amex 40% Transfer Bonus To British Airways Avios

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One of the most useful transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards is British Airways Executive Club.

40% Amex to BA transfer bonus

Through January 31, 2015, Amex Membership Rewards is offering a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club.

British-Airways-Avios-Bonus-1

The bonus is hard-coded into the transfer ratio at a rate of 1,400 Avios per 1,000 Membership Rewards points, meaning you can earn the bonus an unlimited number of times. There’s no registration required.

British-Airways-Avios-Bonus-2

I know a lot of people have been waiting for this promotion, given how few transfer bonuses we’ve seen from Membership Rewards’ better transfer partners lately. Back in the day they were common, while this is the only transfer bonus we’ve seen from Amex to British Airways all year.

To put this into context, the last transfer bonuses from Amex to BA were as follows:

Why BA Avios are awesome

British Airways Executive Club is somewhat of an unconventional program, given that they have a distance based award chart. They charge you based on the distance you fly on a per segment basis (in other words, you’re charged individually for each segment, as opposed to for the cumulative cost of flying between your origin and destination).

Their distance based chart looks as follows:

Distance in Air MilesAvios Cost in EconomyAvios Cost in BusinessAvios Cost in First
1-6504,5009,00013,500
651-11517,50015,00022,500
1152-200010,00020,00030,000
2001-300012,50025,00037,500
3001-400020,00040,00060,000
4001-550025,00050,00075,000
5501-650030,00060,00090,000
6501-700035,00070,000105,000
7001-1000050,000100,000150,000

This makes Avios exceedingly valuable for short distance flights, which are often disproportionately expensive. Being able to redeem 4,500 Avios for any flight under 650 miles is a great value, especially since you can redeem for travel on Alaska, American, and US Airways, just to name a few.

British Airways Executive Club does impose fuel surcharges for travel on some partner airlines. Generally it’s easier to list the airlines on which they have no/low fuel surcharges, which include:

Aer-Lingus-Business-Class
Redeem just 25,000 Avios for Aer Lingus business class between Boston and Dublin

I would speculatively transfer points

I don’t often say this because I tend to think a lot of the value from transferable points currencies comes from the flexibility they provide. That being said, this is the first transfer bonus we’ve seen all year, and the biggest we’ve seen in roughly two years.

Personally I’ll speculatively be transferring some points to British Airways with this offer, as I find Avios to be one of the most practical points currencies.

Other ways to earn Avios

One other great thing about the BA Avios program is that they partner with the three “major” transferable points currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. That makes Avios extremely easy to come by for the purposes of topping off accounts. But rarely do we see transfer bonuses, which makes transferring them from Membership Rewards especially tempting.

Here’s a chart with all the cards from which you can convert points into Avios:

CardCurrent BonusDetails
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardEarn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine

Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
• Annual Fee of $0 for the First Year, then $95
• No foreign transaction fees
• 2x points on travel and dining
Ink Plus® Business Credit CardEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening• $95 annual fee
• No foreign transaction fees
• 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services; 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels
The Amex EveryDay℠ Credit Card and Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card from American ExpressAmex EveryDay: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Amex EveryDay Preferred: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Terms and Conditions apply
Amex EveryDay:
• Get 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Amex EveryDay Preferred:
• Earn 3X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 2X points at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express25,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195
• Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
• 3X points on one category of your choice from the following: Airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. 2X points on the 4 remaining categories. 1Xpoints on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter.
Mercedes Benz Platinum Card from American Express50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $3,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
Annual fee: $475
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit, 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
The Platinum Card® from American Express40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months
Terms and Conditions apply
Annual fee: $450
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit, 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months
Terms and Conditions apply
• Annual fee: $450
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
• Get a 25% bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline partner
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
• Get a 25% bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline partner

On top of that, British Airways has a US co-branded credit card, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.

It’s a fairly lucrative card in that it offers 1.25 Avios per dollar spent, as well as a companion certificate valid for a second passenger on a British Airways award reservation after spending $30,000 on the card annually. But there aren’t any great category bonuses other than that.

In general, you can’t beat an American Express credit card for accruing Avios, between the bonus spend categories and occasional transfer bonuses.

Bottom line

This is exciting, and I suspect many of you will jump on the opportunity to convert Membership Rewards points into Avios… as you should!

Will you be converting Amex points into Avios with this promotion?

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Comments

  1. Why are the TYP cards listed in the chart? You can’t transfer them into Avios, can you? Or did I miss something?

  2. Ben – Can you redeem Avios for CX travel?
    For an itinerary like JFK-HKG-HYD(or anywhere in India) how much would the fuel and surcharges approximately run?

  3. I think you mean the sentence just before the chart to read “transfer Avios” and not “transfer MR points”

  4. Hi Ben,
    Perhaps just thinking aloud, I have a good number UR and UA points, plus about 150k AA and 200k MR. I had picked up the Amex cards to get to SQ but now accessible through UR. Wondering the best use of the MR points and hand been thinking of a first class trip for 2 to SE Asia on CX or via the middle east. Looking at your response to Phatmiles I might be better off and transferring to BA and collecting this bonus rather than using the AA miles for CX. I guess my question is, do you thing so and what are the risks of miles in BA expiring?

    Thanks LF.

  5. @ Levy Flight — In general I think it’s still a better value to redeem American miles, given their lower redemption rates and lack of fuel surcharges. That being said, given your mileage balances it could make sense to use American miles for a one-way for two, and then BA Avios in the other direction.

  6. @Lucky – OK, I know I’m not going crazy. 😀 Speaking of TYP, do you think they’ll add any new xfer partners anytime soon? Right now the only xfer partner that really interests me is Flying Blue.

  7. Really interesting offer for me.

    Sitting on about 200k MR points and about 180k Avios right now

    (probably 250k US/AA and, 100k united, and 75k UR as well)

    I know I have about 25k Avios in Australia domestic travel coming in Feb/Mar, but no specific plans for the rest of the balance. That said, I also don’t have a specific plan for the 200k MR points either.

    I’m considering transferring MR points with the bonus to cover the Australian travel and maybe an Aer Lingus US to Ireland round trip. But I’ve already got plenty of miles for that, so I’d just be taking advantage because of the bonus. Can’t decide if the flexibility of keeping those points in MR is the best choice or not.

    Decisions decisions!

  8. Am I correct in believing that Canadian Amex Rewards account holders are not included in this sweet deal? My Amex account offers 1000 Avios points for 1000 Amex points.

  9. @ Brian L. — Would be nice, but also wouldn’t count on it. I think most of the airlines part of these transferable points currencies have enough partners as it stands.

  10. Lucky, another good time-limited avios transfer offer for your Canadian readers wraps up at the end of the month. RBC Avion Visa cardholders can transfer RBC Rewards points for a 50% bonus until that time. It’s a great deal – one which I just took advantage of myself. Futhermore if you’re in Canada and get a new RBC British Airways Visa before year’s end you get double the sign up sign up bonus for a total of 30,000 avios. Same general avios use rules apply which means there are zero domestic Canadian usage options but with lots of AA, US and Alaska transborder flights from many Canadian gateways its still a great short haul hack. Plus Aer Lingus year round flights YYZ-DUB make Europe and the UK accessible for many in central Canada. Worth exploring given we Canadians typically have less generous offers than stateside.

    Love your blog.

  11. Can you transfer to an AU spouse’s BA acct? Care to speculate whether BA devalues anytime soon 🙂 LAX-OGG for 18k MR r/t is a steal.

  12. @ Stannis — You can transfer to authorized users, but not to a spouse if they’re not an authorized user, at least per the rules. I don’t necessarily think they’ll devalue anytime soon, though I could be wrong.

  13. Has anyone heard whether this Avios bonus scheme will soon apply to UK AMEX holders? Its currently not showing on the MR page.

  14. Is this only for Amex USA? Tried doing it on a UK Amex Gold and it doesn’t show the 40% bonus. When clicking through the link, it gets so far and then fails

  15. @stuart – do you have a link for that double bonus (30,000) for RBC Avion? I can only find the usual, 15,000 bonus offer. Thx

  16. We are sitting on a ton of US and AA miles as well as MR points. Is there any advantage to converting some of our Amex miles to Avios – presumably for short haul award travel in that situation? Is there greater availability or less miles required using Avios?

  17. I’m new to this, but I just searched BA/Executive Club/Spending Avios site and not one of my upcoming 5 US domestic flights in May 2015 has award availability.This would be a great deal if they had seats available when I need them. Looks like I won’t be able to take advantage of this transfer.

  18. @ Chancensam — Keep in mind award space often opens as the departure date approaches, so it can make sense to monitor.

  19. @ Lucky — thanks for the heads up! Really tempting to transfer at least some MRs.

    FYI, BA’s booking engine still has glitches: for example — when searching a roundtrip IAH-DFW-IAH it works fine and pulls up everything on outbound and inbound; searching IAH-DFW one-way also works fine; however, if searching DFW-IAH one-way, it doesn’t pull up any nonstop flights and tries to route through PHX (DFW-PHX-IAH).

  20. I guess this is only for US Amex card holders. When I log into the Canadian AMEX site it only shows the regular conversion 1000 MR points to 1000 Avios points.

  21. Am trying to make a last min decision as to transfer a chunk Amex pts to Avios to get advavtage of the 40% bonus, for a couple of CX Prem econ or Bus tickets later. I tried to at the following flight on both Avios and Asia Miles:

    CX 3/19 to 4/9–LAX to HKG–Prem Econ
    BA website said 105K Avios and $234

    CX website said 72K Asia miles & $?? (can’t get the price since I did not have enough Asia miles to redeem)

    Even with the 40% bonus looking like Avios (105/1.4=75K ) is costing more (unless CX’s surcharge is higher? Am I missing something? I thought you pay the same amount of points for the same ticket. Thank you for your advice.

  22. @ CTK — No, every airline has different award rates, so it’s quite normal to see that. In this case it indeed doesn’t makes sense to book through BA.

  23. Hi,

    Is the BA award chart change going to affect this at all? Will I still be able to transfer 9,000 points to fly DCA-ORD rt, for instance?

    Thanks.

    Jake

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