As I first wrote about in mid-December, the US American Express Membership Rewards program is offering a 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways Executive Club through January 31, 2015.
Since this promotion expires in a few days, I had actually written a post last night about whether I thought it made sense to speculatively transfer points, which I originally scheduled for this morning.
Of course that all kind of changed this morning when British Airways Executive Club announced a pretty substantial award chart devaluation for bookings made as of April 28, 2015.
In light of those changes, should you still transfer points from Amex to British Airways before the transfer bonus expires? Here are my thoughts:
Avios transfer bonuses don’t come along often anymore
Back in the day Amex frequently had transfer bonuses to British Airways, though they haven’t been common lately. The last transfer bonuses from Amex to BA were as follows:
So not only is this the first transfer bonus in a year, but it’s also the best transfer bonus we’ve seen in over two years.
You still have three months to redeem at old levels
Let’s keep in mind the award chart devaluation only kicks in for bookings made as of April 28, 2015. That means you have three more months to redeem Avios at the old levels. In general I’m opposed to speculative points transfers, so there is still value to taking advantage of the bonus now so you can redeem at the old levels.
25,000 Avios for one-way business class between Boston and Dublin is tough to beat!
The single best use of Avios isn’t changing
While it’s hardly an aspirational redemption, there’s no arguing that Avios are invaluable for domestic US redemptions. From my perspective the single biggest “value add” of the program is for shorthaul US redemptions. BA charges:
- 4,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1-650 miles
- 7,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 651-1,151 miles
- 10,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1,152-2,000 miles
And those values stay exactly the same. On one hand do I like redeeming miles for domestic economy class? No, it’s not Cathay Pacific or Emirates first class. But it’s really, really practical, especially given the cost of last minute domestic revenue tickets nowadays.
But yes, everything else is getting worse.
Redeem for British Airways first class before April 28, 2015
Will I transfer Amex points to Avios?
In this case I’m not just giving general advice to others, but this actually applies to me as well. I have literally 460 Avios (yes, like, fewer than a thousand), and a boatload of American Express points.
Personally I’ll probably transfer about 100,000 American Express points to British Airways Executive Club. Why?
- I’m confident the current award chart will apply apply for at least a couple more years, so I don’t think we’ll see a further devaluation anytime soon — their last award chart changes were in September 2011, for what it’s worth
- I’m not confident we’ll see another 40% transfer bonus in the next year or so; it really makes sense to “stock up” on as many Avios as I think I’ll need in the coming years
- My need for Avios for domestic last minute trips on Alaska, American, and US Airways won’t go away
Avios redemptions on Alaska will continue to be valuable
Will Avios be as valuable post-devaluation as they were pre-devaluation? Absolutely not. But they still have a really unique value proposition for shorthaul award tickets within the US, and I know that will come in handy.
Do you plan on transferring Amex points to British Airways before the transfer bonus ends?