Reader dantheman asked in the “Ask Lucky” forum about when I think there will be another transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club.
British Airways transfer partners
British Airways is transfer partners with three flexible points currencies — American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
Sometimes flexible points currencies offer a bonus when you convert their points to a partner program. What are the odds of a British Airways transfer bonus being offered soon?
- We’ve never seen a transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Executive Club
- Historically American Express Membership Rewards has most frequently offered transfer bonuses to British Airways, as much as 40% or so
- Starwood Preferred Guest has rarely offered transfer bonuses to British Airways, and when they do they’re quite small, like 10%
Amex to British Airways transfer ratio being devalued
We’ve established that Membership Rewards historically has the most transfer bonuses to British Airways.
Unfortunately there’s bad news, which I first wrote about in June. As of October 1, 2015, the American Express to British Airways transfer ratio will be devalued from the current ratio of 1000:1000 to the new ratio of 250:200 (or 1000:800, to do a side-by-side comparison). My guess is that this is due to British Airways’ co-branded credit card being issued by Chase, so they didn’t want American Express having such a lucrative transfer ratio.
If I were a betting man, I’d guess we won’t see a transfer ratio from Amex to BA before that change in transfer ratios occurs, since it’s only a few weeks away.
However — and this is pure speculation on my part — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a transfer bonus shortly after the transfer ratio is devalued.
For context, here are the most recent transfer ratios we’ve seen from Amex to British Airways:
- 40% transfer bonus January 2015
- 20% transfer bonus October 2013
- 35% transfer bonus May 2013
- 30% transfer bonus January 2013
The transfer ratios are definitely less frequent than before, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become somewhat more frequent again.
Will Amex still be the best option for earning Avios?
Historically Membership Rewards has been the best way to accrue British Airways Avios, in my opinion.
Perhaps this is an unpopular viewpoint, but I actually believe that American Express Membership Rewards will continue to be the best way to accrue British Airways Avios:
- I suspect we’ll continue to see transfer bonuses, though they may not be very frequent; if you’re ready to transfer at the right time, I suspect you’ll still get a better than 1:1 transfer ratio.
- For everyday spend, I use the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which offers 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle. That’s the single best return on everyday spend of any card out there, in my opinion.
I certainly could be wrong, though personally I wouldn’t be in a rush to transfer points from Amex to British Airways before the transfer ratio is devalued. I suspect we’ll see some transfer bonuses in the future which will result in a better than 1:1 transfer ratio.
And the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card and Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express continue to be pretty unbeatable cards to use for everyday spend. When you factor in that you can earn 3-4.5x points per dollar spent in some categories on those cards, you’re looking at a pretty great rate of return.