American Express Membership Rewards offering 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club through September 27, 2012

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.


  1. @ Michael — Do you have a US card? When you click on British Airways it doesn’t show you the transfer ratio above?

  2. @ Michael and @Lucky,

    I’ve been having the same problem with MR and don’t see any bonus offering- just the 1:1 ratio! 🙁

  3. is it worth it to transfer MR to avios to fly LAN to south america? Any suggestions? Redemption rates?

  4. Yeah it came up for me too! Yahoo!
    Now I have a dilemma whether I should transfer to BA and wait for a good opportunity to redeem or whether I should wait and transfer to Singapore next time I want to go to Asia in business class.
    I know, first world problems…

  5. Oh no! I just transferred 30K points to BA last week from Amex. I wonder if they would give me the extra 40% if I contact them?

  6. Lucky, it’s also worth noting that the bonus *may* be for US cardholders only as previous campaigns have been.

  7. @ Mike — Unfortunately I suspect you’re out of luck. Based on what I’ve heard they don’t usually match transfer bonuses at later dates.

  8. Worth noting that while on domestic itineraries (e.g. JFK-BOS) the cost is 4,500 avios one way (9,000 RT) on international itineraries (e.g. LGA-YUL, MIA-NAS) BA allows you to use fewer avios and pay a little more, sort of like using the cash and points option with SPG. So, for instance, New York to Montreal on BA can be had for 4,500 round trip and around $130-$165 (depending on whether you fly out of JFK or LGA) whereas on Air Canada, the same itinerary would be 15,000 Aeroplan Miles and ~$175 round trip.

    Of course, if you are flush with Avios, the 9,000 price point is worth it, but if you don’t have that many, you can get two seats for the price of one + ~$60 premium for each round-trip.

  9. came at the right time! I was one who took advantage of the Amex Gold 75k sign up, transferred over to continental 2 weeks before their partnership ended (all this in a 2 weeks span from meeting the spend req to convincing them to expedite my points and transferring over)!! Annaul fee for the amex just popped up today, had some remaining points, created a British Airways account and transferred them all. I have enough for a round trip to asia =D

  10. Lucky, I hope you can help me please! My husband’s company pays for our home leave from SIN – JFK RT (we used to take SQ economy) only in economy. This time, we want to take Cathay Pacific and upgrade to Premium economy or even business if possible with Miles or cash (if reasonable). Miles wise, we don’t have asia miles but we do have about 90,000 membership reward points and 50,000 avios each. I know membership reward points is transferable to asia miles at 1:1 ratio. Is there a better option? Other airline options with better redemption/purchase rates? Thank you so much in advance!!!

  11. @ Audrey — To help provide a better answer, can you tell me whether they’re willing to pay for full fare economy, or only the cheapest possible fare?

  12. I need to transfer 496,000 miles from Amex as my company has cancelled our cards. AMeX told me I have 90 days. Whats the best bang for the transfer buck? Thanka

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