Reminder: 35% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to British Airways ends June 7, 2013

Since mid-April, American Express has been running a 35% transfer bonus between Membership Rewards and British Airways Executive Club. There’s no limit to the number of times one can take advantage of the transfer bonus, and it’s hard coded into the transfer ratio, meaning the 35% bonus posts immediately.

The bonus runs through Friday, June 7, so you only have a few more days to take advantage of it. While we’ve seen 50% transfer bonuses in the past, so far this year we’ve only seen a 30% transfer bonus.

British Airways Avios might not be the most aspirational points currency — their award chart is distance based and they have high fuel surcharges on many of their partners — though it’s one of the most useful points currencies out there.

Avios are great for shorthaul awards, like for travel within the US on American and Alaska (awards start at just 4,500 Avios each way). They’re also great for travel between the west coast and Hawaii (as few as 12,500 Avios each way), for travel to Europe on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus, and for travel to and within South America on LAN.

So given the 35% transfer bonus I’d almost speculatively make a transfer if you have upcoming travel in one of those markets.

It’s a good bonus and while we may see a better transfer bonus in the future, I’m not counting on it anytime soon.


  1. Especially from Miami, RT flights to the Caribbean, also I love it for LAN intra South America. Most flights are 4500-7500 o/w or less.

  2. I took advantage of the promotion and now have approximately 150k in Avios, but no real plans to use them. My wife has 125k in MR points that we have no particular plans for, and I’m wondering if you think it’d make sense to transfer those to avoid as well. We live in San Francisco, and I think we’d like to travel to/within Asia within the next couple of years (Thailand and Vietnam in particular). I know Avios are good for domestic short hauls, but we have a southwest companion pass for that, and I’m really just wondering what kind of mileage you can get from Avios to Asia. Thanks for a great blog.

  3. @ Ozaer N. — Anything could happen, though I’ve never seen such a promotion. Singapore isn’t really into “discounting,” so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  4. @ Jimjam — I probably wouldn’t transfer more points in such a situation if I were in your shoes. You can redeem about 70,000 Membership Rewards points per person through Singapore Airlines for their first class one-way between San Francisco and Hong Kong, and can then use Avios for travel within Asia. But you’re looking at a minimum of 105,000 Avios one-way in first class, or 70,000 Avios one-way in business class, plus fuel surcharges.

  5. Ben, curious which business class is better for travel to Europe, Air berlin, Aer Lingus or Iberia. I plan on using my avios for these redemptions to avoid fees and wonder if there is a difference in quality of the product.

    I’ve got 200k avios and about 220k membership rewards so idk if its worth it to transfer speculatively at this point. My main travel concern is business/first to Europe.

    Also, you didn’t mention Iberia for travel to Europe.

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