Just last week, we reported that the normal transfer ratio from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways and Iberia Avios has returned to the old 1:1 ratio that had been the norm until a couple of years ago. Not even a week later, we have our first transfer bonus on the new even money ratio, with a 40% bonus meaning that transfers are now 1:1.4 or 250 Membership Rewards points = 350 British Airways Avios though September 17, 2017.
- 40% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios
- Points transfer 250:350 (or 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1400 British Airways Avios)
- Minimum transfer is 250 points
- Additional Avios will be awarded at the time of transfer
- Applies to transfers made by 11:59pm MT on September 17, 2017
When the ratio returned to 1:1, I wondered whether this would signal a slowdown in transfer bonuses (the previous 250:200 ratio would sometimes be increased by transfer bonuses to improve to better than 1:1). It’s terrific to see that transfer bonuses are not a thing of the past with a fairly generous offer to kick things off.
British Airways Avios are best for short-haul Oneworld flights outside of the US (where a single flight segment up to 650 miles in distance costs just 4500 Avios, which would require 3,250 Membership Rewards before the bonus as you must transfer in increments of 250. Another great use is from the west coast of the USA to Hawaii, which normally runs 12,500 Avios one-way (a transfer of 9,000 Membership Rewards would get you a one-way to Hawaii).
Iberia Avios is a separate program with a separate award chart. One great use could be business class from the east coast and Chicago to Europe — especially if and when they run an award sale. Even at regular rates, in off-peak season, it costs 34,000 Avios plus about $125 for business class from New York, Boston, or Chicago to Madrid or just 42,000 Avios from Los Angeles or many cities in Central/South America to Madrid. With the transfer bonus, those rates drop to just 24,500 Membership Rewards from New York / Boston / Chicago or 30,000 Membership Rewards points from Los Angeles or some of the cities in Central/South America. Those rates can be an excellent value. See this post from a previous sale for the Iberia award chart.
Avios can also be transferred between those two programs, though there are some hoops — read about how to jump through them here.
Of course, the value of the promotion depends on how you intend to use the Avios — but there are some great values to be had here. I wouldn’t necessarily move points speculatively, but this is a great rate if you have a redemption in mind.
H/T: IAD Gr8 on Twitter