From now till 31 August 2019, AMEX cardholders will receive a 25% bonus when they transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios.
The transfer bonus will be automatically reflected in the Membership Rewards portal; there is no need to register and no cap on the points you can transfer.
Here’s the usual and bonus transfer rates, depending on the card you hold:
|AMEX Platinum Charge||All other AMEX Cards|
|Regular Rate||400 MR: 250 Avios||450 MR: 250 Avios|
|With 25% Bonus||400 MR: 312.5 Avios||450 MR: 312.5 Avios|
Maxing out this opportunity with sign up bonuses
Generally speaking, AMEX cards don’t enjoy the best earn rates for miles. However, they do have pretty good sign up bonuses, which present a one-time opportunity to accumulate a large chunk of points quickly.
For example, if you sign up for the AMEX Platinum Charge through the MGM program and spend $20K in the first 3 months, you’ll receive a total of 140K Membership Rewards points:
- 40K bonus MR points for the MGM offer
- 75K bonus MR points for meeting the sign up bonus target
- 25K base MR points from $20K spending
This would be worth 109,375 Avios with the current transfer bonus.
Alternatively, if you sign up for the AMEX Rewards card and spend $1,500 in the first 3 months, you’ll receive a total of 24K Membership Rewards points:
- 21K bonus MR points for meeting the sign up bonus target
- 1,500 base MR points from $1.5K spend
- 1,500 bonus MR points from 100% bonus points in the first 3 months
This would be worth 16,667 Avios with the current transfer bonus.
Best uses of British Airways Avios
In May this year, British Airways devalued its Avios chart. I’ve covered the main changes in this post, but to summarize, the program still has good value for short-haul awards (although not as good as before, obviously).
Some ideas for Avios awards include (all figures round-trip in Economy)
- Domestic Japan flights on JAL (12-18K)
- Intra-Europe flights (8-26K)
- Domestic Australia/Trans Tasman (12-26K)
- Intra-South America flights (12-26K)
- Flights within 2,000 miles of Singapore (12-22K)
A quick summary of some key Avios policies:
- You can redeem an Avios award for anyone you please
- Avios points do not expire so long as you have at least one activity in your account every 36 months
- Avios does impose fuel surcharges on redemptions
- There’s a S$69 refund/change fee for all Avios awards, although the maximum fee is capped at the amount of taxes paid. All changes must be done at least 24 hours before flights
- Remember that Avios pricing works on a segment by segment basis, not overall distance. For example, a SIN-KUL-PNH flight (SIN-KUL= 184 miles, KUL-PNH= 642 miles, total distance: 826 miles) would cost 6K+6K=12K miles in total, not 9K miles. For this reason, you should always look for direct flights
Assuming you’re looking to fly short haul, Avios does have an important place to play in your miles portfolio. Yes, there are fuel surcharges, but these are likely to be minimal on regional routes. Avios can be particularly useful during periods of peak travel where short haul flights are disproportionately expensive.
The bonus 25% helps to offset the impact of the Avios devaluation, and it’s certainly worth taking a look at if you’re planning short haul travel. Although the general rule is that you shouldn’t redeem miles for Economy Class flights, it can make sense where Avios is concerned.