One of the best transfer bonuses – and best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points, period – is back. But not for much longer: It's ending tonight!
American is currently out with a 30% transfer bonus when sending Amex points over to both British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia. This bonus is widely available so long as you've got a card that earns Membership Rewards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card– your co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express won’t do the trick, sorry.
But these 30% bonuses run through Thursday, Aug. 31, so you've got just hours left to take advantage before they end.
Read our guide on how to transfer Amex points to airline and hotel partners
Don't worry: There are plenty of options to put these bonuses to use. It can unlock one of the cheapest ways to fly to Hawaii using points and miles, in addition to some other cheap domestic award tickets. You can use it to fly to Europe and back using just 27,000 points – or do it in business class for 53,000 points. And thanks to some changes with British Airways' Avios, it's the cheapest way you'll find to score a ride in Qatar Airways Qsuites right now.
Don't have Amex points? There's also an identical 30% bonus from Chase to British Airways and its partner airlines available through Sept. 22.
No matter how big they are, transfer bonuses like this are great because they're basically free airline miles. And a 30% bonus is great. Just keep in mind: Even with a hefty bonus, you should never transfer points without a purpose to use them in mind. These transfers are a one-way street – you can't get those points back to your Amex account.
Keep reading for some ideas on how to put it to use before this outstanding transfer bonus ends.
Hawaii and Back for 20K Points
One of the cheapest ways to book flights to Hawaii involves … British Airways?
That’s right: You can book flights to Hawaii with miles from the massive U.K. carrier, using British Airways Avios to book flights on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines out to the islands.
While American and Alaska frequently charge 40,000 miles or more for these flights, you can fly from the West Coast to Hawaii for just 26,000 Avios. Factor in the 30% transfer bonus, and you need just 20,000 Amex points to make it happen.
The trick to getting these ultra-low rates is starting your search in Los Angeles (LAX) or Phoenix (PHX), both of which have nonstop service to the islands. You can also start from other cities like Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX) San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), or San Diego (SAN), as Alaska Airlines nonstops to Hawaii are also bookable at these rates.
Read more on the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles!
Availability to book these American Airlines flights via British Airways is typically quite solid – especially if you’re looking at least a few months in advance. The same is true of Alaska Airlines.
Roundtrip to Spain for 27K Points
Most airlines charge about 60,000 to 70,000 miles to fly from the U.S. to Europe and back. One airline can get you there and back for half that price.
It’s Iberia, the Spanish flag carrier. Depart from the right cities and at the right time, and you can score round-trip flights straight to Madrid (MAD) for just 34,000 miles plus about $200 in taxes and fees – or just 27,000 Amex points with this transfer bonus.
The trick? Iberia’s distance-based award pricing system means you have to start your journey from the East Coast hubs of Boston (BOS), Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) or New York City (JFK). Luckily for Midwesterners, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) still works at this price, too. Departing from other Iberia outposts like Miami (MIA), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), San Francisco (SFO), or Los Angeles (LAX) will cost you more miles.
You also need to time it right. Iberia uses peak and off-peak pricing, which means getting these cheap flights at 34,000 miles requires traveling during the off-peak season. Luckily, Iberia’s definition of “off-peak” is typically quite generous: It means you can fly at the lowest rates for nearly 2/3 of the year. Mid-June through mid-September are generally considered peak summer season, with some scattered weekends and holidays blocked off, too. Check out Iberia’s full calendar to scope out the dates.
… Or Do it in Business Class for 53K
Flying business class to Europe doesn't get any cheaper than this. In fact, we consider it one of the best deals in points and miles. And with a 30% transfer bonus to British Airways or Iberia, the best somehow gets even better.
After transferring to British Airways and again over to Iberia, it brings your final tally to just 27,000 points for a one-way Iberia business class flight to Madrid – or 53,000 points roundtrip! That’s a roundtrip flight in business class for less than what almost every other airline would charge you to fly in economy.
Why not fly like this rather than back in economy when you can do it using fewer points?
Read our full review of Iberia business class!
Booking Iberia business class flights follows the same script as the economy example above. Focus on flights from New York City, Boston, Washington DC, and Chicago to Madrid to get the lowest rates. Off-peak travel times are key. And you can book for these ultra-low rates through both British Airways and Iberia itself.
Oh, and a word of advice if you're looking to take advantage of this deal? It pays to plan far, far ahead: Often, your best bet for snagging these business class seats is by booking 10-plus months in advance.
Need more info? Read our guide to booking Iberia business class!
Struggling to find these flights with your miles? We recently sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members an alert for some excellent award space flying Iberia business class for summer 2024. Those peak travel dates mean it'll normally cost you at least 50,000 Avios each way … but with this transfer bonus, just 39,000 points is all you need!
Book Qsuites for Cheap
We saved the best for last.
Thanks to Qatar Airways' adoption of Avios, the floodgates are open to book Qatar's world-leading Qsuite business class seats using Amex points. Factor in this 30% transfer bonus, and you can do it for fewer points.
Check out our full review of Qatar Qsuites!
Here's the easiest route: You could book a simple nonstop from many cities in the U.S. over to Doha (DOH) for just 70,000 British Airways Avios and about $100 in fees. Find the award availability you want, transfer 54,000 Amex points to your BA account, and book it. Done. It doesn't get much cheaper or easier than that.
We send Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members award alerts when they can book the world's best business class using their points, plus cheap cash fares too!
But if you want to take it next level and connect elsewhere – Dubai (DXB) or Muscat (MCT) in the Middle East, Cairo (CAI), or maybe even the Maldives (MLE) or down to Cape Town (CPT) in South Africa – you'll want to turn to Qatar Airways Avios. Just like Iberia, you can combine your Avios balances between British Airways and Qatar. In fact, it's even easier – check out our walkthrough.
And these multi-segment awards wind up being much cheaper by booking through Qatar itself than British Airways. Booking through Qatar, you could fly in Qsuites to …
- Middle Eastern destinations like Dubai (DXB), Abu Dhabi (AUH) or Muscat (MCT) for 75,000 miles – just 58,000 Amex points after the transfer bonus!
- Other destinations like Amman (AMM) and Cairo (CAI) as well as major Indian cities go up to 80,000 miles each way, or 62,000 Amex points with this bonus.
- Getting to the Seychelles (SEZ) or Maldives (MLE) will run you 85,000 miles each way, which works out to 66,000 Amex points.
- Both Southeast Asia and South Africa typically cost 95,000 miles each way – 74,000 Amex points with the 30% bonus.
Take our advice: Book a flight that connects onward to the Middle East so you can access Qatar's incredible Al Safwa Lounge during your layover. You won't regret it.
Qatar tacks on some decent cash surcharges at about $100 for a simple nonstop to Doha or $200 if you need to make a connection. But that's a price worth paying given you can book these incredible flights using less than 60,000 Amex points.
Read our full guide on the best ways to book Qsuites!
Transfer bonuses just don't get better than this.
A 30% transfer bonus to any airline is great. But these transfer bonuses to British Airways and Iberia opens up ways to book some of our favorite deals in the world of points and miles for even less.
But you'll need to come up with a game plan fast, as these transfer bonuses end today, Thursday, Aug. 31.