This is up there with the largest transfer bonuses we’ve ever seen. American Express is currently targeting cardholders with 40% to 50% transfer bonuses when sending Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios.
These transfer bonuses are great because they’re basically free airline miles. And a bonus of 40% to as much as 50% is outstanding. For reference, the norm for transfer bonuses is 20-30%. Amex offered a similar promotion last year capped at a 40% bonus.
On the downside, this promotion seems to be highly targeted. And it’s not entirely clear why some cardholders are eligible for this transfer bonus and others are not. So be sure to log in to your Membership Rewards-earning Amex account and see if you make the cut!
Keep in mind you need a card that earns transferrable Membership Rewards points to be eligible. So cards like the American Express Platinum may work, but co-branded Delta credit cards from American Express will not.
This comes on the heels of Chase’s first-ever transfer bonus of 30% to British Airways, which ends Sunday, June 16. But it also comes just after British Airways moderately increased award rates for using Avios to fly on partner airlines.
How to Use the Transfer Bonus
Still, there is some great value if you’re eligible for a big transfer bonus.
Considering you can book round-trip flights on American Airlines from the West Coast to Hawaii for just 26,000 Avios, you’d need only transfer 19,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to book a trip to Hawaii if you’ve got a 40% bonus in your account.
Got a 50% bonus? It’d be just 18,000 Amex points to fly from Phoenix (PHX) or Los Angeles (LAX) to any of the four major Hawaiian islands and back. That’s an absolute steal.
Or how about round-trip flights to Spain in business class for as low as 46,000 points? Iberia offers one of the cheapest ways to fly to Europe on miles. And because Iberia and British Airways are owned by the same parent company, you can use their “Combine my Avios” to transfer miles from British Airways to Iberia. Just beware that both accounts must have been open for at least 90 days to do this.
You can fly Iberia’s business class from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Boston (BOS), or New York City-JFK (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) for just 68,000 Avios. With a 40% transfer bonus, that’s just 49,000 points. At 50%, you’d only need to transfer 46,000 Amex points.
You could also get some good savings on domestic travel within the U.S. for cheaper with this bonus. Flights on American Airlines under 650 miles (check the distance with GCmap.com) still cost just 7,500 Avios each way. So you could book them for as few as 5,000 Amex points.
To see if you’re eligible, log in to your Membership Rewards points-earning card account, and navigate to the rewards hub. Click “Transfer Partners” and “View All” to get the full list of transfer partners. If you’re targeted for a transfer bonus, it should show up!
It appears this promotion is highly targeted, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to who gets what – or nothing. But check to see whether you’re eligible. With reports of up to 50% bonuses, it’s worth trying!
Lead photo courtesy of Jon Osborne via Flickr
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.