Lucky brings us the news that British Airways is now a U.S. American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.
He sees this as good to the extent more options are good.
I see this as huge.
Admittedly, as he points out, their award chart is often expensive. Furthermore they tack on some hefty fuel surcharges to awards (a business class roundtrip award to Europe via Heathrow cost me about $325 last year).
Nevertheless, BA is a better option than Iberia or Mexicana for redeeming oneworld awards. BA offers one-way awards. American Airlines members can’t redeem for BA flights to and from the U.S. So this opens up a world of possibilities for many of us, since I’ve found British Airways to offer exceptionally good award availability especially from the East Coast of the U.S. And they fly three-cabin aircraft all over the world. This is a nice option to India, for instance, or even Africa despite the pricey award chart.
Now, adding BA as a transfer partner isn’t as lucrative as the old days of 100% bonuses each summer on Diners Club transfers, or even the more recent years’ 50% bonuses. But it’s more than just another option. It’s another pretty good option, considering the difficulty most U.S. frequent flyers have in redeeming for transatlantic flights to and from the U.S. on British Airways (Alaska members, it should be noted, can do so…). And considering their overall award availability.
Finally, it’s good to see Membership Rewards add another substantive partner. They’ve lost several like Northwest and Marriott Rewards (ok, they got Northwest back — for a few months — with the Delta merger but that doesn’t count). And the carriers they’ve added have been less than inspriring like JetBlue and Iberia which though oneworld has a very expensive chart.
Happy to see this true ‘enhancement’.