40% Transfer Bonus from American Express to British Airways Through September 27

American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways through September 27.

Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of the changes made to the British Airways program back in November. In fact, in anticipation of those changes my Burn, Avios, Burn trip last Thanksgiving to Thailand was partially funded by taking advantage of British Airways transfer bonuses ‘before it was too late’.

But of course British Airways does remain a useful and strategic partner of American Express Membership Rewards. Though there are fuel surcharges added to award tickets whenever a paid ticket would include those (you avoid fuel surcharges when flying to South America, US domestic, and a few other markets). And though the cost of awards are charged separately for each segment. There are some real values to be had — short-distance non-stop awards are downright cheap in the program, starting at just 4500 points each way.

For many, British Airways is the primary way of using American Express points for oneworld partner airlines like American and Cathay Pacific. And there are ways of making the most of these points like transferring them to Iberia when using them for flights on Iberia since that avoids fuel surcharges.

And a 40% transfer bonus makes awards that are otherwise too expensive in their new program much more reasonable.

I’m especially glad to see these American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonuses back. It’s seemed like a dry spell for a program that’s so frequently offered them in the past. British Airways and Delta have been the most bonused in recent times, and I don’t recall seeing a transfer bonus to Delta this year yet.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Just logged in. Can’t seem to see where the 40 percent is applied.

    On Amex it just says 1,000 for 1,000.

    Thanks Gary

  2. @Tom they just had a 50% bonus end in May.

    I wonder if this means we won’t be seeing any Delta bonuses.

  3. I know you are not a fan of Avios, but I maintain that Avios or LanPass kilometers are a critical horse in a diversified stable of points. Both provide favorable terms for short hauls. And Avios can be used one way.

  4. This is good news. I find Avios a niche program that is good for certain things and terrible for others. That’s not bad if you have a diversified portfolio of points. Each program has its pluses and minuses, though I’ve had trouble finding any use for Skypesos the way I travel. Given a traveler who is not interested in transferring for Delta miles, even if that would be bonused, would you recommend doing the Avios transfer speculatively, without a specific future trip in mind?

  5. @BobChi – I wouldn’t transfer speculatively, I think there’s huge value in the flexibility of points to be able to use them for whatever award you want later transferred to the program that has availability. And there will be future points transfer bonuses.

  6. @myairplane – you find available cathay pacific award seats (can be found on the ba website) and book them 🙂 But bear in mind that longer-distance flights tend to be expensive under avios. So compare the mileage cost of the redemption with cathay pacific asiamiles which is also an american express transfer partner

  7. Quick ? from a newbie..
    I have 110,000 Avios.. aquired through a credit card a few years ago… I’ve read about the fuel surcharges which seem ridiculous..

    What are people’s thoughts on using Avios for hotel rooms? Seems I can get a few nights at a good hotel using them .. .is that a waste? It woule be aout $600-$700 worth of hotel rooms for the points.. less than 1 cent a point.. but given the restirctions on avios, maybe not a bad way to use them?

  8. @davve i’d consider it to be a waste considering the other things you can do with these points — and there ARE redemptions with no fuel surcharges — but it depends of course on whether you’ll ever do anything else with the points that’ll answer your question.

  9. When I logged into MR this morning, there wasn’t any announcement of the BA bonus, but it is already calculating the 40% bonus. Try it and see.

    Personally, I think Avios is a FANTASTIC ff program — largely because it is lucrative in a different way. As your primary program it wouldn’t be very good, but it does things that others don’t do. My 9000 mile redemption between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls (no fuel surcharge) earlier this year (a $500+ ticket) is my favorite. I’ve also used it for cheap summer transatlantic travel on the BOS-DUB loophole (25,000 roundtrip). Great LAN redemption possibilities within South America. And short haul AA from MIA and JFK (the Canadian flights are a steal) it’s unbeatable.

    Obviously, these redemptions aren’t for everybody, and if you don’t live near an AA hub and don’t ever need short haul international, this program probably isn’t for you. Personally, I can’t get enough Avios points, and will certainly use this bonus to transfer more points.

  10. Gary, when you say “a few other markets” without fuel surcharges, anything that would be helpful for someone traveling from NYC? Or on the international front is it basicaly South America, Dublin or Spain as options?

    P.S. Thanks for the previous tip to check JAL website for CX space to confirm to AA agents that BA site was accurate. Very long story short, the AA Twitter people found space the AA call center people couldn’t, so apparently availability is consistent across OW, just not across AA!

  11. @iahphx
    Did you visit any special site or enter any particular information to get the 40% bonus to work? I just tried the site and MR is still offering the transfer at 1:1. The transfer rate is the same even once I click through to actually make the transfer.

    Grr…I wish announcements and the actual implementation worked hand in hand!

  12. Yay Avios! My last Avios redemption was a 150 mile flight that was selling for $800 – one way. A nice ~18cpm. 🙂

    Avios also really open up the vacation run options on AA, since Oneworld protects you on separate PNRs within the alliance.

  13. Hey Gary,
    What’s the biggest transfer bonus you’ve ever seen for Amex–>Any Airline? Because if 50% is the highest it’s ever gone, then 40% for BA is not too bad.
    But if there’s been anything higher than 50%, then I’ll just wait it out since I have no urgent need for the miles right now.
    And considering that I have over 100,000 Amex points, I’d sure as hell like to get the best transfer rate. 😀

  14. When I go to Membership Rewards (which I click through from my AMEX credit card home page), I see they are now advertising the 40% bonus. I assume everyone who was previously having difficulties can now see the offer?

  15. Thanks.
    Assuming that the 67% is a rare occurrence,50% is pretty much the best I can expect?

    To what other airlines does Amex offer bonus transfer offers? I’ve heard of BA, Delta, and Virgin. Any others?

  16. Avios are gold for me. I live in Dallas – DFW AA hub. I routinely squeeze 6-7 cents per Avios in value. For instance, DFW to Santa Fe, Vail, or Aspen. DFW First to Cancun/Cabo San Lucas, etc. For super long-haul flights, Avios aren’t the best – but honestly, not that far off.

    Also, it needs to be clear, there are NO fuel surcharges for all AA domestic flights, and most AA international flights (except Europe and Asia, which has fairly reasonable fuel surcharges).

  17. This looks like a US-only offer – can you please make this clear in the article? It’s still 1:1 MR:Avios here in the UK – we also only earn at 1MR per GBP here (equivalent to about 0.6MR per USD) so you get a stunning deal in comparison to us!!

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