An Opportunity to Transfer American Express Points to British Airways At Better Than 1:1

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One of the great things about American Express Membership Rewards points is their flexibility, the ability to transfer points to a variety of different airline programs – most instantaneously.

And since they offer cards that earn more than 1 point per dollar on a variety of different kinds of spending you can earn miles in the program you wish quickly. It’s even more leveraged when they offer transfer bonuses.

This makes the fastest earning Membership Rewards cards even more valuable.

But we haven’t seen any bonuses for transfers to British Airways in quite some time.

Chase extended its British Airways partnership last May and then in June of last year American Express announced you’d no longer be able to transfer Membership Rewards points 1:1 into British Airways starting in the fall. So for the past 10 months we’ve had 1:0.8 transfers.

It’s a far cry from a year ago when Membership Rewards transfers were still 1:1 and American Express ran transfer bonuses on top.


British Airways First Class

I assumed at the time that the British Airways-Chase deal precluded other card products from having 1:1 earning with BA. However, it may just have been a function of increased cost for the miles since the BA co-brand also reduced earning from 1.25 miles per dollar down to one.

It’s clearly still possible for American Express to offer 1:1 transfers or better. Back in December they offered a promotion to transfer points 1:1 into Iberia and Iberia points can be transferred to British Airways (provided accounts have been open at least 90 days and had some activity in them).

Now British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on transfers through October 10. That means 1 Membership Rewards point transfers to 1.2 BA Avios.

Of course, British Airways became a less valuable program last year. And then, once we thought the bloodshed was over, they came back and eliminated 4500 Avios awards for short haul North American itineraries back in February.

So now American Airlines and Alaska Airlines economy rewards start at 7500 points one-way for flights up to 1150 miles. That’s still useful, of course, and better than American’s new 7500 mile one-way awards on flights under 500 miles.


American Airlines Economy

I find British Airways awards best for short haul awards, including short haul business class, outside the United States. And I love them for upgrading business class stackable sale fares to first class.

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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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. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. I’m guessing American cut back on award availability because we can almost never find economy seats with Avios lately. Short haul first has also greatly increased in price to be not worth us using Avios anymore.

  2. Agree with Tummy. I have seen no availability this year on nonstop domestics, except in Business using Avios on American

  3. I just transferred about two weeks ago without the bonus. Does anyone know if there’s a way to reverse the transfer or retroactively get the point bonus?

  4. AA is horrible for domestic connections even to/from their hubs (specially DFW) thanks to Suzanne Rubin (she left AA already after implementing gutting/changes to AA FF program (i.e. no N.A. stopover, no Explorer awards, more categories of Anytime award by reducing Saver awards etc.) with no advance warning to the ADisvantage program..no love lost here!)

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