Airtran Joins American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards has added Airtran as a points transfer partner.

This new partnership makes sense as Airtran already has a meaningful partnership with American Express, offering bonus frequent flyer credits for tickets purchased using an American Express card.

It’s interesting in another way, though. Juniper Bank issues the Airtran Visa. Juniper’s partnership with USAirways is forcing the USAirways Dividend Miles program out of American Express Membership Rewards and Diners Club Club Rewards. But I guess their contract with Airtran isn’t so restrictive!

The transfer ratio is 1500 American Express points to 1 Airtran credit, which means that 24,000 Membership Rewards points buys a capacity controlled domestic reward ticket. Sounds about right. But the best use of these points isn’t going to be transferring that many for a free ticket. The way to use the partnership is to top off an Airtran account. Say you have 13 or 14 Airtran credits, transfer 2 or 3 and claim your award rather than letting the points expire. Airtran credits expire after a year.

As a simple yet obvious reminder, don’t transfer points into your Airtran account until you need them. First, because Airtran points expire. Second, because points from the current Wendys promotion may wind up overwhelming award availability.

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, 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. I didn’t learn that USAirways Dividend Miles Program was severing its ties with American Express Membership Rewards until it was too late to transfer miles from the latter to the former. I received no notice from USAirways, and when I found out in mid-January from their website and wrote them, they said the equivalent of too bad. Anyone else have this problem? Any solutions? Thanks. Snuppy

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