An interesting side effect of the failure of Congress to re-authorize the FAA, in addition to airlines not charging federal taxes on ticket sales, is that the American Express Membership Rewards program is not charging their fee (which ostensibly recoups taxes) on transfers to U.S. frequent flyer mile programs.
Normally Amex charges $0.0006 per point (capped at $60 per 100,000 miles transferred) when moving points to U.S. airline mileage programs. The fee isn’t charged when transferring to hotel programs or to non-U.S. programs like British Airways and Singapore Krisflyer.
That means if you’re considering a transfer to a U.S. program like Delta or Continental (before the Amex-Continental relationship ends September 30), this is a good time to do it – save yourself up to $60.
To me the transfer fees are annoying, but the lack of fees aren’t a reason to transfer now — unless you were already going to move points over to Continental before their relationship ends, and this just accomplishes that goal for less money. I’d rather pay the fee later and retain the flexibility of having points in Amex than transfer now and lock in where my miles are while not knowing who is going to have the award availabilty when I need to book.
In other words, for most this won’t influence behavior a whole lot. But I’m glad to see Amex not ‘recouping taxes’ that they aren’t being charged.
Presumably mileage purchases with airlines directly shouldn’t incur a fee either, but I haven’t checked whether the airlines have removed taxes from these transactions or not.