AMEX Membership Rewards to Avios – 50% Bonus!

AMEX Membership Rewards to Avios – 50% Bonus!

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Last October, American Express decreased the Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios from 1:1 to 250:200, respectively.

Since this “devaluation”, there has not been a British Airways Avios transfer bonus (though there historically have been many in the past).

Today, it seems, was the launch of a new transfer bonus – 50%! This offer is good through October 10, 2016. The new transfer ratio is 300:250, or more specifically, 1000 Membership Rewards become 1,200 British Airways Avios:

MR to BA Bonus

Though isn’t as great as a 50% bonus on a 1:1 transfer ratio, it still comes out to about 20% if there wasn’t a change in the ratio last October.

The Best Use of Avios Are…

The best use of Avios are for short/medium-haul flights in the United States. In particular, British Airways partners with American Airlines. This allows you to redeem Avios for American Airlines (and Alaska Airlines) flights.

Unlike American, though, British Airways Avios redemptions are distance based and not based on region. So in the U.S., anything that is between 1 – 1,151 miles flown, will be 7,500. Compare this to your standard 10,000 – 12,500 for U.S. domestic one-ways, and you have a steal!

The best tool for determining Avios price based on your location is the ‘Award Destinations by Price‘ tool. You simply enter the three letter airport code, and the return is a map of all airports you can fly into with your Avios – and more importantly, how many Avios miles it will require.

For example, if you enter ‘LGA’, here’s what you get:

avios destination by price lga

This works for every airport in the U.S., assuming American or Alaska flies there.

So routes that normally cost 7,500 Avios now only require 6,250 AMEX Membership Rewards. That’s a great deal. Probably the best you’ll get on any mileage program. And unless you’re flying Spirit, most of your tickets will cost over $60 one-way.

Short-Haul Travel Outside the U.S.

While the Oneworld alliance is not massive, there are some solid partners in different continents that are well connected. Because British Airways is part of the Oneworld alliance, you can redeem your Avios for other partner airlines. Even better, for truly short haul flights that measure between 1 -650 miles, you’ll need only 4,500 Avios or 3,750 Membership Rewards.

Here are the airline partners by region, outside the U.S.

  • Europe – Air Berlin, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, S7 Airlines
  • Asia – Cathay Pacific, Japanese Airlines, Malaysia Air, SriLankan Airlines
  • Middle-east – Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian
  • Australia / South Pacific – Qantas
  • Latin America – LATAM Chile, LATAM Brasil

Let’s use Helsinki, Finland (HEL), Finnair’s European hub, as a starting point.

Avios Destinations by Price HEL

According to our tool, you could fly all over the Baltic states (and then some) for only 4,500 each way. Or, with the transfer bonus, 3,750 Membership Rewards. Doesn’t get much better than that, and it is not a low cost carrier!

If you’re planning any intra-country travel like a Euro trip, I’d really encourage you to look into transferring Membership Rewards to Avios while there’s a bonus.

-The Miner

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