Membership Rewards 20% Transfer Bonus to British Airways and 30% Bonus to Virgin Atlantic

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1.  20% Bonus for Transferring to British Airways

You can transfer American Express Membership rewards points to British Airways at a 20% bonus, through December 31, 2013.

That means that you will get 1.2 British Airways Avios points for every 1 Membership Rewards point that you transfer to British Airways.

Membership Rewards British Airways Virgin Atlantic Transfer

You Can Transfer American Express Points to British Airways at A 20% Bonus

Membership Rewards has had better transfer bonuses ranging from 35% earlier this year to 50% last year, for transfers to British Airways.  So I wouldn’t transfer points unless you had a use for them.

Using British Airways Avios Points

British Airways Avios also has a distance based award chart which makes it a great value to use Avios for short-distance flights, but a bad value (compared to other US frequent flyer programs) to use them for long-distance flights.

So, one of the best ways to use Avios points is for short distance flights.  For example, it only costs 4,500 Avios for a flight up to 649 miles and 7,500 Avios for a flight up to 1,149 miles.

Avios are good for short distance travel within the US.  That’s because you can redeem British Airways Avios for low-level award flights on American Airlines.

They are also good for travel to South America without fuel surcharges, and are good to fly to Europe if you’re comfortable paying ~$400 each way in fuel surcharges.

You can also use British Airways Avios to fly on Air Berlin or Aer Lingus to Europe with no fuel surcharges.

2.  30% Bonus for Transferring to Virgin Atlantic

American Express is offering a 30% bonus for transferring Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic up to November 30, 2013.  This means that you get 1.3 Virgin Atlantic miles for every 1 Membership Rewards point transferred.

Membership Rewards British Airways Virgin Atlantic Transfer

You Can Transfer American Express Points to Virgin Atlantic at a 30% Bonus

Using Virgin Atlantic Points

Virgin Atlantic charges fuel surcharges on their awards, but they charge less for coach awards.  This could help to get to the UK especially since Virgin Atlantic may have more than 2 seats available on some flights.

That said, you’re looking at paying $450 + 35,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for a return coach-trip from the US to London.

It isn’t a great deal, but could save you some cash over the retail price ($1,000+) for tickets to London.

Membership Rewards British Airways Virgin Atlantic Transfer

35,000 Miles + $450 in Fees for a Coach Award from New York to London

Another good use could be to transfer points from Virgin Atlantic to Hilton hotels in a 1:2 ratio.

So you can transfer 1 Membership rewards point to 1.3 Virgin Atlantic miles which would give you 2.6 Hilton hotels points.

You have to call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton. Transfers take about 10 to 14 days in my experience.

This is much better than the 1:1.5 ratio if you otherwise transferred American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton hotel points.

Bottom Line

These transfer bonuses could help if you know that you will use British Airways or Virgin Atlantic miles in the near future.  But I wouldn’t transfer just because there is a bonus on transfers!

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12 responses to “Membership Rewards 20% Transfer Bonus to British Airways and 30% Bonus to Virgin Atlantic

  1. Those aren’t the good uses of Virgin Atlantic miles at all. The good uses are on partner award flights.

    Virgin Atlantic has a fantastic award chart on Delta with no fuel surcharges.. For 35k Membership Rewards + $77, you can get a roundtrip award to Argentina during this promo.

    The US to London on Delta is as little as 31k Membership Rewards + $191 (in government taxes.)

    I also like Virgin Atlantic economy to London one way for 14k Membership Rewards and about $100.

  2. when is deadline for virgin atlantic transfer? Thanks

  3. Plus one to Scott on Virgin Atlantic one way to London since its only like $100 extra, its DEPARTING out of London that Kills you.

    But Scott how do you get 31k Miles on Delta US to London the redemption chart says 60k (Which I guess is 45k + transfer bonus)?

  4. The Virgin Atlantic award chart for Delta flights shows several cities to London roundtrip at 40k Virgin Atlantic miles + taxes. So that’s 31k MR at the moment.

    If you’re checking for the award chart, you’re in the wrong place. You should check the award chart of the airline whose miles you’re using.

  5. I see it now…too bad they only go to UK in Europe! But I guess you could hop a $100 flight to other places since European fares are so cheap…

  6. My goal is to get Amex points from my account to my wife’s HHonors account without incurring extra charges.

    Is it possible to transfer MR to my spouse’s VA account? Or does VA charge me to transfer points to my spouse’s VA account?

    Or, if that’s not possible, can I transfer VA miles to my spouses Hhonors account?

  7. @all: Question that bothers me for the last couple of months – so what then will be the best way to use my ~55k MR points (mostly from 50k signup bonus for PRG this January) as it is already time to close the card soon (I definitely don’t want to pay almost $200 in AF)?

    I am basically open to any possible option – I don’t have specific travel plans anytime soon (but that doesn’t imply I won’t go anywhere, I just normally decide almost last minute); I have active mileage accounts with United and with Delta, have SPG account as well, so now I’m thinking what will be the best use for those 55k MR points… (if it was 50% bonus on transfer to Avios, I would’ve jumped on it in a blink, but 20% does not look too impressive…)

    Highly appreciate any advice! Thanks!

    • @Chris – You can transfer your MR to your wife’s Virgin Atlantic account.

      @Ilya – Depends on your travel goals. I’d consider British Airways, Aeroplan, Virgin America or Delta. Or you can redeem for ~$550 air travel via the AMEX travel portal.

  8. Can i transfer vA miles to spg points

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