What to Do Now That You’ll Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

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Travel With Grant reports American Express is changing the transfer ratio between American Express Membership Rewards points and British Airways Avios points.  And it’s NOT good news!

Starting October 1, 2015, the new transfer ratio will be 250 AMEX Membership Rewards points : 200 British Airways Avios points.  Or 5:4.

Previously, the ratio was 1:1 with transfers in 1,000 point increments.

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

You’ll Soon Get 20% Fewer British Airways Avios Points When You Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points

The new ratio also applies to Iberia Avios point transfers.

Let’s look at how this change will affect you.

What’s the Deal?

Link:   American Express Membership Rewards

Starting October 1, 2015, you’ll get 200 British Airways Avios points for every 250 American Express Membership Rewards points you transfer.  That’s 20% fewer points than the current 1:1 transfer ratio.

American Express says:

Effective October 1, 2015, when transferring points from Membership Rewards to British Airways and Iberia, the number of Avios you receive will change.

From this date, for every 250 Membership Rewards points you transfer to the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs, you will receive 200 Avios (the previous conversion rate was 1,000 Membership Rewards points for 1,000 Avios).  As of October 1, 2015, you must transfer points to these loyalty programs in increments of 250.

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

Most AMEX Membership Rewards Points Transfers to Airlines Are 1:1, but British Airways and Iberia Are Changing

Folks like transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways, especially because they occasionally run transfer bonuses!  Most recently, they offered a 40% bonus.

And there are lots of cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points, some with category bonuses.  For example, the 3X points per $1 you earn on airfare purchased directly from airlines with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card.

Cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
American Express® Mercedes-Benz PlatinumThe Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Green Card
Blue from American Express® Note: These are the ONLY AMEX cards that earn Membership Rewards points that can NOT be transferred to airline & hotel programs. But you can use these points on the Membership Rewards website for other redemptions. Includes personal AND small business versions of the card.

What Should You Do?

If you planned to move American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios points, it’s best to do it before October 1, 2015.

But I wouldn’t transfer points right away, unless you have an immediate use for British Airways Avios points.  It’s worth waiting to see if AMEX runs another transfer bonus before October.

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

You Should Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to British Airways Before October 1, 2015 – but It Might Be Worth Waiting for Another Transfer Bonus Promotion

After October 1, 2015, it’s only worth transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways if they run a transfer bonus.

That’s because other transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest points still transfer to British Airways Avios points at a 1:1 ratio.  So that’s a better deal!

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

There Are Other Ways to Earn British Airways Avios Points!

Plus, for every 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points you transfer to British Airways Avios points, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus.

Most folks don’t transfer points to British Airways Avios to book flights on British Airways.  That’s because British Airways adds high fuel surcharges to their own award tickets.

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

You’ll Pay High Fuel Surcharges If You Use British Airways Avios Points for British Airways Award Tickets

Instead, you can make the most of British Airways Avios points by using them for:

What To Do Now That You Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

You Can Get to Hawaii From the West Coast for Fewer Points by Booking Award Flights With British Airways Avios Points

If you use British Airways Avios points to book these types of award tickets, you might now find a better value collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Plus
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase FreedomChase Ink Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Sapphire, and Ink Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.

Or earning Starwood Preferred Guest points instead from the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express cards.

And if you prefer earning British Airways Avios points directly, the Chase British Airways card currently has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of account opening.  The annual fee is $95.

Bottom Line

Starting October 1, 2015, the transfer ratio between American Express Membership Rewards points and British Airways Avios points is changing.

From that date, you’ll only get 200 British Airways Avios points when you transfer 250 American Express Membership Rewards points.  Currently, the transfer ratio is 1:1.  So this isn’t good news!

That said, you can still move flexible points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.

Unless you have an immediate need for British Airways Avios points, I wouldn’t transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways just yet.  That’s because they occasionally have transfer bonuses.  So it’s worth waiting.

Will this change affect how you collect AMEX Membership Rewards points?

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3 responses to “What to Do Now That You’ll Get Fewer British Airways Points When Transferring AMEX Points

  1. It’s not such bad news because BA already killed the great deals on business and first class domestic hauls….and they were never a great option internationally.

    But I still think AMEX needs to step up its game with its transfer partners. I love that my AMEX Everyday can get me 1.5 on everything I buy plus category bonuses but I’m struggling as to where I might transfer them. I’d love if I could get a 1:1 Starwood transfer or a reasonable transfer to Hilton. But I can’t. So for now I’ll just bank these and hope AMEX has some good news in store for the MR program.

    Since I’m pretty OK with my airline points and miles, I’m thinking of putting my spend onto my Chase Ink because I can always transfer 1:1 to Hyatt. I’m pretty loyal to AMEX because 90% of the time, their customer service is excellent. But sometimes I feel like I’m stockpiling points in a program that doesn’t really fit my needs.

  2. This may be the last nail in the coffin for me and Amex PRG. They raised their annual fee to $190, which will affect me in Sept. I do like the $100 airline credit and I enjoy those statement credits from time to time. But in reality I get very little use out of the PRG card now that I have the Everyday Preferred. The only use I have for MR points is the BA transfers, and I don’t see the point if it’s not even 1:1 now.

  3. I used the Chase British Airways Travel Together benefit for first class redemption, but the combination of devaluing the Avios program for premium seats and now devaluing Membership Rewards transfers is making this proposition much less attractive. Is it still worth it in your opinion to spend $30K to get a Travel Together voucher, or is there a better option to spend $30K?