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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.
The new ratio also applies to Iberia Avios point transfers.
Let’s look at how this change will affect you.
What’s the Deal?
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.
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 Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
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.
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!
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.
Instead, you can make the most of British Airways Avios points by using them for:
- Domestic award tickets on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines (short-haul flights under 650 miles cost only 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way)
- Flights on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines from the West Coast to Hawaii (25,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip in coach)
- Cheap award flights to Europe on Aer Lingus or Air Berlin (fewer points than other airlines and lower fuel surcharges)
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 Cards||Business Cards|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Chase Ink Business Preferred|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card|
|Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)|
|Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire, and Ink Business Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business 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.
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?