Amex –> Avianca 15% Transfer Bonus
It pretty much never fails.
If I transfer to a program speculatively, such as when Citi ran a 25% transfer bonus to Avianca just a few months ago, I don’t use the miles. And I hate having orphaned miles when I could have t he power of flexibility by leaving the points in the transferable currency until I have a need.
But if I need to make a booking right away, there’s no bonus (I just did this, transferring over 100,000 Citi ThankYou points to Avianca with no bonus to grab seats to Europe on TAP Portugal before they vanished).
15% Bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Avianca
Well, now there is a bonus again! This time it’s from Amex Membership Rewards and you’ll get a 15% boost. My personal benchmark Avianca award is 63,000 points for Business Class to Europe. Avianca can be an extremely frustrating program, in that things go wrong all the time on their website (such as last week when I tried to book a very available mixed cabin itinerary, it failed at checkout, and nobody could fix it requiring me to transfer *more* points over to book the itinerary as all-business).
But at the same time, it’s a great program, because they don’t pass along carrier fuel surcharges. So when things work with Avianca, they are usually a very good deal. You can even book Lufthansa First Class (when available within 2 weeks of the flight) with no fuel surcharges. With this bonus, just 55,000 Amex points would get you a Business Class flight to or from Europe with no fuel surcharges.
As well, there is an Award sale going on to/from Asian destinations. You can find more details on that here.
Need more Avianca Miles?
Finally, if you need to top off your miles, you could consider the Avianca Vuela credit card which comes with 40,000 bonus miles. It also has a $149 annual fee, which really makes it not for everyone, but also has some interesting features like a 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $12,000 spent each year and an additional 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $24,000 spent each year. Certainly very user dependent on how much value that adds.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.