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I’ve never seen anything like this. Amex must have a lot of purchased but unredeemed miles to get off their books, because starting today through September 30th, you can transfer to twelve different transfer partners – 10 airline and 2 hotel – and receive from 20-40% on top as a bonus.
In this article
Ten Airline Transfer Bonuses
- 40%: British Airways / Iberia / Aer Lingus Avios (BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus)
- 30%: Virgin Atlantic
- 25%: Air France Flying Blue, AeroMexico, Hawaiian
- 20%: Aeroplan, Qantas
- 15%: Avianca LifeMiles
Two Hotel Transfer Bonuses
- 30%: Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
Sensory Overload: How to Approach This?
As always, that depends on you! Don’t get sucked into any groupthink. For instance, someone might tell you to transfer a ton to Virgin Atlantic to book ANA First Class. While that is one of the best redemptions in miles and points, it’s not helpful if you don’t plan to fly to Asia any time soon!
So here’s my methodology on this:
- What programs do you already use and use frequently? If one is above and you are consistently (even now!) spending, then grab the bonus.
- Check which programs expire points and how often. Make sure you know the rules to extend expiration if they expire. Luckily none of the above programs “hard expire” like ANA and Singapore do, for example.
- Don’t purely transfer speculatively. I say this on every points transfer post and it’s always true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do a well-reasoned speculative transfer. I personally am likely to at transfer to Aeroplan for which I can’t recall a recent transfer bonus. The program was revamped just last year and I don’t suspect they will devalue quickly – and they don’t have dynamic partner awards. They do expire after 18 months unless you have activity, so I’ll make a calendar reminder to extend at that time. This bonus brings an Aeroplan award from New York to most of Europe down from 70,000 miles to a very reasonable 58,333.
Some Great (Specific) Deals
I encourage you to re-read my Guide to American Express Membership Rewards points.
Some standout bargains to me here are:
- 58,333 Amex points each way for Business Class on a Star Alliance carrier from most of the US to most of Europe (flights up to 6,000 miles) using Aeroplan (20% bonus). No surcharges; just a $39CAD booking fee.
- ANA First Class for 42,500 – 47,500 Amex points (30% bonus). For First Class, round trip, you’ll pay 85,000 Amex points from the West Coast or 93,000 Amex points from the East Coast. The transfer bonus will give you the 110,000 (West Coast) – 120,000 (East Coast) Virgin miles required for the trip. One way flights are now allowed, thus my 42.5k – 47.5k range each way.
- Iberia: Business Class on their East Coast to Madrid route where you’d pay just 34,000 Iberia Avios each way meaning you’d need to transfer just 25,000 Amex points to book (24,285 if you could transfer exactly, but it’s in 1,000 point increments. (Note that if you had to change your flight with Iberia, it can be, well, a huge hassle).
- Aer Lingus has some sweet spots as well, like the US to Ireland for 13,000 (9,285 Amex MR) – 16,250 (13,542 Amex MR) Avios with no surcharges or 50,000 Avios (35,715 Amex MR) – 62,500 (44,643 Amex MR) Avios each way in Business Class. This would be if you find space on Aer Lingus metal. The lower pricing is from the East Coast, the higher is West Coast.
- Fly between 651 and 1,151 miles with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines using British Airways Avios. This is 9,000 Avios – or just 6,429 Amex MR points during this 40% bonus period.
These are the credit cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards.
HT: Danny Deal Guru
I’d love to hear what you plan to do!
And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.