I told you there would be a bonus opportunity coming soon and, as usual, I was right.
You will receive a 35% bonus when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to British Airways. Score. No, it’s not the 50% bonus we saw last year, but 35% is still a very nice bonus. You have until June 7th to take advantage of this offer.
Transferring points is easy. Just sign into your American Express account —> click on “Use Points” —> find British Airways (above) —> click “Transfer Points” and then you will be able to set up your transfer.
You know I love my Avios
I’ve written numerous times about my love for Avios and how I particularly love using them for short-haul domestic trips on AA. I know it’s not Jennifer Lawrence sexy, but it’s still hot to get a great redemption.
Avios are also great for getting to Hawaii from the West Coast or South America. My favorite way to burn Avios is something I haven’t done yet, but I’m doing later next month- 25,000 Avios one-way Boston to Dublin in Business Class on Aer Lingus. That’s value, and helps me save a lot of $$$ by not flying directly to London. Instead, I’m hopping over to London from Dublin for 4,500 Avios and $22.
That reminds me: Avios can be great for international short hops as well. See my 3 part series below.
- Part 1: Intra-European: British Airways, Iberia, airberlin, Finnair
- Part 2: Intra-African: Comair
- Part 3: Intra-Australasian: Cathay Pacific and Qantas
Another reason I love British Airways Avios is that it’s a transfer partner of both Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and American Express’ Membership Rewards program. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program doesn’t have transfer bonuses, though, so I prefer to transfer American Express’ Membership Rewards points to British Airways in times like these.
Currently, there are a few great options to earn Membership Rewards points. The Business Gold Rewards Card(R) has a LTO offer of 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. Also, the Mercedes-Benz card has an offer of 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months, but the $475 annual fee isn’t waived.
So if you signed up for these cards and transfered the 50,000 Membership Rewards points to British Airways, you would get 67,500 Avios. That is, of course, if you met the minimum spending requirements in a timely manner. But that’s more bang than the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which currently has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in 3 months.
It’s nice to see a new Membership Rewards transfer bonus, but only transfer your points out if you have a specific trip in mind, or if Avios is all you ever wanted. I may jump on this before June 7th, but I’ll probably wait and see how my travel plans shake out.
— Noob MasterRead More
You know I love me some Ultimate Rewards points, but I’m all about diversifying. Membership Rewards points are my first choice when it comes to diversifying away from Ultimate Rewards, because in some cases, they can pack more value. So, I thought I would write a couple posts on how to maximize your Membership Rewards points.
It’s true that Chase has plucked away some of the best travel partners (and Executives) from Membership Rewards, but Membership Rewards has something Chase doesn’t….Transfer bonuses!
Transfer bonus promotions are definitely my preference when it comes to getting value out of my Membership Rewards points. It’s like free miles and points from above.
Transfer bonus opportunities
There are no sexy transfer bonuses right now, but history would prove that there will be soon.
Last year, there were 3 different transfer bonus opportunities with British Airways. I took advantage of the 40% opportunity (yeah, I missed out on the 50%) and transferred a good chunk of my MR points. That’s getting some serious value out of your points. And I’ll be flying to Dublin in a month in Business class for only 25k Avios! Raining miles up in here.
In addition to the multiple British Airways transfer bonuses last year, there was a sweet 35% bonus to Virgin Atlantic. This was a hot deal because Virgin Atlantic points transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio! I took advantage of this promotion as well, but of course, this was pre Hilton devaluation. You know, the good ol’ days.
There used to be transfer bonuses up to 67% with Delta, but we haven’t seen a Delta transfer bonus in 2 years. Maybe we will this year, but I wouldn’t count on it.
It seems that American Express likes to roll out their transfer bonus opps in Quarters 2 & 3, so stay tuned.
Sign-up bonus magnifier
Transfer bonuses with Membership Rewards helps you get a larger return on your original sign-up bonus. It’s like a sign-up bonus magnifier. I signed up for the 100,000 American Express Platinum card earlier in the year, and if I use those points when there’s a 40% transfer bonus this year, that would make my sign-up bonus value actually 140,000 Membership Rewards points. Awesome sauce.
There’s currently a 50,000 Business Gold Rewards Card(R) from American Express offer which could easily be turned into close to 75,000 if you took advantage of a transfer bonus.
The best public offer on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold CardCard is 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in 3 months. The CARDMATCHTM tool was pulling up 50,000 offers for about a month, but that ended a few weeks ago. Hopefully something new pops up on there again soon.
Don’t forget about the 50,000 Mercedes-Benz Platinum offer, either ($475 annual fee not waived, but if you travel frequently, it’s easy to justify).
Taking advantage of transfer bonus promotions is the first way I maximize my Membership Rewards points, and it’s the one area where American Express is kicking Chase’s booty. But I won’t wait forever for a transfer bonus to use my Membership Rewards points. Even without a transfer bonus, there’s some great value to be had when transferring Membership Rewards points out to their travel partners. I’ll be discussing this in more detail in future posts, so stay tuned.
(Disclosure: I receive a referral credit for the Business Gold Rewards and PRG rewards cards. Thank you for the support if you apply through the blog!)
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— Noob MasterRead More
Last week, American Express announced a 35% bonus when you transferred Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic. Ehh.
Many people were excited about this opportunity (not so much me), because you can transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton HHonors at a 1:2 ratio.
I personally tend to use my Membership Rewards differently, or during transfer promos with other loyalty programs. There are just too many other easy ways to accumulate Hilton HHonors points.
Hilton has a handful of co-branded rewards cards that earn HHonors points, such as: the Citi Hilton Reserve, basic Citi Hilton, Amex Surpass, and the basic Amex Hilton.
Plus, the BOA Hawaiian, Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic are all cards that earn miles that can be transferred into Hilton HHonors at a 1:2 ratio.
I applied for the Virgin Atlantic card a couple of app parties ago, and I’m just now getting around to transferring my Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton HHonors. I know – I’ve procrastinated. Quit judging.
For all those people who are sitting on Virgin Atlantic miles that need to be transferred to Hilton HHonors – search no more. The *How To* is below. Eat it up.
Transferring Virgin Atlantic Miles to Hilton HHonors
- You can only transfer Virgin Atlantic Miles in increments of 5,000. I had 48,800 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, so I ended up taking advantage of the 35% transfer bonus with American Express. Ok, I guess there is a purpose for that promo. I transferred 1,000 Membership Rewards points (1,350 with the bonus), giving me over 50,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. By taking advantage of the transfer bonus, I didn’t have to leave 3,800 orphan Flying Club miles in my account. Boooyah!
- Once I had my 50,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles in my account – I called Virgin Atlantic at 1-800-821-5438.
- The phone conversation took only 4 minutes. I could’ve talked to the agent longer, because she had a very nice English accent. I got lost in it. I had my AwardWallet app pulled up on my phone, so I had easy access to my Virgin Atlantic & Hilton HHonors membership numbers.
- The agent told me it would take 30 days for the transaction to be complete. Wth?! Luke also just recently transferred over his Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton HHonors, and it only took a week. So, I’m crossing my fingers.
After my 50,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer over to my Hilton account, I’ll be 100,000 HHonors points richer. Richie rich. Now I have to find a destination for me to take advantage of an AXON award. Maybe Hawaii?
Learn to love it.
— Noob MasterRead More