Membership Rewards points are best known for their transfer bonuses and wide range of transfer partners (see: 35% Transfer Bonus with British Airways, running through June 7th). Since many people have been accumulating Membership Rewards points through their random LTO offers (currently there’s a 50,000 offer after spending $5k in 3 months on The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN), we will continue our series on transfer options with Membership Rewards.
Last week, I wrote about transferring Membership Rewards points to Singapore’s Krisflyer program. Today’s post is going to focus on a couple other transfer options, Cathay and Air France which also frequently sees transfer bonuses of up to 35%.
With Air France’s new award chart and devaluation, which include hiking up the miles redemption cost for business and first class while reducing the fuel surcharge for economy tickets, we’ll be looking at how to take advantage of the few gems of the new program.
Note that the changes for the Flying Blue program don’t come into effect until June 1st. Until then, the award engine will continue to price out awards at the current miles redemption and fuel surcharge price.
When you log into your Flying Blue account, select the tab on the far right and select ‘Book flight with Miles’ on the left hand side.
The Air France website is the most robust search engine for SkyTeam award bookings, as it displays availability for all partners. As explained before, the Air France search engine will still reflect the higher fuel surcharge. This should go away beginning June 1st. As of right now, some days, including October 9th, show a fuel surcharge of $21. This is because it’s a Delta-operated, or other partner, flight.
Economy tickets on any SkyTeam airline isn’t exactly “aspirational,” but if you’re traveling as a family the new Air France award chart will definitely fit your budget. As it stands, I wouldn’t suggest booking business or first class tickets on Air France once the new award chart comes into effect.
The new Air France award chart doesn’t come into effect until June 1st and you won’t be able to book with the new prices until then. If you’re looking to lock in a cheaper aspirational ticket at the current redemption level, you’ll want to do that as soon as you can.
As you can see, an economy class ticket from 0-600 miles is 15,000 miles roundtrip. British Airways is 9,000. With the added transfer bonus, it’s better off sticking with British Airways.
In addition to the above example and on almost every other occasion, British Airways comes out ahead against Cathay Pacific, and this is even before factoring in the current 35% transfer bonus. The British Airways Avios program also allows flexibility for one-way awards, while the fuel surcharges are similar.
It’s a nice option to have, but British Airways comes out ahead, especially with the transfer bonus.
I hope this helps as you research options for transferring your Membership Rewards out to one of their travel partners. I think I’ll be sticking with British Airways and Singapore Air.
(Disclosure: I receive a referral credit for the Business Gold card. Thank you for the support if you decide to apply through the blog!)
— Noob Master