Last Chance: Convert Amex Points Into British Airways Avios With A 40% Bonus

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The past couple of months have been fantastic as far as the relationship between American Express Membership Rewards and British Airways Executive Club goes.

Between mid-2015 and mid-July of this year, Amex Membership Rewards points only converted into British Airways Avios at a 1,000:800 ratio. Finally that unfavorable transfer ratio was changed back to 1:1, which is awesome news.

Not only that, but American Express has been offering a 40% bonus on points transfers to British Airways Executive Club. So basically overnight we’ve gone from a 1,000:800 transfer ratio, to a 1,000:1,400 transfer ratio. Yay!

Anyway, if you’ve been considering taking advantage of that transfer bonus, keep in mind that it expires on Sunday, September 17, 2017, so you have only a few more days to take advantage of this offer. I do think this is a very good offer, though at the same time I wouldn’t necessarily make speculative points transfers — see this post by Tiffany for some cautions before you transfer over points.

British Airways has a distance based award chart, where the cost of an award is based on the distance of each individual segment that you fly. Here’s the chart, which has both peak and off-peak per segment pricing (travel on partner airlines will always be at the peak level):

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomy
Off Peak // Peak
Premium Economy
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
4,000 // 4,5005,750 // 6,7507,750 // 9,00015,500 // 18,000
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
6,500 // 7,5009,500 // 11,25012,750 // 15,00025,500 // 30,000
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
8,500 // 10,00012,750 // 15,00017,000 // 20,00034,000 // 40,000
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
10,000 // 12,50020,000 // 25,00031,250 // 37,50042,500 // 50,000
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
13,000 // 20,00026,000 // 40,00050,000 // 60,00068,000 // 80,000
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
16,250 // 25,00032,500 // 50,00062,500 // 75,00085,000 // 100,000
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
19,500 // 30,00039,000 // 60,00075,000 // 90,000102,000 // 120,000
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
22,750 // 35,00045,500 // 70,00087,500 // 105,000119,000 // 140,000
Zone 9
7001+ miles
32,50 // 50,00065,000 // 100,000125,000 // 150,000170,000 // 200,000

As you can see, redeeming Avios for shorthaul travel can be an excellent value, whether you’re talking about travel within Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, etc.

Do keep in mind that there are often carrier imposed surcharges, but they’re not charged for travel on all airlines. You can minimize these by redeeming on Aer Lingus, LATAM, etc.

As a reminder, Membership Rewards points can be earned via cards such as:

Earn Membership Rewards

If you want to further boost the British Airways Avios you can earn, consider applying for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which offers the following welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios after qualifying spend:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within the first three months
  • 25,000 additional bonus Avios after spending $10,000 total within the first year
  • 25,000 additional bonus Avios after spending $20,000 total within the first year

The card has a reasonable $95 annual fee, and isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning you can be approved even if you’ve opened more than five new card accounts in the past 24 months.

I’m still trying to decide whether or not to transfer some Amex points to British Airways. While I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see such a transfer bonus, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a year before we see a similar transfer ratio. At the moment I have about 200,000 Avios (thanks to having recently applied for the BA Visa), so I’m on the fence.

Have you transferred Amex points to Avios with this bonus, or do you plan on doing so?

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  1. It’s good if you don’t have to actually fly BA. They have actually given up on being a premium airline. Fly short haul business with them, all the business seats have been ripped out and replaced with economy seats with the same leg room, which is also the same as Ryan Air and Easy Jet.

    The only difference between BA Business and Economy, is that you get a free meal. Basically they have shifted their classes down, Business is now what Economy used to be and Economy is now exactly the same as a budget airline but 3 times the price.

  2. Ben – Please do not forget that the Amex transfer also applies to Iberia Avios. The big difference is Iberia has low surcharges. Iberia charges 68K points from JFK-MAD in J class. Factor in the 40% bonus and you can fly Iberia J class RT for 49K Amex points. Not bad….even if Iberia has lower end food, they have a 26″ J class seat…great for tall people with wide shoulders like me. If nothing else, simply position yourself to the EU. Taxes for that flight are a bit over $200.

  3. .+1….All the bloggers neglect to mention that the bonus also applies to transfers directly to Iberia; no need to go through BA. This is important because not everyone qualifies to transfer between IB and BA.

    The biggest value of BA miles has been AA US awards but those have dropped drastically. AA doesn’t even give BA all their super saver awards they post—which is damn little to begin with.

    Alaska and LATAM are good uses of BA miles with decent availability.

    Intra-Europe is not such a bargain as airfares there are so low.

    I’ll probably throw my 130K AMEx points over even though I have 300K BA miles already. I’m a sucker for “bargains”. And with Delta as the biggest alternative, why not?

    I have heard because of Brexit IAG’s future is in doubt.

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