A couple of weeks ago, Etihad Guest was added as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Previously Citi ThankYou points could already be transferred to Etihad Guest, in addition to Starwood Preferred Guest points, so that means that three of the major transferable points currencies can now be converted into Etihad Guest miles.
Historically I’ve always used American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad, though unfortunately many of those redemptions were devalued as of March 22, 2016. As I said when Etihad was added as an Amex transfer partner, the ability to transfer points could be quite lucrative in conjunction with a transfer bonus. Well, ask and ye shall receive.
Through June 15, 2016, Amex Membership Rewards is offering a 30% transfer bonus to Etihad Guest. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Membership Rewards points convert into 1,300 Etihad Guest miles. There’s no limit to how many miles you can transfer under this offer.
In the last post I gave the following examples of premium cabin redemption costs through Etihad Guest:
- New York to Abu Dhabi — 88,391 miles in business class, 117,560 miles in first class
- London to Abu Dhabi — 65,964 miles in business class, 87,732 miles in first class
- Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi — 108,076 miles in business class, 143,741 miles in first class
That means through this transfer bonus, 68,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a business class award between New York and Abu Dhabi, and 91,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a first class award between New York and Abu Dhabi. Given that American now charges 115,000 miles for first class between the US and the Middle East/India, I’d say that’s a very good redemption value under many circumstances. Do keep in mind that connections on either end would cost you extra.
This is an especially good value when you consider how easy it is for many to accrue Membership Rewards points. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card can earn 1.5x points on everyday spend (and up to 4.5x points on US supermarkets and 3x points on US gas), while the American Express® Gold Card earns 4x points at US restaurants, 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and 3x points on airfare. In other words, you can earn points at a really fast pace.
With a bonus, transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest may be one of my new favorite uses of Amex points. I’m going to guess that we’ll be seeing transfer bonuses once in a while, which could make this the best way to redeem miles for Etihad premium cabins under many circumstances.
I probably wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Etihad without a near term use in mind, given that a large part of the value of transferable points currencies comes from the flexibility of being able to use them for all kinds of things. I suspect we’ll see another transfer bonus at some point in the not too distance future. But if you are planning on redeeming for Etihad in the next six or so months, I’d probably go ahead and transfer some points.
Is a 30% bonus enough to get you to transfer Amex points to Etihad?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)