When Will AmEx Have Another British Airways Transfer Bonus?

Filed Under: American Express, British Airways
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Reader dantheman asked in the “Ask Lucky” forum about when I think there will be another transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club.

British Airways transfer partners

British Airways is transfer partners with three flexible points currencies — American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Sometimes flexible points currencies offer a bonus when you convert their points to a partner program. What are the odds of a British Airways transfer bonus being offered soon?

  • We’ve never seen a transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Executive Club
  • Historically American Express Membership Rewards has most frequently offered transfer bonuses to British Airways, as much as 40% or so
  • Starwood Preferred Guest has rarely offered transfer bonuses to British Airways, and when they do they’re quite small, like 10%


Amex to British Airways transfer ratio being devalued

We’ve established that Membership Rewards historically has the most transfer bonuses to British Airways.

Unfortunately there’s bad news, which I first wrote about in June. As of October 1, 2015, the American Express to British Airways transfer ratio will be devalued from the current ratio of 1000:1000 to the new ratio of 250:200 (or 1000:800, to do a side-by-side comparison). My guess is that this is due to British Airways’ co-branded credit card being issued by Chase, so they didn’t want American Express having such a lucrative transfer ratio.


If I were a betting man, I’d guess we won’t see a transfer ratio from Amex to BA before that change in transfer ratios occurs, since it’s only a few weeks away.

However — and this is pure speculation on my part — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a transfer bonus shortly after the transfer ratio is devalued.

For context, here are the most recent transfer ratios we’ve seen from Amex to British Airways:

The transfer ratios are definitely less frequent than before, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become somewhat more frequent again.

Will Amex still be the best option for earning Avios?

Historically Membership Rewards has been the best way to accrue British Airways Avios, in my opinion.

Perhaps this is an unpopular viewpoint, but I actually believe that American Express Membership Rewards will continue to be the best way to accrue British Airways Avios:

  • I suspect we’ll continue to see transfer bonuses, though they may not be very frequent; if you’re ready to transfer at the right time, I suspect you’ll still get a better than 1:1 transfer ratio.
  • For everyday spend, I use the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which offers 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle. That’s the single best return on everyday spend of any card out there, in my opinion.

Bottom line

I certainly could be wrong, though personally I wouldn’t be in a rush to transfer points from Amex to British Airways before the transfer ratio is devalued. I suspect we’ll see some transfer bonuses in the future which will result in a better than 1:1 transfer ratio.

And the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card and American Express® Gold Card continue to be pretty unbeatable cards to use for everyday spend. When you factor in that you can earn 3-4.5x points per dollar spent in some categories on those cards, you’re looking at a pretty great rate of return.

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  1. “However — and this is pure speculation on my part — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a transfer bonus shortly after the transfer ratio is devalued.”

    Interesting you state the above, since based on the information you provided, there was a 15 month gap between the last transfer bonus and the one immediately preceding it.

    Consequently, if the transfers of recent past are the new normal, I would not expect the next bonus to be before March 2016.

    On the other hand, you have more than enough evidence that AMEX is losing partners left and right, they are curtailing transfer rations — witness the BA reduction — and you still claim that one should expect a new transfer bonus “shortly after” this reduction is to take effect?

    I don’t consider 6 months — based on historical data — to be shortly, but what do I know.

    Well, I do know that I am not pushing anyone’s credit cards, least of all AMEX MR cards.

  2. Hmmm, by the end of the month I should 40,000 pts I can transfer to add to my easy 50,000 I got from the recent credit card offer.

  3. FYI and for your Canadian readers, the RBC Avion Visa card transfers 1:1 and there are promos twice a year for a 50% bonus.

  4. If this applies to the Canadian Amex, too, it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, for me.

    I’m with CS and heading to RBC Avion and taking my corporate spend with me.

  5. Lucky, THANK YOU for your effort, time and willingness to share your airline experiences with the REST OF US. I currently have 1.1Million AMEX MEMBERSHIP REWARDS points which I have painfully accumulated over the past 39 years (joined in 1976). My wife, daughter (26 yrs old) and I are planning a round trip visit to London from Boston in September and would like your guidance/suggestions as to how we might best travel on British Airways, Business Class, using/converting some of these points. Gratefully, Uncle Jack

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