An offer hit my inbox yesterday regarding a transfer bonus when converting American Express Membership Rewards points to Aer Lingus Aer Club Avios. I’ve never converted points to Aer Club, so this is a new one for me. The cool thing is, Avios are exchangeable between all three IAG Airlines: Iberia, British Airways, and Aer Lingus. This means that it is effectively a 40% bonus to all of these programs. Upon logging into my account, the bonus actually shows for all Avios programs, which makes total sense.
Amex seems to like offering targeted transfer bonuses these days, so I’m not sure how widely this is available to cardmembers.
Should You Transfer Amex Points to Avios with a 40% Bonus?
The 40% transfer bonus will net you 1,400 Avios for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points transferred. While Avios are not the most valuable of currencies, and British Airways recently underwent a modest devaluation, there are still some great uses. Hawaii from the West Coast for just 13,000 Avios is still one of the better deals. You can also fly nonstop in economy or business somewhat competitively, but you’re often subject to egregious fees.
For example, with the 40% bonus, ba.com shows you can fly from San Francisco to London for just ~45,000 Membership Rewards during off-peak dates, but you’ll pay a whopping $600+ in taxes and fuel surcharges. Not a bad deal miles-wise. Terrible from a cash perspective. I’d rather book a ticket using another currency than shell out that much.
Unless I had a use for them now, I’m not sure I would transfer points to Avios. But if you do have a planned use, now is the time to jump. You really cannot beat a 40% bonus. I am very much not into speculative transfers, though. In general, I will only transfer points under two circumstances:
- I have an immediate use for them
- They are expiring
Keeping your points as flexible currency is ideal. I like having airline miles and hotel points as much as the next guy, but it is best to hang onto points that can be used in a variety of programs. It is the rare case when I will transfer points speculatively.
I did have one situation where I failed to transfer points when a bonus was running, only to do so a few weeks later. There were no immediate plans to use the points when the bonus was running, but it was annoying to know that I could have stretched my Membership Rewards further. I also did one speculative transfer when there was a 20% Asia Miles transfer bonus with Citi points. But I didn’t go all-in, just enough to hit a useful total. In this case, I had an idea of how I wanted to use them, but wasn’t read to pull the trigger.
If you have been eyeing an Avios redemption and also have this offer, now may be the time to jump. I’ve not seen a better bonus than 40%. If you’re not sure when and how you’ll use the points, I would be a bit more cautious. But don’t let miles expiry dissuade you if you are thinking you should transfer Amex points to Avios and are sure you’ll use them fairly soon. British Airways Avios are one of the easiest currencies to keep from expiring.