Travel Tuesday: Amex’s Current Limited-Time Transfer Bonuses
When it comes to collecting points and miles via credit cards, one of the most confusing factors is that the value of the points you earn can vary greatly depending on how you choose to redeem them. For example, while American Express’s Membership Rewards points will typically only net you 0.6¢ per point when used to cover everyday purchases, they can be worth a lot more when transferred to airline and hotel partners and redeemed for travel. This is especially true right now as several Amex transfer partners are temporarily increasing their transfer rates.
Backing up for a moment, I should probably explain what I mean by “transfer partner.” Currently, American Express works with more than 20 airline and hotel chains, each allowing customers to turn their Membership Rewards points into loyalty points in their respective programs. For example, Amex customers can transfer their MR points to Delta’s SkyMiles program at a rate of 1:1 (1,000 MR points turn into 1,000 SkyMiles). However, this transfer rate varies by partner — and, right now, the transfer rate has been adjusted for a few select brands.
For a limited time, American Express customers can earn between 15% and 40% more points when they transfer to a dozen select travel partners. Currently, it looks as though the 10 airline offers are valid through September 30th, while the two hotel brand offers will continue through Halloween (October 31st, of course).
Here’s a list of each of the point promotions by brand, along with what enhanced transfer rate works out to:
- Aer Lingus: 40% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,400 Avios points)
- AeroMexico: 25% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 2,000 Premier points)
- Air Canada: 20% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,200 Aeroplan)
- Air France/KLM: 25% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,250 Flying Blue points)
- Avianca: 15% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,150 LifeMiles)
- British Airways: 40% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,400 Avios points)
- Hawaiian Airlines: 25% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,250 HawaiianMiles)
- Hilton: 30% more through 10/31 (1,000 MR = 2,600 Hilton Honors points)
- Iberia: 40% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,400 Avios points)
- Marriott: 30% more through 10/31 (1,000 MR = 1,300 Marriott Bonvoy points)
- Quantas: 20% more through 9/30 (500 MR = 600 Quantas points)
- Virgin Atlantic: 30% more through 9/30 (1,000 MR = 1,300 Virgin points)
Having a couple hundred thousand Membership Rewards points to my name, I really wish I could take advantage of these current offers and score a sweet redemption. Unfortunately, I’m finding it hard enough to plan any travel these days let alone figure out the intricacies of booking an aspirational trip in the most efficient way. Therefore, I think I’ll end up missing out on this one and waiting until things are a bit more certain before I go about tackling my first major redemption (following my toe-dipping first mini-redemption… which I may need to end up canceling too).
The good news is that some of these offers are likely to come around again. Although it’s rare to see so many happening at the same time, individual temporary increases happen with a fair amount of frequency. In other words, if you can afford to wait, it may be worth keeping an eye out for future offers. Meanwhile, if you have a specific trip in mind now and could benefit from transferring points to one of these dozen travel programs, make sure you take advantage of these enhanced rates before they disappear.