40% Bonus on American Express Membership Rewards Points to British Airways Transfer

What’s the deal???

American Express is offering a 40% bonus on transfers from its Membership Rewards (MR) Points to British Airways Avios program until September 27, 2012.

american express membership rewards points transfer bonus to british airways avios

Who cares? I don’t ever plan on flying British Airways!

Me neither! The value of the British Airways Avios program isn’t in BA themselves, but in the fellow members of the oneworld alliance. You can use Avios to redeem flights on these partners.

Is it a good deal?

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$50 Dining Credit (x2) for NYC British Airways Cardholders

It’s back! If you can appreciate a quality meal, then you can appreciate this deal coming back. I wrote about it a few months ago and here is the updated offer:

Use your British Airways Visa® Card at any NYC MICHELIN Guide 2012 star-rated restaurant today through July 31, 2012. Dine once and receive a $50 statement credit. Dine twice and receive another $50 statement credit for a total of $100. Minimum purchase of $50 each time you dine.1

Joann and I each have the Chase BA Visa Signature card so we may have to hit up Minetta Tavern again for that Black Label Burger… some of Pat LaFrieda’s finest burger blend work!

My Sister, the Gift Card Redeemer

My sister, Michelle, came over last weekend and the family got to talking. She and my bro-in-law, Pat, are going to the Philippines for their friend’s wedding next summer. I was telling them how I just recently booked our Dad a trip to the Philippines in Cathay Pacific Business class for 100k British Airways miles. She doesn’t fly often so she didn’t know how I accrued that many miles. I told her about my strategy that got our BA Household Account over 300k miles to use. I know that, at her job at a high profile NYC law firm, she is in charge of a lot of event planning and has a Corporate American Express. I did NOT know, however, that all these Membership Rewards points go into her personal MR account. My eyes lit up…

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British Airways Miles Dump

Earlier this month, British Airways sent out an email to announce that they would be making major changes to their frequent flyer program. My heart sunk because I feared this day would come sooner than later. Starting November 16, 2011, the miles you accrue will now be called Avios points. Some awards will require less miles, some more. I’m going to focus on what I am most concerned about and the reason I even got into the British Airways Executive Club program – Single Partner Awards.

It’s no secret that one of the best redemption methods of BA miles was a single partner award in a premium cabin. BA is part of the oneworld alliance and they have some very good partners like American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and LAN. Redeeming an award on these partners was often better than redeeming on BA themselves because everyone knows that BA charges a boatload of fuel surcharges on their redemptions.

British Airways Single Partner Awards Chart

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Trip Planning: Vancouver, British Columbia

TRIP INDEX
Intro – Planning
Cathay Pacific Business Class New York – Vancouver
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Shangri-La Vancouver
MARKET by Jean-Georges

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BACKGROUND

Ever since our visit to Vancouver en route to a Whistler snowboarding trip, Joann and I have wanted to go back to enjoy the city for a few more days. Things fell into place when she scheduled a long weekend off – she’s a nurse and works odd schedules. Along with her free weekend, the other driving factors were visiting family, fulfilling the Hotels.com promotion, and completing our NEXUS interviews.

NEXUS approval comes with Global Entry which is a great perk to have while traveling. See The Points Guy’s review on Global Entry. The TSA is also piloting a new Trusted Traveler program to Global Entry and NEXUS users that will allow these users to use expedited security lines. Expedited security lines??? Sign me up! Anyway, let’s plan this trip…

DEPARTING FLIGHT

There aren’t many nonstop options to Vancouver. My first thought is always Continental or Star Alliance because I have the most miles with them and they are Newark-based. Air Canada, a Star Alliance member, is 1 of only 2 nonstop flights from the NYC area to Vancouver (YVR). Unfortunately, that flight had no availability for our strict dates.

Plan B was Cathay Pacific. We have flown their nonstop JFK-YVR service and enjoy the airline very much, at least in Economy class. Also, Joann and I have hoarded a lot of British Airways miles (over 300k) so we might as well use them! Remember, there’s no prize for who has the largest mileage account! BA miles are best used, in my opinion, for their oneworld partners. BA’s most luxurious partner is probably Cathay and any time you can fly in their premium cabin, I’d call that a great day. Take a look at this series of screenshots for a quick and dirty way to book a partner award flight on BA’s site.

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