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Bad News: Devaluation On Amex Transfers To British Airways

British Airways
Written by Charlie

British Airways Avios are a favorite travel currency of people who enjoy traveling short range distances. For travelers flying less than 650 miles one way, they are able to spend only 4,500 Avios to fly on carriers like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and US Airways (as well as other oneworld carriers around the world) versus paying what is normally like 12,500 miles for that same trip.

Avios are also very popular because you can transfer to their program from multiple transfer programs – American Express (Membership Rewards), Chase (Ultimate Rewards), and SPG’s own Starpoints. In addition, there is a Chase British Airways credit card that also gives Avios. So, it is very easy to pick up Avios thanks to all the partners. To transfer, the programs all transfer at a rate of 1:1 (with the exception of SPG since you will get an extra 5,000 Avios for every 20,000 you transfer).

Read more: Avios – The King of Spontaneous Travel

Devaluation On Amex Transfers To British Airways

British Airways

This is the current transfer ratio for Amex to British Airways Avios

But the uniformity of Avios transfers is changing this October. Thanks to Travel with Grant’s eagle eye on his latest statement, there will be a devaluation on Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios transfers. It will go from the accepted standard of 1:1 in 1,000 point increments to 250 Membership Reward points to 200 Avios and the transfers must occur in blocks of 250 Membership Reward points.

That is a huge disappointment since it seriously devalues British Airways as a transfer partner from Membership Rewards. I know I am not alone in this: while Chase’s Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio, I prefer to save my UR points for Hyatt, Southwest, and United so Amex is my British Airways transfer partner. With this change, I will not be willing to make a move like that unless in a moment of desperation.

I know that Chase and British Airways have a close relationship, but it is hard to believe that this change is occurring with Amex since Amex is the transfer partner that quite often runs great transfer bonuses to British Airways – like the 40% one from earlier this year. I guess they will continue to offer these transfer bonuses and those bonuses will equal less value than they used to. For example, if they offer a future offer of 40% on transfers to British Airways, here is an example of how it would break down (assuming you could transfer in smaller blocks than 1,000 currently):

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As you can see, even a lucrative 40% transfer bonus like we have recently seen will only have an increase of 12% thanks to the new devaluation. While it will be nice to still get a little more than we are transferring if there is a bonus, it stinks that this change is occurring. So, with this change coming October 1, it is time to think of the amount of Membership Reward points you want to transfer. I would hold off until the last minute in case they do launch a last, lucrative transfer bonus. I do not know if they will or not, but there is really not a reason to wait a while.

It will be interesting to see when American Express officially announces this transfer devaluation. It is a shame that companies like Amex (with this) and US Bank (with the Club Carlson card) have tried to conceal these notices in paper statements when these companies know that many customers have moved to paperless statements and only view their accounts online. You can view your statement online as a PDF and I would guess that many more people will be looking at the bottom of their statement after this.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.