When it rains, it pours. After a summer of draught, American Express has turned on the bonus spigots with an unprecedented transfer bonus promotion to 12 loyalty programs…all at the same time. Whatever the reason behind the blitz, today is your last day to take advantage of this promotion.
Huge American Express Transfer Bonus Promotion – 12 Programs Included
If you’ve built up a stash of American Express Membership Rewards points during the pandemic, now might be the ideal time to transfer. Without warning, American Express announced transfer bonuses during the month of September to 12 programs:
- Aer Lingus AerClub – 40% bonus
- Aeromexico Club Premier – 25% bonus
- Air Canada Aeroplan – 20% bonus
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue – 25% bonus
- Avianca LifeMiles – 15% bonus
- British Airways Executive Club – 40% bonus
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles – 25% bonus
- Iberia Plus – 40% bonus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer – 20% bonus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 30% bonus
- Hilton Honors – 30% bonus
- Marriott Bonvoy – 30% bonus
While none of the transfer bonuses themselves are particularly unique, we’ve never seen so many transfer bonuses at once.
I tend to think American Express wants to get some liability off its books and is willing to pay up for points transfers in order to do so. With travel restrictions still in place, millions of cardholders around the world have built up tremendous balances during the pandemic. View From The Wing suggests it could be due to minimum-based volume commitments, which is also plausible.
Should I Make Prospective Transfers?
My general rule is not to make prospective transfers. In other words, only transfer points if you have a specific booking in mind that you can make immediately. That’s because programs are unpredictable and we have seen far too many unannounced devaluations over the preceding months to justify full trust in any airline or hotel loyalty program.
That said, not all loyalty programs are created equally and some of the bonuses are quite compelling. For example, I would think about depositing a good chunk of points in Aeroplan. The program’s list of airline partners keeps growing and while I would not put a no-notice devaluation past it, I find it unlikely one will occur over the next half year.
The 40% transfer bonus to British Airways and 25% transfer bonus to Air France-KLM are also compelling, though both do not have a great track-record when it comes to devaluations. Even so, Air France-KLM transatlantic business class starts at 53K miles one-way and surcharges are reasonable.
British Airways has horrific fuel surcharges on its redemptions, but has more lucrative rates and fees for short-haul redemptions, particularly in East Asia.
Finally, Virgin Atlantic has a sweet spot among sweet spots with its ANA First Class redemptions. However, I cannot reasonably expect this to last (at 110K points r/t, Virgin Atlantic charges less than what most loyalty programs charge on a one-way basis). If you are after this redemption, find the space, call Virgin Flying Club to place it on hold, and only then transfer the points.
The 12 concurrent transfer bonuses mark an unprecedented move from American Express. Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, but in the meantime think deeply about how you can strategically take advantage of these lucrative promotions. The promotion ends today – don’t be left behind.
Will you be transferring your Membership Rewards points under this promotion?
image: Air France