British Airways is currently offering a 50% transfer bonus, by moving your American Express rewards points to your British Airways account. This is a great bonus and makes for really cheap travel!
Why I Won’t Be Transferring Points To British Airways
If you have seen my current American Express Membership Rewards account, you will see that I have 541,000 rewards points. I could easily transfer those points into 811,500 Avios or free airline miles with British Air. Now that would be a lot of free travel and pretty cheap if you ask me! But I live in Alaska! British Airways makes it pretty difficult to redeem these rewards unless if you live in a major hub of British Air, such as London, or one of their partners hubs such as, Dallas/Fort Worth for American Airlines. If I lived in Europe then this would be an amazing deal and I would jump on it, but living in the US its much harder to redeem these airline miles with their partners.
If you don’t already have a British Air account, then get one free here. After you have registered for your free account, you can then use their free rewards travel search, here. Finding flights within the US is nearly impossible as redeeming rewards on partner airlines takes a lot of searching or calling the airline. I could not find any flights from any of their partners within the US. Since most of my travel is within the USA, I would rather save my rewards points and transfer them to an airline that I can actually use, such as Delta/Alaska Air.
The best way I’ve found at finding ‘rewards travel’ is by clicking the ‘Reward Flight Availability’ link, rather than searching for rewards tickets in vain. If you live in the USA and search for flights within the US on British Airways partner airlines, its nearly impossible to find a flight. Booking a trip from the US to Europe is much easier.
You can easily change the city you wish to fly out of by clicking the city and replacing it with your city of choice. For me I searched Seattle to Europe.
Flying British Airways from the US to Europe is easier, but still kind of expensive. I could find flights from some major cities in the US to Europe, but the minimum cost was 50,000 Avios (with the 50% transfer bonus, it would cost me 34,000 American Express points, plus fees of $651.52!). To me its not worth it! 34,000 AMEX points could net me a free airline ticket within the USA at a cost of between $400-$600.
This same flight without spending Avios would cost $938.52 a difference of $287, plus 34,000 AMEX rewards points.
So is it worth it? For me.. not at all. I would rather save my rewards points and use them on a different airline. If you live in a major city that flies British Airways then obviously this would be worth it. Flying from London, you have 150 destinations to choose from. For example, London to Amsterdam cost $40 plus 9000 Avios (or just a mere 6,000 AMEX points), that same flight would cost you $198US. If I were to travel to Europe and spend the summer traveling to other destinations then this would be a great deal and I would take advantage of this transfer bonus. This deal is hard coded in your American Express Membership Rewards account, which means you don’t have to register for the deal to take advantage of it. Offer ends May 31st, 2012.
*I have heard that British Airways has been having issues loading the AA’s schedule into their systems. This could be why I couldn’t find a single flight for many popular destinations through BA’s partner airline. If that is the case, I might check in a few days to see what the availability for me to fly within the US on AA and if it works out in my favor I might have to take advantage of this 50% transfer bonus.