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American Express Membership Rewards To British Airways Avios Transfer Devaluation Effective 10/01

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Grant reports that in his latest AMEX Platinum card statement it states that the transfer ratio from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios will be devalued.

I jumped onto AMEX chat to confirm the news and unfortunately the rep confirmed that information to me,

“Effective October 1, 2015, for every 250 Membership Rewards points that Card Members transfer to the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs, they will receive 200 Avios. Card Members must transfer points to these loyalty programs in increments of 250. Refer to Changes to the Card Member Agreement – June 2015.”

Ouch.

It’s an odd change. After all, transfers to Avios have been bonused relatively frequently.

Unlike Grant, I do still think we’ll see bonus promotions in the future, but a 25% bonus will only bring the transfer back to parity. A 40% bonus will mean that 1,000 AMEX points will net 1,120 Avios instead of 1,400.

This comes on the heels on the Chase British Airways card dropping the earn per spend on the BA Avios card from 1.25 Avios per dollar to just 1 per dollar.

Transfers from Starwood Starpoints to British Airways Avios remains 20K to 25K, so purchases on the Starwood card can continue to earn 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.
Transfers from Chase to British Airways Avios remain 1K to 1K.
But in 4 months from now (barring any bonuses or further changes), 1K AMEX points will only yield 800 Avios.

How will this change what credit card you use? Will you spend more on your Starwood or Chase Sapphire Preferred/Freedom/Ink card? Will you still take advantage of 1.5 points per dollar everywhere on Everyday Preferred and keep holding off for transfer bonuses? Will you transfer lots of points from AMEX to British Airways before October? Sound off in the comments!

HT: Yosef, via DDF

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35 Responses to “American Express Membership Rewards To British Airways Avios Transfer Devaluation Effective 10/01”

  1. Remus Says:
    1

    Mamzerim. Nuff said.

    ReplyReply
  2. Mark Says:
    2

    Would you say Avios are appreciating or Amex points are depreciating?

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @Mark:
    Well it seems that BA must be renegotiating pricier contracts, hence the change in the BA card earnings and the AMEX transfer ratio.

    Hopefully Starwood and Chase Ultimate Rewards can keep things in check…

    ReplyReply
  4. Curious Says:
    4

    What are the chances that there should be bonus transfers before october

    ReplyReply
  5. yudig Says:
    5

    Avios and transfer bonus was pretty much only reason I was using amex plat as go to card

    Change isn’t easy but I can’t see a reason not to switch over to the new spg card without a foreign fee

    ReplyReply
  6. Dan Says:
    6

    @Curious:
    Small.

    @yudig:
    Indeed, though spending on the Plat card never made much sense.

    ReplyReply
  7. Jb Says:
    7

    It’s still a good deal. The question is can Amex take any more hits to its program? Costco, Jetblue, lounges, ect…

    ReplyReply
  8. buruch Says:
    8

    Any reason to think they won’t make the same deal with chase? Or did they just do that with the 1ppd, so the next one won’t be for a while?

    ReplyReply
  9. pafer Says:
    9

    What about UK?

    ReplyReply
  10. AsherO Says:
    10

    Didn’t BA devalue their award chart recently as well?

    ReplyReply
  11. Israeli Says:
    11

    This seems like just another way that airlines are devaluing miles. First they make their award charts more expensive, and then they devalue transferable points relative to their miles. Dan do you think we’ll see this become a trend with other airlines in the near future?

    ReplyReply
  12. sam Says:
    12

    So does this mean the value of ba will increase?

    ReplyReply
  13. A European Says:
    13

    @AsherO: Actually depends how you look at it i start paying MUC-LON 8K RT instead of 9K after the “devaluation” 😉

    ReplyReply
  14. Tdweck Says:
    14

    Noooooooooo!!

    ReplyReply
  15. a Says:
    15

    AMEX will have to change the Iberia transfer rate as well?? Otherwise you can easily get around this by moving to Iberia and then transferring from Iberia to BA

    ReplyReply
  16. Dan Says:
    16

    @AsherO:
    Their business/first chart, yes.

    @Israeli:
    I don’t think so. This should be a one-off. Perhaps forced by Chase?

    @a:
    Indeed, Iberia is included in the deval.

    ReplyReply
  17. tt Says:
    17

    best way is ink buy visa gc in staples do all your reg shopping,,,

    ReplyReply
  18. Username Says:
    18

    Using the EDP, a $1000 spend will still net you 1200 Avios.

    ReplyReply
  19. mh Says:
    19

    The AA & United points match is looking better and better each day!

    15,000 AMEX points for United Business class jfk to LAX –

    Even though it was 25,000 saver on Uniteds website – AMEX charged ONLY 15,000 points for BUSINESS CLASS since it was an “UP” Fare.

    Not sure what that was but I was not asking questions 😉

    Plus its a paid fare from AMEX so it earns United points on the flight 🙂

    ReplyReply
  20. Chacham Says:
    20

    Dan, Thanks for everything! Will the rates for Avios redemption on US Airways flights go up after the merger with American is completed?

    ReplyReply
  21. Dan Says:
    21

    @tt:
    True.

    @Username:
    Indeed.

    @mh:
    No way that program makes it out of beta without massive changes.

    @Chacham:
    No.

    ReplyReply
  22. srulky Says:
    22

    Mass transfers incoming…
    @Dan: Can you please write a post up on the “up” fares? Or is it privileged info?

    ReplyReply
  23. Jeff Says:
    23

    Why offer a 40% bonus and then 6 months later reduce the transfer ratio ? How can you explain these erratic actions?
    Separately, can you elaborate here about the United Business First Class JFK-LAX first class for 15,000 Amex points or should this better be discussed elsewhere ?

    ReplyReply
  24. Dan Says:
    24

    @srulky:
    @Jeff:
    AMEX targeted a small number of people with a very lucrative way to redeem their points. It’s not applicable to 99.9% of folks, so I haven’t covered it.

    And I don’t think it’ll stick around as people have been booking $50K tickets and making global services with 150K points. It’s just silly.

    The only explanation I have for the ratio is that BA is raising the rates they charge for Avios. Or that Chase is forcing BA to do this to AMEX.

    ReplyReply
  25. Jeff Says:
    25

    Maybe there will be am Amex Transfer Bonus before the devaluation as a way to attract speculators to transfer and after the drop offer less to those who really need Avios. Does this sound like sound reasoning ?

    ReplyReply
  26. Mark Says:
    26

    “Or that Chase is forcing BA to do this to AMEX.”

    On that note Chase is becoming increasingly aggressive. Yesterday I fielded a 15 minute call from Chase where a rep basically told me I should spend more on my Ink and not use my AMEX gold . The rep then listed all my recent expenses charged to the ink card on the phone. It was kind of creepy.

    ReplyReply
  27. Eliezer Says:
    27

    OMG!!!! Another reason to open an SPG card. Any idea if starwood transfers to M&M Lufthansa?? (since its now the cheapest way on business NYC-LAX via united)

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @Jeff:
    Unlikely.

    @Eliezer:
    It does.

    ReplyReply
  29. abraham Says:
    29

    Do you know if this devaluation will be happening in Canada as well?

    ReplyReply
  30. Steph Says:
    30

    Due to the poor transfer ratio and product customer experience on BA (web site, award fees, award availability, business class product), for me, it’s no longer worth transferring from MR or UR to Avios, except, generally, for ultra-short flights. I’l be burning through my Avios, topping them off with MR prior to 9/30, then calling it quits.

    ReplyReply
  31. David Says:
    31

    Do you really get such a great value for chase points transferring them as apposed to redeeming them for travel at 1.25 cents a point? Award charts are constantly being devalued and availability is a major pain. I wish there was a better free award flight availability search engine. Btw are the staples visa gift cards worth it after visa spending edge dumped staples? Now you’re paying $6.95 for a thousand points, assuming they have $200 ones when you go. Is it worth the hassle over one point a dollar when using you’re card to shop instead of buying gift cards? You get a list of benefits when you purchase items directly on your card. Seems like vgc’s are only worth it to hit spending thresholds now.

    ReplyReply
  32. Jonathan Says:
    32

    @mh: How do you use Amex points on United>?

    ReplyReply
  33. Jonathan Says:
    33

    How do i book a united flight with Amex?

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    You don’t. Unless you get ridiculously lucky and they email you and tell you that can.

    ReplyReply
  35. Jonathan Says:
    35

    @Dan: Are there no tricks how to transfer Amex points to be used on United.com?

    ReplyReply

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