I’m a big fan of American Express Membership Rewards. It’s very easy to rack up points using my Amex Platinum Card, and they have great airline transfer partners like Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Delta Sky
pesosmiles, Air Canada’s Aeroplan, and British Airways Avios.
A few years ago Membership Rewards points transferred to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio. However in 2015, Amex devalued the transfer ratio of 250 membership rewards points per 200 British Airways Avios. This is a pretty bad value considering Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.
Today, it looks like Amex has restored the British Airways transfer ratio back to 1:1. This is great news!
British Airways is part of the Oneworld Alliance and has one of the most robust online award search engines.
One of the best use of British Airways Avios is for direct, short/medium haul flights on their partners. For example, I’ve redeemed 15,000 Avios one way to redeem for flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific Business Class, and Manila to Tokyo on Japan Airlines Business Class for 20,000 Avios points. Economy flight redemptions are even cheaper with Bangkok to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific for only 7,500 Avios points. Avios can also be used on flights on American Airlines. A flight between San Francisco to LAX goes for 7,500 points one way in Economy.
I’ve also redeemed Avios points on short haul British Airways flights within Europe and Africa where a Business Class redemption between London and Rome costs 15,000 miles one way. Even better, a business class flight redemption from Johannesburg, South Africa and Livingstone, Zambia only costs 9,000 Avios points.
Another way I’ve used Avios Points is to upgrade a paid Business Class ticket on British Airways to First Class. I’ve used 25,000 avios points to upgrade a flight from San Francisco to London Heathrow from Business Class to First, which was an awesome redemption. By the way, you can also use Avios to upgrade a Premium Economy revenue ticket to Business Class, and a paid economy ticket to premium economy.
All in all, I think this is great news, and remember to watch also out for the occasional Amex promotions with increased transfer rates to specific partners.