The next two months are going to be a fantastic time for folks holding American Express Membership Rewards points and looking for travel awards through the British Airways Executive Club loyalty program. From now through July 31, 2011 transfers are earning a 50% bonus, meaning 1,000 MR points are now worth 1,500 BA points rather than the typical 1,000 rate. This transfer bonus is one of the best offered out of the Membership Rewards program in quite some time.
Is it a coincidence that this promotion came out mere hours after a news article and follow-on social media blitz panning the British Airways program for adding fuel surcharges to their award flights? Maybe so. But that’s fine by me. I’ll take the bonus any way I can get it, especially because I don’t plan on paying those extra fees anyways.
It was great to read the rants and vitriol spewed against BA and other carriers charging similar fees, if for no other reason than it didn’t reflect the whole story. Sure, there are times where those fees are going to apply and they suck when it happens. But there are still a number of times where they do not apply and that’s where the value proposition is of the programs.
Redeeming British Airways points on LAN attracts no YQ surcharge, for example. And if you can find the award seats a ticket from North America to Easter Island, with a stopover in Chile, all in business class can be had for a quite reasonable 80,000 points for the return trip. And with this latest bonus that’s only 54,000 points! Even better is that the award inventory seems to be pretty decent, at least for the days I’m looking to go around New Years.
Time to make a transfer and some bookings!
- American Express steps up travel benefits for Platinum card
- American Express goes British for the holidays
- Fuel surcharges rolling back
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I am planning on that Easter Island trip as well. What is the best way to search for LAN award inventory?
Use the Qantas site, Carl. It is quite useful.
If you want the best award value you need to fly on LAN the whole way which may mean getting yourself to a LAN gateway in the USA on your own dime. LAX, SFO, JFK and MIA are where I was searching from when I found the seats I was looking for (MIA-SCL-IPC-SCL-JFK).
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