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If you have an American Express credit card that earns points, now may be a good time to book your next trip. Amex is running a promotion on two types of points transfers for its Membership Rewards® (MR): airfare and hotel.
You can transfer your MR points at up to a 30% bonus to nine partner airlines until September 30, 2022, and to three hotel partners until October 31, 2022.
While the hotel point transfers might be tempting, the best point-to-dollar ratios are mostly in the airline category. The main exception is Hilton Honors, which is coming in at 2.6x Membership Rewards points.
Here is how to take advantage of the Amex 30% transfer bonus.
How to Transfer Amex Points
To transfer Membership Rewards points, log into your American Express account and navigate to the “Explore Rewards” page. It will offer you an option to transfer to partners, and once you click there, it will show you a list of eligible airlines and hotel chains.
Whether you’re going for hotel points or airline points, make sure you already have a trip in mind. Point values tend to decrease over time, so it is not advisable to transfer points preemptively. If you do not have a specific trip in mind, keep your MR points for maximum booking flexibility.
If you do have a trip planned, double-check that your preferred itinerary is available with points with your desired airline or hotel before transferring.
Pro tip: With COVID travel restrictions still in place, it’s worth checking the rules for any foreign destination. For example, Japan still has strict requirements for travelers.
The Best Airline Bonus Transfers for up to 30% Off
Frequent points travelers calculate the value of points in cents per point (CPP). Anything above 1 CPP is a good deal, and 2 CPP is an excellent find.
Flying Domestic in the USA
It’s counterintuitive, but the best airline for U.S. domestic flights is British Airways. The British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer program earns Avios miles, and the reward program tiers its points redemptions by distance, so a short-to-medium domestic flight almost always falls in its lowest tier. Be aware: itineraries with layovers will be charged at a higher tier.
Also, British Airways does not have domestic flights but does fly into U.S. airports. The domestic flights (flights within the United States) you access via Avios miles are not on British Airways airplanes, but most likely will be with one of the airline’s partners, like American Airline or Alaska Airlines.
Flying to Europe
Flying Blue is the Air France-KLM loyalty program that flies to desirable locations like Paris, France, and Milan, Italy. The airline is already affordable for international travel, especially if you’re leaving from a major U.S. city. With a points bonus transfer of 25%, it should be easy to book your preferred itinerary at a major discount.
Flying to Japan
This will be a hot destination when it opens up, but only specific travelers are authorized to enter Japan at this time.
If restrictions change in time to book the Membership Rewards points bonus, the best route is to transfer MR points at a 30% bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Then, redeem those points on its partner airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA). Economy class starts at 60K miles, with first class starting at 110K.
You’ll have to call Virgin Atlantic for these flights, and the best way to check if the flight is available is by using a Star Alliance partner (like United) to check for seats redeemable with points.
If you’re already planning a trip, this is the time to look at Amex Membership Rewards bonus points. If you don’t have an Amex card, any sign-up bonuses land on the billing cycle after you hit the bonus spend requirement, so you may not be able to access all benefits immediately after applying for your credit card.
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If you don’t have a trip planned, you may want to wait for another offer. Bonus transfers are permanent, and it’s not wise to commit to a specific airline or hotel chain unless you’re sure you will use the points.
Amex Membership Rewards is flexible, so if you know you want to travel but aren’t sure where you’re going yet, keep those points until it makes sense to transfer them.
Featured photo courtesy of Hilton
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