American Express has become less valuable in my opinion over the last couple of months due to changes to credit card bonuses and limits on transferring points. That combined with the fact that Amex hasn’t run any meaningful transfer bonuses recently made me want to mostly avoid racking up Membership Rewards points.
Currently, however, Amex has brought back two transfer bonuses that may be useful for some people.
- Transfer MR points to SPG with a 50% bonus.
- Transfer MR points to Virgin Atlantic with a 35% bonus.
SPG 50% Bonus
I’ll start off by saying this sounds better than it actually is. The base transfer rate is 3 Amex points to 1 SPG point. This transfer bonus will make it 2 Amex to 1 SPG. Better, but still not that great.
If you’re looking to transfer to airlines, this presents a potential value for people who are looking to unload Amex points. Recall from my Beginners Guide to SPG that transfers of 20K SPG points becomes 25K miles with most airline programs (including valuable ones like Alaska and American which are otherwise hard to get). With this promotion you can transfer 40K Amex points into 20K SPG points, which can then become 25K miles.
Not fantastic at a ratio of 1.6 to 1, but it could definitely be useful to those that are Amex-rich.
Virgin Atlantic 35% Bonus
Amex has had bonuses to Virgin Atlantic in the past of 30% and 35% like this one, and they’ve done so every 3-5 months or so. Virgin Atlantic charges heavy fuel surcharges and taxes, particularly when departing from London, so this isn’t going to be useful for most. If, however, you’re willing to look deeper into the program you’ll find some other interesting values.
- You can redeem 10K Virgin Atlantic miles for round trip LAX-SFO on Virgin America.
- You can redeem 120K Virgin Atlantic miles for round trip US-Tokyo on ANA First Class.
There are others that could be useful for some people as well. With the transfer bonuses, the above awards become even cheaper and I would consider them good value.