Travel with Grant reports that Amex is sneaking a change to their transfer rates with regards to British Airways Avios, one of the more useful transfer partners in the Membership Rewards program. According to Grant’s credit card statement, which for the life of me I can’t figure out why he was even reading, Membership Rewards will transfer at a rate of 250:200 as of October 1, 2015.
While this isn’t a devaluation to an award chart, I do see it as a devaluation of the American Express Membership Rewards program. The current transfer ratio is 1000:1000, and with this change it will be 1000:800.
To put that in award terms, you’d currently need to transfer 100K Amex points to get 100K British Airways Avios. On 10/1/15, you’ll need 125K Amex points to get the same 100K Avios. That’s an effective price increase of 25%.
The worst part is, no one was even informed about this except having it sneak in to a statement that most people rarely read. I’m not a fan of stealth changes like this.
If I were looking for a silver lining, it would have to be that you can now transfer in 250 point increments, whereas before you had to transfer in 1,000 point increments. That can potentially save you some points, though not many.
Also, British Airways happens to be one of the partners that American Express provides transfer bonuses to on a regular basis, at least historically. We’ve seen bonuses of 20%, 30%, 40%, and even 50% in the past. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some of these return in the future.
It’s really quite amusing to see – award charts have become more expensive and credit card bonuses have gotten bigger with them (not all, of course). Let’s hope this happens with transfers bonuses as well to keep pace, though this hasn’t been true for Delta transfers so perhaps it’s just wishful thinking.
In any case, British Airways recently devalued so perhaps this won’t mean as much to most people anymore. With that being said, those 4,500 mile short-haul awards that are so valuable can now be attained with just 4,500 Amex points, whereas before you’d need to transfer 5,000.
Remember, you can still transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio (again in 1,000 point increments). Unless they also happened to sneak a change into their terms, that is.