Travel Hacking is all about finding the travel deals and American Express is offering a great deal right now on British Airways Avios miles. Today if you transfer AmEx points into BA’s Avios Miles you will get a 40% bonus. The standard transfer rate from AmEx to BA and Iberia Avios miles has been 250 AmEx – 250 Avios that rate has been increased to 250 AmEx – 350 Avios.
Rewardstock.com values an AmEx point at 1.82 cents and Avios at 1.21. With the 40% bonus you will only get 1.7 cents worth of Avios value for your 1.82 cent AmEx point. Any time you are considering a transfer from one loyalty reward currency to another loyalty reward currency your first consideration has to be the value of the trade. As you can see this trade does not make straight financial sense, but with BA Avios I think for many Geezers this transfer may make sense.
Even though on paper I will be loosing about .12 cents ( 1.82 – 1.70 = .12) I’m still going to transfer some AmEx points to BA Avios miles.
- BA is a partner with the One World Alliance. Because of that partnership I can get flights on all of the 15 One World partners by booking thru BA and using the Avios I buy from AmEx during their sale.
- BA Avios Miles and their One World partner American Airlines have a very interesting difference in how they calculate reward travel: AA’s miles are based on “segments” and BA’s Avios miles are based on “distance”. American Airlines will charge you 12,500 miles for every flight, that is over 500 miles, in the U.S. whether that flight is from Miami to Atlanta or Miami to Portland, because each of these flight is in the same “domestic segment” . BA on the other hand will charge you only 7500 Avios miles for the same flight to Atlanta. Because BA bases their rewards on distance not segments short distance AA flights are much cheaper in travel currency if you book thru BA and use Avios miles. So if you fly short hauls from destinations that are serviced by American Airlines you will get a lot of bang for your buck by using BA Avios and booking your AA flights thru BA with BA Avios miles.
- BA Avios miles allow me to book flights thru BA with other One World carriers and realize cheaper reward values than the actual carriers reward programs. An example would be the Qantas’ flight from Sydney to Melbourne; booked thru BA the flight was 4500 Avios thru the Qantas site the same flight was 8000 Qantas miles. This example is interesting because Qantas is a “distance” based carrier, like BA, they just want more points to fly the distance from Sydney to Melbourne.
Charlene and I hate using BA Avios miles for BA flights, they charge huge added fees and the point values are poor, but using BA Avios miles to book flights with BA’s One World partners works well for us. In the right circumstances BA Avios miles can be very valuable and I will use them in short hauls from Florida to destinations in the U.S. the Caribbean and South America in the next year so transferring AmEx points to BA Avios miles during this 40% sale works for us. Making use of BA miles to fly One World carriers takes some computer work and time, but the values you can find are worth the effort.
A caveat about booking One World flights thru BA. Their rewards web site is not user friendly and often will not identify partner flights. If you are having trouble with a booking call their reservations service. We seem to have a lot more luck working with live agents at BA then on the web site.
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