Popular Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Ratio is Changing

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Probably like many of you, over the last few years I have probably used the majority of my Amex Membership Rewards points earned from cards via the British Airways Avios program.  I’ve done this even though I very rarely fly British Airways, and have never flown them on a long haul flight.  I use their Avios points primarily to fly partners such as American Airlines and Alaska Airlines for domestic and close-in international flights (such as to the Caribbean).  Read this post for more on how that works if you are new to that concept.  However, in just a couple of weeks the rate at which you can use your Membership Reward points to fly British Airways or their partners is going to get a bit worse.

And this is after the changes to the British Airways Avios chart that already kicked in earlier this year…

As I mentioned here, effective October 1st, the transfer ratio from Membership Rewards program to the British Airways Avios program will be decreasing from a 1,000: 1,000 ratio to 250: 200 (aka 1,000: 800).  This means that when you transfer 1,000 Membership Reward points you will be given just 800 Avios, instead of the 1,000 you would be awarded currently.

In other words, to take advantage of the shortest haul economy awards on the British Airways award chart that go for 4,500 points for flights up to 650 miles in distance (think Dallas – Denver or New York – Montreal), you will have to spend 5,400 Membership Reward points in the transfer instead of the current 4,500 points via the 1:1 transfer ratio.  That isn’t a big change by itself if you just need a flight for one, but turn that into round trips flights for a family of four, and even for the shortest awards that is an increase of 7,200 points needed from the Membership Rewards program.  Unless you are sitting on a ton of points, that is a noticeable increase.

New British Airways Award Chart

That increase stinks, but the small consolation is that there is still hope that at times the transfer ratio may be better thanks to periodic transfer bonuses that the Amex Membership Reward programs has historically had to programs such as the British Airways.  I have seen transfer bonuses as high as 50% from Membership Rewards to British Airways, but the bonuses are unpredictable and of course never guaranteed to continue in the future.

I don’t necessarily recommend a speculative transfer to British Airways ahead of the October 1st change since the huge value from transferable points such as Membership Rewards comes from the many options you have on how to redeem them, but I also don’t recommend accidentally going past that date and needing to spend more points to book an award that you already have on your to-do list.

If you are looking for alternate ways to earn Avios going forward, keep in mind that the Ultimate Rewards program still has British Airways as a 1:1 transfer partner from their cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

This October 1st impending change isn’t new information, but I think it is worth a reminder since it will impact the way many of us like to use your Membership Rewards points.




Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Disclaimer: The comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Holding out for a Sept offer that exceeds 1:1 in favor of Avios. Not holding my breath, but holding on, nonetheless. Come 9/30, I’m transferring my 160,000 points to Avios anyway. Any other use of Amex points for transfers doesn’t appeal to me. West Coast to Hawaii is why we love those Avios.

  2. I’m hoping too for a transfer offer, but also looking to branch out from using MR points mostly for Avios. I really have the most luck getting the awards I want on Star Alliance rather than OneWorld, and MR transfer partners Singapore and ANA can fit in successfully there on a case by case basis.

    On a separate matter, I get annoying popups at this website (nowhere else that I’ve noticed) screeching at me with a loud blaring sound about computer problems. They are noisy and irritating, and if they’re from an advertiser that you’ve contracted with, please tell them to stop. Thanks.

    • Dave, re: the ads. So sorry. The ads are managed by Boarding Area and I know they would love to know which advertiser was playing sound like that.

      • I too got a popup on chrome saying my apple was infected and to call a 800 number. Obviously a scam. Might want to follow up with them, its a pretty serious breach in their advertising it seems.

        • Jeremy, totally agree. BoardingArea is well aware. I have also started discussions about pulling all ads while this is happening. Will follow-up again. Thanks and very sorry!

          • I know we’re changing the topic of the post temporarily but I wanted to chime in as well –
            The real victims here are the bloggers, like MommyPoints. I would say most people are going to tie the spam to the particular boarding blogger they click on, not good for business. I never get the spam when going to the boarding area website itself, but it’s some type of conduit to the blogger links. Seems it’s only targeted to the bloggers. Maybe that’s why BA is slow to figure this out? Been going on for a month now at least.

          • It is very annoying for everyone. Requested all BoardingArea ads gets pulled this morning until this is resolved. Hopefully that will be done soon.

  3. i find more and more that MR is just not worth accruing… even at the 1.5x rates on the everyday preferred. it’s an OK program if you can amass points via work/business expenses, but from just normal spending, you’re looking at a devaluation or two before you can gather up those points for something worthwhile. i’m looking for a good value option for my remaining MR points, and after that it’s time to put more money into UR or possibly directly into co-branded cards (e.g. southwest, virgin, etc).

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