American Express Transfer Bonus Bonanza: 12 Programs, Up To 30% Throughout September

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

American Express is offering 12 simultaneous bonuses for transfers from Membership Rewards to airlines and hotels. They’ve only ever done this once before. It’s a cacophony of opportunity for those who have their transferable points. The offers run through September 30, except for Marriott and Hilton which runs through October 31.

  • 30%: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hilton Honors
  • 25%: Aer Lingus AerClub, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges
  • 20%: Aeromexico Club Premier, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Marriott Bonvoy
  • 15: Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles

Amex did the exact same thing, though a bit more generous, last September. At the time I’d speculated,

whether there are several mileage purchase contracts expiring that include minimum volume commitments. Perhaps American Express has to pay out guarantees to several airlines at the end of the quarter, so whether they do points transfers or not it costs them the same amount? So they might as well burn some of their own points liability in the process.

What’s odd is that this is an amazing offer but American Express isn’t shouting it from the rooftops. Note that you do need to be logged in to see the bonus offers, and do be sure you see them when making a transfer.

Could it just be a really broad and concerted marketing effort, albeit one we haven’t heard messaging on yet from American Express? It’s unclear. Just make sure the offer does display in your account if you decide to make a transfer.

So should you jump on this? The offers aren’t quite big enough for me to make any speculative transfers. However it’s great to have these offers in case you have use for any of these miles. (I didn’t make transfers last year and some of those offers were bigger.)

In general,

  • The best partner on here is Air Canada Aeroplan, but it has the lowest bonus. (There are some awards where Avianca LifeMiles prices the same flights for less, but I’d rather deal with Air Canada on schedule changes than LifeMiles.)

  • While there are edge cases Aeromexico’s program is next to useless.

  • The only reason to pay attention to Aer Lingus Aer Club is upgrading paid Aer Lingus flights, or because you want to credit United flights to Aer Lingus and then transfer those points to British Airways, Iberia or Qatar Airways Privilege Club.

  • Virgin Atlantic is a low value program for many uses but has a handful of sweet spots.

  • Air France KLM Flying Blue is the best program in SkyTeam (which isn’t saying much) and partners with all of the transferable currencies. I redeem their points for Air France travel with some regularity.

  • British Airways has some good short distance award redemptions especially in Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia.

  • Qantas offers more award space to their own members than to oneworld partners nowadays, and has a handful of useful redemptions around the South Pacific and for Emirates transatlantic.

  • You’re much better off transferring Citi points to Choice Privileges for regular 1:2.

  • I actually used HawaiianMiles this year, with 25% transfer bonus from Amex, in order to upgrade paid Hawaiian Airlines travel – they offer both a saver and extra availability tier for upgrades which was worthwhile (with bonus).

  • I simply cannot see transfers to Marriott or Hilton without bigger bonuses than this.

If you have a use for points in one of these programs take advantage of one of the opportunities. But if you don’t remember that the option value of being able to choose where to put the points when you know exactly how you want to use them is, in many cases, greater than 30%.

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