Amex have released improved transfer rates for Membership Rewards points over to:
- Velocity – 15% bonus, or 30% on transfers over 100,000 MR points with 100 bonus SC’s
- Etihad Guest (which I’ve previously written about) – 20% bonus
- Virgin Atlantic – 30% bonus
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich – 25% bonus
- Thai Airways – 10% bonus
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – 15% discount
- Asia Miles – 25% bonus plus 1000 points for new Members
- SPG – increase in 3:1 to 2:1 transfer rate (permanent)
All bonuses are valid until March 31 only, but the permanently increased Starwood transfer rate stands out as a real enhancement to Australian Membership Rewards.
With SPG’s 5,000 mile kicker on transfers of 20,000 points to Airline programs, and 1:1 transfers from SPG to almost every Frequent Flyer program out there, it becomes a real option for earning points to transfer over to American Airlines (for example), which have great redemption rates for First Class travel on oneworld partners. So 40,000 MR points now = 25,000 SPG = 25,000 AAdvantage or US Airways, etc.
I’ll do an analysis of the options in here in a future post. I can only assume the increased transfer rate is due to the appreciation of the $AU against $US, allowing American Express Australia to buy more SPG points for their money.
I’ve factored in the promotion bonus rates and the new SPG rate into the reward scheme transfer calculator so you can see the new bang for your Membership Reward point calculations.
Personally I won’t be making any bonus transfers during the March promotion period. I’m tempted to top up my Etihad Guest account for some specific future redemption opportunities, but I’ll run the numbers on that and see. I’d suggest still only transferring if you know you have a specific redemption in mind; all but the 30% bonuses on Velocity or Virgin Atlantic which are a bit borderline tempting are worth holding off on otherwise.
Kudos, as usual, to the folks over at AFF for picking this up.