40% Membership Rewards to Avios Transfer Bonus

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Through November 15 you’ll earn 40% bonus points when you transfer Membership Rewards to either British Airways or Iberia Avios.

That means 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1,400 Avios.

This deal typically comes around once a year and presents an excellent opportunity to save points on awards in and between various parts of the world. There are two major components of British Airways Avios to note:

  • they are distance-based miles
  • British Airways collects fuel surcharges on Avios awards when flying a partner airline that charges them

When Redeeming Avios is a Good Idea

In General

British Airways Avios are very valuable for short, direct* flights without fuel surcharges (i.e. American Airlines flights within the Western Hemisphere, Alaska Airlines flights, Aer Lingus flights, British Airways flights within Europe, all LATAM international flights and some domestic, Qantas domestic flights, and S7 flights). Read Maximizing Ultimate Rewards: British Airways Avios to learn more.

*British Airways Avios awards price per segment, so they get really expensive quick if a flight has connections.

To Hawaii in American or Alaska Economy

For just 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes in economy from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

 Honolulu, Oahu (HNL)Kahului, Maui (OGG)Kona, Big Island (KOA)Lihue, Kauai (LIH)
Los AngelesAmerican & Alaska American & Alaska AmericanAmerican
PhoenixAmericanAmericanAmericanAmerican
AnchorageAlaska Alaska*
BellinghamAlaska*
SeattleAlaska Alaska Alaska Alaska
PortlandAlaska Alaska Alaska Alaska*
SacramentoAlaska Alaska (begins 12/18/18)
San FranciscoAlaskaAlaska Alaska
OaklandAlaska Alaska Alaska Alaska
San JoseAlaska Alaska Alaska Alaska
San DiegoAlaska Alaska Alaska Alaska
*Seasonal

That means with the current transfer bonus, you could convert 18,000 Membership Rewards to 25,200 British Airways Avios (transfers must be in increments of 1,000) to book yourself a roundtrip to Hawaii if you live in one of the cities listed above. That is a great deal.

Other Sweetspot Awards

One of my favorite Avios redemptions, which I flew last summer, is 42,500 Avios and no fuel surcharges (they’re illegal departing Brazil) in Iberia Business Class between São Paulo and Madrid. This would be an excellent addition to a round-the-world/extended trip at an incredible price tag of 31,000 Membership Rewards with the current transfer bonus.

 Over 10 hours in Business Class for 31k points + taxes? Yes please. And when you look at other award prices between Southern South American and Europe, you’ll see how good that is in comparison.

Read Maximizing Ultimate Rewards: British Airways Avios for more ideas.

Iberia Avios 

There are various circumstances in which using Iberia Avios over British Airways Avios is advantegous.

  • Fuel surcharges are much lower when redeeming Iberia Avios on Iberia flights as opposed to British Airways Avios.
  • You can redeem Iberia Avios on American Airlines flights (but not Alaska–they’re not partners). The price of an Iberia Avios award depends on the total distance flown, not the distance of each segment flown like British Airways Avios. They are not priced per segment so you are not penalized for connections. So if you’re taking a short trip but it requires a connection, an Iberia award will probably be cheaper. The only downside is that when redeeming Iberia Avios on American Airlines, you must book roundtrip awards as no one ways are allowed.
  • For any of the dates not highlighted in red on these calendars, you can fly Business Class between New York, Boston or Chicago to Madrid on Iberia for only 34,000 Iberia Avios or between Miami or Los Angeles and Madrid for 42,500 Iberia Avios. With the current transfer bonus that would only cost 25,000 Avios or 31,000 Avios respectively.

Neither British Airways nor Iberia Avios collect last minute award booking fees. Membership Rewards to BA Avios transfers are normally instant, but watch out for Iberia transfers that can take a couple days. If you want to book an Iberia Avios award immediately and are able, transfer your Membership Rewards to British Airways first and then move them over to Iberia to avoid a wait time.

Speculative Transfers

I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, and Avios at 1.6 cents each. That makes 1,000 Membership Rewards worth $20 and 1,400 Avios (which is how many Avios you would get from transferring 1,000 Membership Rewards) worth $22.40.

That makes speculative transfers appealing. Look over your travel plans for the next couple of months and seeing if and when you could fit Avios redemptions into the mix to take advantage of this fantastic deal. I still probably wouldn’t transfer a bunch of points without any plans, but if you’re on the fence and have some solid ideas for them, do it. Or if you’re on the verge of canceling/downgrading a Membership Rewards earning card and have points you need to move before doing so to prevent expiration, transfer them to Avios.

Not sure whether to transfer to British Airways or Iberia Avios? If you have had a British Airways Avios and Iberia Avios account open and have had at least one Avios in each for three months, you can transfer freely between them.

Bottom Line

Through November 15 you can turn 250 Membership Rewards into 350 Avios. This 40% transfer bonus represents huge savings, so check out your travel plans and whether or not Avios are good play for you.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the good ideas on Avios. I’m a long-time Aviso user, particularly because I love the British Airways free companion tickets. One important correction to your article, however. You CANNOT transfer Avios freely between British Air and Iberia anymore. I made the mistake of moving 118,000 point to Iberia for a planned trip (which got cancelled). They are now stuck there. Once in, they no longer allow them to go back to British Air. Everyone should know that before making the transfer.

  2. Good post. You missed one additional advantage of Iberia over BA. You can choose your seats for free. On BA, even in business, that can cost 100 Lb a seat! I reedemed 2 business class seats on Aer Lingus thru BA because the taxes & fees were less. Next time I might take the hit in fees in order to get free seat selection.

  3. Is there an upper limit on the miles that can be transferred for the bonus?

    I have around 150,000 MR points. My preferred use of points – mostly United mileage plus via chase – is business class to/from Asia and I am not a huge fan of Avios but the bonus sounds tempting. So my alternatives for MR seem to be ANA/Cathay/Singapore or perhaps Air Canada, but without bonus….

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