Amex Membership Rewards Transfer To Miles - Now or Later??

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by joediver, Apr 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Banner should say AMEX - NOT Capitol One.....too many bonuses lately:)

    Just thought I'd throw this out there.....with the nice bonus a lot of us received from Amex recently there have been a lot of discussions as to what to do with those MR points. I know that I'm going to transfer them to CO miles before the September deadline. I'm just debating if I should do it now or wait and see if there's some kind of transfer bonus like BA and Delta are doing.

    Any thoughts on this??
     
  2. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Unless you need the points transferred now, I would wait. Does not hurt and, who knows, there might be something come up that would give you some more MR points.
     
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  3. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Definitely not 'now' -- you have through August 31 September 30 to transfer to Continetnal. So might as well wait at least that long to see what needs you have in the meantime, or what other bonuses come up.

    For instance, in February and March Amex was giving a 40% bonus on transfers to BA. I topped off my BA account to make sure I had enough miles in it for 2 first class awards between the US and much of Asia on Cathay Pacific. :)

    But I didn't go 'all in' on that bonus, either. See, I really value the flexibility and that with many of their partners points post instantly. That's certainly the case with Continental (though I've had 10-15 minute lags for the points to show as available) as well as Aeroplan and Delta. ANA transfers take a few days, so do Singapore transfers.

    But even after Continental drops out of the program, there will stil be Aeroplan and ANA for Star Alliance awards. And remember that Amex points can be really useful for topping off accounts or just keeping accounts active. After all, with most partners you can transfer miles to whomever you wish and not just to other cardholders on your account. If you ask Amex they'll tell you differently, but all you have to do is link anyone's frequent flyer account on the Membership Rewards website and then once linked make the transfer. You can even have more than one person's Delta or more than one person's Continental account saved to your Membership Rewards account at one time. Very cool benefit.

    That ANA transfer option can be quite useful for Virgin Atlantic redemptions (no fuel surcharges and often fewer miles than Virgin charges, JFK-LHR is only 63k roundtrip for Upper Class).

    Aeroplan gets you North America to South Asia (as far South as Singapore) for 120k in first class or 100k in business. Or US West Coast to much of Europe for 80k in business.

    Personally I wouldn't transfer to Continental unless there was a specific need to top off a Continental account. Plenty of other good transfer partners, and I value my optionality too much! :)
     
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  4. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Thanks Dean and Gary. Once UA and CO combine I'll have plenty in that account. I think I'll wait and see and maybe start building up my Aeroplan account.
     
  5. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    I would wait, BA just came off a 40% transfer bonus, and virgin atlantic will put out 50% bonuses on occassion as well.
     
  6. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Also, realized a typo above -- you have until September 30 to do transfers to Continental :)
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I would be shocked if CO offered a bonus for the transfer. They have not had one in 5+ years and it seems unlikely that they will start now. That said, I agree about the flexibility and I'm keeping mine parked with AmEx, at least for now, just to see what happens.
     
  8. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Oh, I don't expect a bonus.on transfers to Continental for sure. Just saying there are other great bonuses that do come around and it takes a pretty huge bonus to get me to give up the flexibility of Membership Rewards points.

    But I definitely do recall Amex -> Continental transfer bonuses, though it was quite a long time ago (2002 and 2004, for instance).
     
  9. gpaya
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    gpaya Gold Member

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    I actually did go all in - the 40% bonus seemed like a great premium to lock up miles. Add in the 2-4-1 voucher in addition to AA miles and I'm well set up for OneWorld redemptions. Considering J to S. America (a continent to which I have not traveled) is only 80K, there will be some great travel going forward.

    Also, I have an acceptable number of points on *A and SPG should I need to transfer somewhere else (read ANA for VS).
     
  10. bubb1
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    bubb1 Silver Member

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    All depends on your planned use, but I'm hoarding Amex points since it is one of the few ways I can easily get Aeroplan miles. I think the best general advice has already been given though, wait to transfer until you have to.
     
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  11. gpaya
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    gpaya Gold Member

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    Agreed - that assumes no bonus.
     
  12. I have a similar question about transfers/retaining MR points. Currently the only Amex MR card I hold is my Corporate Green Amex and I am worried what would happen if I separate from the company. Is there any free Amex that I can hold so that if I had to give up my corporate card I wouldn't lose my MR points in the process?
     
  13. gpaya
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    gpaya Gold Member

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    Not for MR points - you're best bet would be the green card. Also, once you close the card, you lose the points.
     
  14. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Plenty of free the first year Amex cards with Membership Rewards.

    I've heard that if you take a free Amex with Membership Rewards Options (where the points are only worth half as much) you keep the points, then if you grab a real Membership Rewards product later your points carry the new higher value. I haven't tried this. And if there's a substantial points balance I wouldn't want to take chances.
     
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  15. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    In my experience, this is true. I have had a Blue card that initially carried the MR "lite" version with less options to redeem and no ability to transfer to airlines Then, after I applied and was approved for the Amex Premier Rewards, my MR account was converted to the real product with all the benefits that come with it and all the points I accumulated as a Blue member now have the full/higher value.
     
  16. gpaya
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    gpaya Gold Member

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    I completely forgot about that!

    I had a Blue for Students in college and then got a MR Gold card which transferred all my Blue points 1:1 to MR.
     
  17. akcae
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    akcae Silver Member

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    Amex Blue and ZYNC participate in MR Express program. Blue is free and ZYNC has a $25 annual fee. Your points would get converted to the Express version, which cannot be transferred to a travel program, but you would not lose them. If you were to get a card in the future that is a part of the full MR program, your point would again regain their full utility.
     
  18. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    One reason to transfer to CO might be the flexibility to make fee-free changes all the way up to departure if you are Plat/1K. That's a good way to lock in a "pretty good" award and then pounce on rare/hard to find seats/cabins/carriers when they are released closer to your travel dates.

    But otherwise I agree, MR and SPG points have a lot of value due to their flexibility and I would only transfer either in order to actually book an award.
     
  19. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    I am intending to close my Amex account so transferred the MR points to CO miles, then since I'm mostly a UA flyer, transferred the CO miles to my Mileage Plus account.
     
  20. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    I spoke with Membership Rewards today and they said there's a $15 fee for every 25,000 that's transfered into a frequent flyer account. If that's the case then those "free" 75,000 MR become $45 for 75,000 miles. Not too bad, but far from free.

    I'm sure there are plenty of experts on here to confirm/refute this.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Points transferred from MR to a FF program based in the USA incur an excise tax offset fee of $0.60/1000 points to a maximum of $99/transaction.
     

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