I was just waiting for this to happen in India. American Express has been offering a transfer bonus on British Airways currency Avios for a while now, and different time periods for different countries. I was hoping India was on the map as well, and I just heard that was indeed the case.
For a limited time, till November 30, American Express is offering members who have Amex cards issued in India a 30% bonus on transferring their Membership Reward points to Avios (the mileage currency used for British Airways and Iberia). Usually, 1.6 MR transfer into 1 Avios, but in this case, the redemption level looks better, and you can convert MR into Avios at 1.23 MR = 1 Avios. The minimum transfer needs to be for at least 1200 MR. Do remember, American Express charges Rs. 250 as processing fee towards transfer to airline miles (except for American Express Platinum Card and corporate cards).
How to earn MR?
If you have an American Express card, you are obviously earning MR everytime you swipe your Amex somewhere. American Express Gold Card holders have it pretty good, since they can earn MR for just swiping it 4 times a month for Rs. 250 atleast.
If you don’t have an Amex, the quickest way to earn American Express MR is to get one. American Express runs a promotion via LinkedIn, where it gives a welcome gift to members on approval of the card. For the American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card (Annual fee Rs. 10,000 + taxes), you get 22,000 MR on approval (equivalent to 17,875 Avios). You can also take the Lifetime fee version (Fee Rs. 50,000 + taxes, discounted to Rs. 40,000 + taxes via LinkedIn referral), which gets you 65,000 MR on approval (equivalent of 52,815 Avios). You can check the details of the promotion here, and drop me a line on aj at livefromalounge dot com if you would want to be invited to Amex via my link. [Do not worry, the date is extended till December 31, 2012].
Basically, you have the opportunity to ‘buy’ Avios at less than Rs. 1 per Avios and get a credit card free along. The usual cost of buying Avios is $35 for 1000 Avios and upwards (approximately Rs. 1800 per 1000 Avios).
What are Avios worth?
The best use of Avios is for shorthaul flights which cost only 4,500 Avios + taxes, but India does not get them because BA does not have an India partner yet. However, you can get a one-way flight ticket in Y between India and United Kingdom for 25,000 Avios (
and no fees, and redemption availability is usually good!).
If you have plans to travel on oneworld in the near future, I’d say this is a good offer to get in on!
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