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American Express Changes: 250 Membership Reward Points = 200 British Airways / Iberia Avios and Plenti Transfers

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Good evening everyone, I was just looking through my recent American Express Platinum Charge Card statement when I saw major changes to the Membership Reward Program.  Effective October 1, the transfer rate to British Airways and Iberia will change from 1,000 Membership Reward Points = 1,000 British Airways / Iberia Avios to 250 Membership Reward Points = 200 British Airways / Iberia Avios.  This is terrible news since British Airways is arguably one of the best transfer partners for Membership Reward Points.

AMEX Membership Reward Program Changes

*sarcasm on* Don’t worry about British Airways and Iberia, American Express has a brand new transfer partner in Plenti.  Plenti Points are so valuable that you can transfer 500 Membership Reward Points into 400 Plenti Points.  Ohhhh ahhh! *sarcasm off*

AMEX Membership Reward British Airways Iberia Avios Transfer Rate AMEX Membership Reward Plenti Transfer

If I didn’t see the notice on my American Express Platinum Charge Card statement, I would never have known about the changes.  As of today, there is no note or mention on either of the British Airways or Iberia pages on the Membership Rewards website.

If Plenti Points weren’t bad enough, if you transfer Membership Reward Points to Plenti Points, you must use them within 2 years, otherwise your Plenti Points will expire.

Transfer Membership Reward Points into Plenti Points

Let’s not forget, 1,000 Plenti Points are worth up to $10 in savings.  For more info on Plenti, please read Devil’s Advocate’s post.  Prepare to be amazed, inspired, dissapointed.

1,0000 Plenti Points Equal $10

Last but not least, the Platinum card is discontinuing the Platinum Villas Program on July 31.  Most people were probably not aware that there was a villas program in the first place.  I guess no one will be dissapointed by that loss.

AMEX Platinum Villas Program

Luckily for me, I only have 6,000 Membership Reward Points to burn before the British Airways / Iberia transfer rate changes.  I am skeptical that there will be any transfer bonuses to British Airways (like the 40% transfer bonus in December 2014 / January 2015), but maybe American Express will give us some kind of break before the transfer change happens.

MR British Airways 40 Percent Transfer Bonus

If you got an American Express Business Platinum Charge Card during the 150,000 Membership Reward Points offer, you better figure out what you want to do with your Membership Reward Points.  I think more (negative) changes are on their way.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a good night everyone.

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49 thoughts on “American Express Changes: 250 Membership Reward Points = 200 British Airways / Iberia Avios and Plenti Transfers

  1. ff_lover

    Everybody is copying Delta Airlines sneakiness/shadiness…
    British Airways has been devaluing the Avios earning opportunities (Chase BA 1.25x gone and now MR). Similar with Hotels (Hilton, Marriott, Club Carlson etc.). Cash back cards and B&B options starting to look better and better..

  2. choi

    This sucks hard, to put it mildly, I depend on MR as a source for my Avios and bonuses. wow terrrible

  3. brad1973

    This is surprising news considering AMEX’s major setback with Costco dropping their cards and other losses of market share. Devaluing their membership points sounds like corporate suicide under the circumstances. I will be cancelling my platinum AMEX before the next annual fee for sure. Thanks for the warning Grant. I probably would not have noticed the change otherwise.

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  6. MrDioji

    Thanks for the heads up!

    Unrelated: why don’t your articles show up in my rss feed anymore? I didn’t even realize I was missing the articles – thought you were taking a hiatus or something…

      1. R.

        Speaking of RSS, could you perhaps enable full posts? Gary found a way to do that (in a separate feed) and it’s making reading your blog so much easier with intermittent cell reception in the subway. Thanks!

        1. Grant

          Hmm, the RSS feed and email alerts are based on the same setting. I’ll talk to Gary and see what he did for his second RSS feed. Thanks for the feedback.

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  8. Paul

    Disappointing news, especially since BA devalued a few months ago. Nevertheless, short haul Avios will remain one of the lowest cost awards available

  9. Robert

    Grant, you said you think more negative changes are on the way. Are you referring to MR or Avios? And what makes you say that? You’re pretty good with predictions, so just curious what’s on your mind.

    1. Grant

      I really don’t have any insights, but here is my thinking. Since Chase recently changed the earning structure on the Chase British Airways Credit Card from 1.25 to 1 Avios per $, it sounds like British Airways is selling their Avios for more than in the past. If this is true, the other airline and hotel loyalty programs might want to charge more for their miles and points. Rather than completely dropping transfer partners, Amex might change the transfer rate accordingly. This is a slippery slope with no end in sight. I hope I am wrong, but it sounds like the logical business move for these transfer partners.

      1. Robert

        Thanks Grant. I hope you’re mistaken too, but I doubt it. I agree with your first reply – cash back is looking better and better as time goes on, especially now that good cash back cards (such as Discover It and Citi Double Cash) can be had with no annual fee.

        1. Grant

          When cash back cards become more popular, the airline and hotel credit cards will have to be more generous ta a see-saw affect.

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  14. Jeff

    I guess we wait until october and see if there’s a decent transfer bonus. Otherwise, we transfer all the avios we want right before the deadline.

    1. Kent C

      Then close/reapply for another Amex business card in 12 months and get the points again. Had the 12 month rule not come into effect, I wouldn’t have been able to apply for another Business Gold for me and my wife. Got approved 2 weeks ago for 75,000 MR each (refreshed browsers over a week to finally get it). We had the same cards 18 months prior for 75,000 each and had closed them. So another 150,000 MR points that we would not have received. Now we’ll get that over to BA before Oct but even so, 120,000 new Avios is better than the alternative of not being approved for the cards again.

      The 12 month rule is one that more people should take advantage of when the time comes.

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  22. Ryan

    Thanks for posting, Grant. I’ve been hoping for a transfer bonus before the devaluation, but haven’t seen one yet.

    Plan B: Are there better uses for Amex MR points? Would love a good option to use them for hotel rewards. If not, I am planning to transfer my MR to Avios just before the devaluation takes effect.

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