Right now there a couple of good time-sensitive opportunities to put your American Express Membership Rewards points to particularly good use.
1. Through May 15th, 2012, you can transfer your MR points to Virgin Atlantic and receive a 25% bonus. There can be steep taxes and fuel charges when redeeming awards on VA, so make sure and do some research on your particular itinerary before taking advantage of this one. Also, thanks to TPG for pointing out that you can also transfer your VA points to Hilton Honors at a 1 to 2 ratio. Check this out: if you signed up for the Amex Business Gold card I posted about on Leap Year Day, you would have received at least 85,000 points, 75k for the bonus and 10k points for the $10k you would have spent to get that bonus. Those 85k MR points would turn into 106,250 VA points, which would turn into 212,500 Hilton Honors points, assuming that you can actually transfer that many points, which I haven’t confirmed. That’s enough HH points to stay at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe for 4 nights in May, which, at a nominal rate of 750 Euro per night, would be a value of almost $4,000. I’m sure if you poked around you could find even better value at some of the high-end Hilton properties. Or, you could stay at one of their lower-end properties, which start at 7,500 points per night, for almost a month.
2. Until the end of May you can transfer your Amex MR points to British Airways and get a 50% bonus. You generally don’t want to book tickets across the Atlantic on BA because of the super high fuel surcharges they charge for award travel, but with this 50% bonus there are some seriously amazing values to be had if you’re traveling in the other direction, for instance Asia, Hawaii, South America, or even just across the US. You have some time, so look at your fantasy itineraries, and do a bit of research. You might be packing your bags much sooner than you had hoped.
On another note, this is the first post that will syndicate through our new MailChimp setup to those of you subscribed to the Flyer-A Reader. I hope you’ll let me know if you experience any unwelcome strangeness.