As we’ve mentioned a few times, Chase currently has a 30% bonus when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Avios. This offer is good through June 16, 2019.
In the miles and points community, some people’s reactions to this offer were “meh”. After all, Amex regularly offers transfers to BA Avios. Amex has offered transfer bonuses from 20%-40% in the past. Some also value Chase Ultimate Rewards more than Amex Membership Rewards, so they’d rather just transfer Amex MR points.
I get it. I like to use my Chase Ultimate Rewards for Hyatt and Southwest transfers as well as for booking travel directly through the Chase travel portal.
However, when this transfer bonus was announced, I was very excited. I was out of Amex points, but I have a small stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And, I have upcoming flights that just might be cheaper with this transfer bonus.
Sweet Spots on BA Avios
I’ve used BA Avios to fly on American Airlines (partner airline) flights quite a few times. Currently, BA uses a distance-based chart to determine the cost in points for an award ticket. In the U.S., distances less than 1150 miles cost 7500 Avios on nonstop flights. Connecting flights are priced as two segments. Note: BA just announced changes to its award prices beginning May 30, 2019. Here is a leaked revised award chart. These flights could cost 9000 Avios after May 30.
To figure out the cost of AA flights using BA Avios, I like to use this online calculator from The Wandering Aramean. It shows the price of nonstop flights as well as the price through several connecting cities.
From my home airport of DFW, I can fly to Denver, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Los Cabos, Orlando, Miami, Chicago and more for just 7500 Avios (if I book before May 30, 2019). If you live near Miami or can get there for cheap, you can fly to many places in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America for 7500 Avios. It’s a great deal!
In the next year, I’ve got two trips to Florida that I hadn’t purchased flights for yet. One of those trips is during Thanksgiving week. After the transfer bonus was announced, I looked to see if there was award availability for either direction. Boom, there was! I found MileSAAver nonstop flights on AA from MCO to DFW.
I transferred 17,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to BA Avios. When I logged into my BA account, I saw that the transfer and bonus was instant (22,100 BA Avios). Since I already had ~900 points in my account, I now had the 22,500 points necessary to book three one-way flights.
With the transfer bonus, each flight costs just 5770 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That was cheaper than I could get those flights by using my Chase UR points in the Chase travel portal.
Should You Jump on this Transfer Bonus?
If you don’t have Amex MR points available but you do have Chase Ultimate Rewards points and you have a specific AA flight you need that has MileSAAver nonstop availability, I recommend jumping on this transfer bonus. But before you do, make sure the math works out compared to just transferring the points to Southwest or using the Chase travel portal.
Otherwise, I would not recommend speculatively doing this transfer. AA MileSAAver flights are too unpredictable. You don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of BA Avios you can’t use.
As for me, I am going to keep watching AA MileSAAver availability to see if more flights become available before BA’s devaluation on May 30. Since there are still over 4 weeks left of this transfer bonus, I may just get lucky and find more flights I can book at a cheap points price.
Have you taken advantage of this recent Chase transfer bonus to BA Avios? Why or why not? Does the recent announcement by BA about award price changes affect your decision?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.