Today I decided to diversify my points and miles portfolio and added about 140k miles to my US Airways account. I first talked about taking advantage of the 50% transfer bonus with US Airways the other day and today I finally took the leap. Some may say it was a dumb move, but honestly I looked at every single scenario for multiple different airlines, for many different flights AND I couldn’t find a better deal than redeeming reward travel with US Airways. British Airways is offering a 50% transfer bonus directly from American Express, which would have given me more miles than I could get by transferring to US Airways, BUT flying from Anchorage makes the deal worthless. American Airlines is a partner with British Airways, but redeeming reward tickets on AA using Avios is nearly impossible. Even by searching AA’s site for flights, then calling BA doesn’t work for me. I know for a fact that BA’s partner AA flies from ANC to SEA and yet they can’t even find a single flight. My guess is their system is broken or they don’t have flights for the specified time frame I am looking at.
My wife and I are looking to fly to New York this coming September for a week and flying from Anchorage to New York makes for a long flight. Whenever we do these long flights we try to get First Class tickets because not only are they a better value, but it’s much easier to fly all day in First Class. I found some decent flights on AA’s website in September of this year, that’s 5 months away so I called BA to see about booking those flights. The agent I spoke to looked up the dates I gave her and said there were no available flights out of Anchorage or that all of their rewards seats were already taken. One flight would have gotten me to Seattle, but after that, all seats were taken. Really? You are telling me 5 months in advance and all rewards tickets or seats are taken? I even looked at flying my wife to Dallas to go visit one of her friends whose having a baby in June. I gave the BA agent dates in May to see if anything would work. Dallas/Fort Worth is a major hub of American Airlines, if I am not mistaken? Again I was told nothing was available, except on First Class. The cost to fly from ANC to DFW… 120k Avios and $122.20 in fees! I can fly Delta at a max of 80k miles and $10 in fees. The hassles of trying to get a flight from Anchorage to anywhere in the United States is nearly impossible with using Avios. I basically got fed up with their system and decided I would go with US Airways, knowing which flights I can easily book with their Dividend Miles. Besides a First Class ticket on US Airways from Anchorage to New York in September is only 50k miles, a much better deal than Delta.
I do believe Avios has some amazing value on certain flights.. you just have to find them or live in an area that will allow you to take advantage of their rewards. I checked on flights from Seattle to other destinations and booking with Avios wasn’t that bad, just too bad I don’t live in the Lower 48 states though, otherwise I would probably take advantage of the Amex 50% transfer bonus to BA right now.
Since I could not find any flights using Avios I quickly transferred 160,000 American Express rewards points to my SPG account. One aspect with transferring to SPG is I don’t have to pay a fee like I do with transferring Amex points to Delta. Also the transfer is easy and quick. Normally the transfer ratio is 3:1, but with the current promotion its 2:1, making it easier to gain those lost miles with the 50% bonus transfer from SPG to US Airways. You lose value on the front end of this deal but gain most of them back on the back end of the deal.
As soon as you click Redeem, your Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points are in your account. I wanted to be sure I got the 50% bonus for transferring my points from SPG to US Airways, so I knew this had to be done before March 31st.
Then I transferred my SPG points to my US Airways account. Here is the break down of transferring rewards points from Amex all the way to US Airways:
- First, I transferred 160,000 American Express rewards points to my Starwood Preferred Guest account which turned into 80,000 SPG points.
- Second, I transferred a maximum of 79,999 SPG points to my US Airways account (yes I transferred ‘1’ too many points from Amex). With the bonus given to me from SPG of 15k miles along with the 50% bonus for redeeming my hotel points for Dividend miles, I will receive a total of 142,000 Dividend Miles for my 160,000 Amex points. I did not realize that the transfer from SPG to my US Airways account could take up to 4-6 weeks, so I’m glad I got this done now, rather than waiting a few weeks before I needed to fly!
- Third, as soon as I get the miles in my account I will be redeeming 100,000 miles for 2 First Class tickets from Anchorage to New York, 60,000 miles less than what it would have cost me on Delta and only God knows how many Avios and fees it would have cost me going through British Air/American Airlines.
If you plan have planned on transferring points to US Airways, don’t wait as each of these promotions ends on March 31st.