Membership Rewards (MR) is the points program from American Express. MR points can be accumulated via a number of their credit cards including the Premier Rewards Gold Card, Platinum Card®, American Express® Green Card, Blue Sky from American Express®, Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card and Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card. Some of these cards ean bonus points when shopping at certain merchants.
One of the great things about MR points is that they can be transferred to a number of travel partners including:
- Aeroplan (Air Canada)
- British Airways Executive Club
- Alitalia (1000:750)
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) (1000:750)
- Delta (1000:750)
- Etihad (1000:750)
- SPG (1000:500)
One of my favorite uses for MRs is transferring them to British Airways as BA Avios are great for short haul trips on American Airlines as they transfer at a 1:1 ratio vs. some of the other ratios we see above.
Unfortunately that’s changing on October 1. Starting on that date the transfer ratio to British Airways (and Iberia, which also uses Avios) will be 250 MRs to 200 Avios, which is a 25% devaluation. While that won’t be a huge hit for short haul trips, it would make a big difference when using Avios for long haul trips, like my upcoming trip to Australia. I didn’t have enough Avios in my account and topped it off with MRs so I’d have enough to make the reservation.
I suppose this is to be expected as we’ve learned that nothing stays the same in the world of points and miles but it’s still disappointing.
Earlier today I started seeing reports where people at first could not log into their British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) accounts. Once these users changed their password, they were finally able to log in, only to find all their Avios were gone.
Initially I was not worried, knowing how small my Avios balance was. But late this afternoon I decided to check it out and attempted to log into my account. I got the same error others reported, where the ba.com site indicated it did not recognize my BAEC number. Knowing I had entered the correct number, I clicked on the Forgot Password link and reset my password. Once I updated my password I was able to log into my account and found I’d been a victim too.
Can’t think of any BA redemption for 193 points!
Fortunately my Avios balance was extremely small – less than 200 points – and I do not have an immediate need to book a trip with Avios, so I’m not hurting. I’d have been extremely distressed had this happened a few months ago when I used Avios to book an international first class ticket.
While some reports I read indicated that British Airways had reached out to impacted accounts, I did not receive such an email. While I fully expect BA will restore everyones’ Avios eventually I went ahead and filled out the form on ba.com to be sure my account did not get overlooked.
If you’ve not logged into your BA account lately, I would do so ASAP and see if you’ve been a victim or not. Even if you have not, now is a great time to change your password.