Why I Am Passing on the British Airways UR Transfer Bonus, Should You Too?

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British Airways Ultimate Rewards Transfer Bonus

Why I Am Passing on the British Airways UR Transfer Bonus, Should You Too?

News came out yesterday about a British Airways transfer bonus for Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The bonus is a healthy 30% on top of the normal 1 to 1 transfer rate.  Transfer bonuses are common practice for American Express Membership Rewards points but this is a first for Chase UR points. So we should be jumping for joy right?  The first time Chase has a transfer bonus is a big deal but I am still passing on this offer, should you too?

Why Am I Passing On Bonus Points?

First and foremost, I will say don’t take advantage of a transfer bonus just because there is an offer.  If you are not sure that you will use the points then the bonus is essentially worthless.  Transferable currencies are never more valuable then when they are sitting in their pre-transfer form.  That is because they have more opportunities to get maximum value while in their original state.  If you have a set redemption in mind and need the British Airways Avios then this could be a good offer for you.

But if you are like me and you don’t have an impending need then I would say sit this one out.  Whenever I see a BA Avios transfer bonus I usually transfer some points over.  Even though it is done speculatively I know I will use them so it is a good play for me personally.  They come in handy for domestic American Airlines flights and I am even willing to pay more Avios for the flights versus using AA miles some of the time. So why am I sitting this one out?  Because they are Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase UR are the most valuable points out there, in my opinion.  They are also the toughest points to earn since welcome offers are tightly guarded and their spending bonuses are not as good as American Express etc.  Because of this I won’t speculatively transfer them.

It does go further than that though.  BA Avios, along with Virgin Atlantic miles, are the most common transfer bonuses offered.  Amex usually offers it a few times a year.  And since I value those points less I would much rather transfer them speculatively versus Ultimate Rewards.

Conclusion

If you have an immediate need for British Airways Avios then this is a good deal to take advantage of.  Getting a 23% discount on your award flight is always a good thing.  But if you don’t have concrete plans to use the Avios I would wait for a Membership Rewards bonus to speculatively transfer points to Avios.  That is assuming that you value Ultimate Rewards above all else like I do.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I transferred 60,000 points from Ultimate Rewards to BA. I use a Sarasota to DCA run at least once every 4 – 6 weeks. AA does this route NS and it used to be for 7500 BA miles one way. Now, it has been increased to 9000 under the recent BA increases. But still, that is a great deal and the Sarasota Airport is very expensive usually. Now I have 95,000 points in my BA account and that should last for a bit. Well worth it for me. I have been working hard to get under the Chase 5/24 rule and by the fall or end of the year my wife and I should both be there and I hope to churn some Chase cards again. Also, I have the old Ink card with 5 times at office supply stores and I hit the Visa Card deals at staples hard when they come up with no fee……I am like a crazy man running to stores until the Managers sometimes ban me while the promotions are running. But, it pays off.

  2. I just used it to top off my Avios to buy three tickets, first class outbound and economy return, on AA flights within the US for my family to take a vacation. It still cost me 10,000 miles LESS than booking three RT economy tickets via AA. I love BA Avios for this!

    But yes, generally I keep my points in the most fungible format until I have a solid use for them on a specific airline.

  3. Need an inter-Australia flight (MEL-SYD) in October. For a Qantas flight booked via BA, it’s 4500 Avios per person, so 9K for 2 of us. I just transferred my “orphan” 950 Iberia Avios, earned from some promo since I’ve never flown BA or Iberia. Redeemed $12 in e-rewards “currency” for 250 BA Avios – will have to wait a few weeks for that transfer to complete, but then I’ll have 1200. Transfer 6K UR into 7800 Avios and there we are. I’m good with this, and I think it is better than flying budget Jetstar or Tigerair and getting nickeled and dimed for seats, etc.

  4. The Thank You Point transfers to Avios with a bonus sounds great compared to UR, but what is the history of this being possible?

    Do you peer review before posting?

  5. I’m personally taking advantage of this since I will be booking a flight on Iberia very soon and can transfer BA to Iberia. So the 30% boost is nice. Transatlantic J for 2 people on Iberia for 52k UR. Yes please.

  6. Hey Mark, I’d be interested in hearing why you still value UR so highly. Overall I find MR to be the much more compelling currency on both the earning and redemption side. I understand the value of the Hyatt transfer and (to a decreasing extent) the United transfer. However, I much prefer Aeroplan since my usual redemption is business class to Europe. As for Hyatt, the bonus categories are basically equivalent between CSP and the WoH card, but spending on WoH also gets you closer to a free night at $15,000 and extra elite nights. Obviously a lot of the value comes down to personal habits and preferences, but I see it being increasingly difficult to defend the superior value of UR.

    • Mainly Hyatt and the fact that I can earn Membership Rewards points more easily. I put a premium on UR because of that. Most of my earning for them is based on 5X with my ink plus…haven’t been able to get a UR bonus in a 5 years or so 🙁

  7. Why do you think Chase UR are the most valuable? With the upcoming UA devaluation, easy availability of Lifemiles, loss of KE

    • Personal choice – I think a lot depends on your home airport and how you travel. I still value Hyatt as the best transfer partner out there for everyday redemptions. Of course first class overseas redemptions will bring more but on average I think Hyatt offers the best average. I also think they are the hardest to earn which makes them more valuable to me.

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