Amex To Avios Points – Should You Convert Them feature image

Amex To Avios Points Transfer – Should You Convert Them?

The flexibility of transferrable Amex Reward points is ideal when you want to max out their value – but should you convert Amex to Avios points?

It’s a dilemma, isn’t it? I mean, here you are, sitting on a mountain of Amex Rewards points, and you’re planning for a vacation or business trip. You’re pondering whether to convert your Amex points to Avios or use them for a lavish meal at a Michelin-star restaurant.

For me, and on the face of it, this is a tough choice. I love traveling, and I love good food. Oh, the pressure of a decision!

What you really need to know is which option will give you the most bang for your buck.


Can’t decide whether to convert your Amex Rewards points to Avios points?

When you do, you could unlock exceptional value, boosting how much your Amex points would be worth. But there’s a secret to maximizing this value – you’ve got to be strategic. This means watching for conversion bonuses, thinking through your travel plans, and making sure that the tickets or upgrades you desire are available.

When you convert Amex to Avios successfully, you’ll be surprised at just how much value you unlock.

Diving into the World of Amex Rewards and Avios Points

Imagine that every swipe of your card accumulates a form of currency that you can use to pay for a myriad of goods, services, or experiences. This is the world of Amex Rewards, in which every latte you buy and every full tank of gas you use earns you a little bonus toward your next adventure.

These points are hugely versatile, too – in fact, this is one of their most attractive features.

Now, picture a more unique currency. One that is designed for those of us who have one of the most exciting addictions – a lust for travel, a passion to stretch our horizons, experience different cultures, and meet new people.

Welcome to Avios points, the currency of exceptional travel options through British Airways, Aer Lingis, Iberia, and Vueling. Converting your Amex Rewards points to Avios is the key that unlocks all of these travel options.

Understanding Amex Rewards and Avios Points

First things first, I want to give you a brief rundown of both Amex Rewards and Avios Points. This will help you understand the value of both, and is crucial to make an informed decision when you are thinking about converting Amex to Avios points.

Amex Rewards

As you might expect from Amex, its Rewards Program is one of the best on the market. It is designed to reward you for everyday spending, and the points you can accumulate can be used to pay for anything from travel to dining, shopping to experiences, and more. Rewards points don’t expire, providing your account remains active and in good standing.

You earn Rewards points:

  • On everyday spending – whether filling up your tank or refurbing your home, you’ll accumulate points from all your spending.
  • Through sign-up bonuses – watch for the generous sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, which can fast-track you to a significant points balance.
  • By taking advantage of special promotions – available periodically with specific retailers and categories, there’s something for everyone.

You can use your Rewards points:

  • To spend on travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and car rental through Amex Travel
  • For everyday shopping through the Amex shopping portal
  • To exchange for gift cards to use at a variety of retailers and restaurants
  • To pay statement credit, offsetting charges or paying for purchases made using your card
  • To make charitable donations
  • To convert to Avios points

Avios Points

Avios points are the rewards currency for a range of airlines, including British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, as well as Oneworld partner airlines. You can redeem your Avios points across all these airlines’ programs, providing a seamless experience for booking flights, upgrades, and more.

You can accumulate Avios points by:

  • Everyday spending on co-branded Avios credit cards
  • Spending online with partner retailers
  • Taking advantage of special promotions and bonuses on activities such as booking flights or spending with specific partners
  • Buying Avios directly to top up your account (though this is not usually the most cost-effective method)
  • Transferring points accumulated on other cards to Avios (as Amex allows)

You can redeem your Avios points:

  • To book flights across the Avios partners’ network
  • To upgrade seats to business or first class
  • For hotel stays, car rentals, and unique travel experiences

Pros of Converting American Express Rewards Points to Avios

Converting Amex to Avios points isn’t simply about exchanging one currency for another. It’s about unlocking a treasure chest of travel. Without this conversion, these opportunities might just remain out of reach.

Here are three reasons you’ll be champing at the bit to switch out of Amex Rewards and into Avios points:

1. Hitting the Sweet Spots of Avios Awards

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Though you convert at a rate of 1:1, you’ll find that your Avios points go further than your Amex Rewards points after conversion – especially if you search the Avios program for special deals.

Use your points for flying across the pond to Europe, or to upgrade to business or first class cabins, and you could realize a value of 2 cents per point and more.

2. Using Avios for Short-Haul Flights

Want to jet off for a weekend escape? Who doesn’t, right?

Converting your Amex into Avios can be a game-changer. You could score short-haul flights for a lot less than you think.

You’ll find the Avios programs are awash with last-minute deals that give incredible value for each point, and this is going to leave more money in your pocket to make incredible memories while you’re away. You’ll be hard pushed to find better value.

3. Jet off to Exotic Destinations with Partner Airlines

Avios partners with the Oneworld Alliance, meaning you get access to mind-blowing deals to the four corners of the world, including many destinations off the beaten track. It’s like a VIP pass to visit the wonders of the world and experience those life-changing moments of discovery.

Cons of Converting American Express Rewards Points to Avios

Converting your Amex to Avios might seem beyond tempting, but it can be a complex decision to take. Sure, you’ll open up a sack full of travel opportunities, but it’s not without its limitations and challenges.

Here are three reasons why you might need to hit the pause before clicking on the convert button.

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1. Conversion Might Not be the Best Option

It may not be possible to fly direct to your desired destination through Avios partner airlines. You may be saving money by converting your Amex Rewards points to Avios points, but a couple of layovers may be exhausting and costly.

2. You Might Not be Getting Maximum Value from Your Points

The exchange rate of Amex to Avios might not always be in your favor. If this is the case, you could end up out of pocket. That Michelin-star dining experience suddenly looks a much better option.

You should also remember that Avios points are not nearly as flexible as Amex Rewards – Avios is designed specifically for travel-related purchases. Look on it like an investment, from which you want to gain the highest returns.

3. Taxes, Fees, and Availability Issues

When you convert Amex to Avios, you might encounter some otherwise ‘hidden’ – and nasty – surprises. Availability of premium cabins and popular routes gets filled quickly.

Then there are potentially high taxes and fees on some flights. While points may make prizes, patience and flexibility deliver the highest-value results.


Converting Amex to Avios points can be extremely rewarding, but it pays to understand the potential pitfalls as well as the undeniable benefits when you are considering conversion. This will help to make sure that you convert at the optimum time.

When Should You Convert Rewards Points to Avios Points?

Have you ever been tightening (or loosening) a bolt, and been faced with the decision whether to use a spanner or a wrench? The choice depends on several factors, like how much you can see, the angle of attack, and the space you have to work in. Nothing is ever straightforward, is it?

The pros and cons of converting Amex to Avios give you a framework in which to make the decision whether to convert. I’ve found that there are three distinct scenarios in which conversion is undoubtedly the best tool to use:

1. When Avios Offers a Better Redemption Value

This is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is compare the cost of booking your desired flight or travel experience using your Amex Reward points vs Avios points. If you’re going to use more Amex points than Avios, then conversion is a clear winner.


Keep an eye out for promotional deals offered on Avios programs – you may receive bonus points for converting, for example.

2. When Booking Flights on Partner Airlines

So, you’re planning to fly with an airline like, say, Qatar or American Airlines. Have you checked the Avios deals on these yet? No? Did you forget that Avios includes the partner airlines in the Oneworld Alliance?

Use Avios and Oneworld to unlock routes and destinations at exceptional value.

3. To Take Advantage of Last-Minute Travel Deals

If you need to book a last-minute flight, you should really check out the Avios program. There are usually some fantastic deals available for last-minute travel.

Plus, fees are often lower. These advantages combined can make conversion from Amex to Avios a savvy choice.


Timing of conversion is key to maximizing value, so always time a switch for when it aligns with your travel plans.

How Do You Convert American Express Rewards to Avios Points?

The process to convert Amex to Avios points is relatively straightforward, though you will need to pay attention to the details as you navigate the conversion journey.

(Before you start, you’ll need to register for an Avios program. I’d also recommend that you register for the British Airways Executive Club – it’s free to do, and the value you get increases as you move up the tiers.)

Step 1: Log into your Amex account. This is where you’ll initiate the conversion.

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Membership Rewards’ section, where you can explore various redemption options.

Step 3:Within the Membership Rewards section, find the option to ‘Transfer Points’ and click on it to proceed.

Step 4:Here, you’ll be presented with a list of Amex’s airline and hotel partners. Select British Airways Executive Club (or Avios) from the list.

Step 5:If you haven’t already linked your accounts, link your BA Exec Club account to your Amex account (don’t worry, this is completely safe to do). You will probably need to pass through an account verification process.

Step 6:Decide how many Amex points you wish to convert, and key in this amount – you’ll need to be mindful of minimum transfer amounts and prevailing conversion rates.

Step 7:Review the conversion details, and click ‘Confirm’ to complete the transfer.

Strategies to Maximize the Value of Amex to Avios Conversions

To get the most from converting your Rewards points, you’ll need to play the game like a Chess Grandmaster. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you’ll certainly need a strategy.

Here’s a strategy I’ve developed that should help you to maximize value and take full advantage of the pros while mitigating the cons.

1. Time Your Conversions

Be patient, and wait for bonuses. The conversion rate may be 1:1, but Amex/Avios run regular promotions offering bonus points for converting to Avios.

Timing your transfers for these can make a huge difference to your points value, and (literally) help you go further.

Planning ahead is also key, so that you can convert when bookings are low (avoid peak travel if possible). You’ll find that hitting these sweet spots will get you more miles, or cheaper premium deals, for fewer Avios points.

2. Combine Avios with Other Points for Bigger Savings

You can pool your Avios account with the Avios accounts of family members. This will give you the firepower to make more valuable redemptions, including long-haul flights and upgrades.

3. Book Partner Flights and Round-the-World Tickets

One of the things I most like about the Avios programs is that they give you access to deals from partner airlines in the Oneworld Alliance. Take time to do some research and look for flights to destinations that might otherwise be out of your reach. I’ve discovered some great-value flights this way.

Have you flown around the world yet? I haven’t, but the more I look into it, the more tempted I am.

Sure, you need a fair number of Avios points, but you’ll be surprised how much value you can squeeze out of them with a flexible plan. I mean, how else could you afford the luxury trip of a lifetime? And don’t forget, Avios points can also be used for accommodation, car rentals, and more.

Extra Tips

Sign up to newsletters and forums to keep up to date with the latest Avios promotions and points conversion/redemption strategies.
Stay flexible with your travel dates and destinations to uncover the highest value for your Avios.
Plan ahead, especially if making complex travel arrangements – the best deals get snapped up quickly.
Be flexible. Flexibility with travel dates and destinations can uncover incredible opportunities to maximize the value of your Avios.

How to Avoid Common Conversion Mistakes

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I once heard a conversion horror story, about someone who transferred a large sum of Amex Reward points to Avios points with the aim of bagging a business class flight to Tokyo.

What they hadn’t done was check the availability. With demand much higher than they expected it to be, they couldn’t use their Avios to book.

The moral of this story is to always check availability before transferring points across to Avios.

Another mistake that is easy to make is to not consider the cost of taxes and fees. Sure, that flight to London is great value in Avios points; but when it comes to paying, you could be hit hard with additional costs that you haven’t allowed for.

The lesson? Always get your calculator out and figure out the total cost of redemption to uncover the real value of an Amex Rewards points transfer.

My rules to avoid such pitfalls are:

  • Always check flight availability and seasonality before transferring points.
  • Consider the total cost of redemption.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and destinations.

To Convert Amex to Avios, or Not to Convert…

Converting Amex Rewards points to Avios could unlock a world of high-value travel and unique experiences. However, whether you’re a globetrotter or an avid value seeker, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of conversion before committing yourself to a transfer.

Amex Rewards points are highly flexible. Avios points can boost the value of your Amex points when traveling, especially in the form of upgrades and worldwide experiences.

As with any decision, the key is to be strategic. Weigh up the pros and cons. Understand when to convert. Avoid the pitfalls. Do these things, and you’ll pilot your points to maximum value.

The bottom line? While converting Amex to Avios points may seem daunting at first, when you optimize your Amex points to leverage Avios offers, you’ll ensure that you extract the maximum value and benefit from enhanced travel experiences.

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