Should I transfer my AMEX Membership Rewards points to Avios or Velocity for flights to Europe?

Hi there

I have accumulated around 1 million Amex Membership Rewards points and will most likely have around 1.4 million at the time of purchasing my tickets overseas.

I’m aware Virgin is currently offering a 20% bonus on points transfers from AMEX.
I’m also aware that AMEX have just added AVIOS as a points partner at 2:1.

I’m interested in booking a business or first class fare to Europe.

When I look for flights through the AVIOS portal, there seems to be more availability for award flights than there is on Velocity. But the points exchange is more expensive a lot of the time.

When I look for flights through the Velocity portal, availability is very difficult - but the points required is lesser. Taxes are, however, high.

I’d love some advice…should I be transferring my points to Velocity and taking advantage of the bonus, or going through AVIOS?

Prefferred flights would be: Sydney to Rome or Milan (via Qatar)

Would greatly appreciate any tips!

Hi @rich2023

In your situation, I think it makes more sense to NOT transfer to Velocity at this time. Here’s my thinking:

  • Your expected 1.4 million AmEx MR points equate to 700,000 Velocity points or Qatar Avios (not counting any bonuses).

  • You have correctly observed that there are plenty of Qatar “Flex” awards to/from Europe in business class at the moment, for 180,000 Avios each way. This compares unfavourably with Velocity’s 139,000 points, and also with Qatar’s 90,000 point awards … but there are very few of either available at the moment.

  • If an award does become available for 139,000 points on Velocity, it will almost certainly be available for 90,000 Avios on Qatar Privilege Club. And it will be available on Qatar Privilege Club a month or so before it’s available on Velocity.

So if you’re looking to fly on Qatar, and you have the ability to transfer to either Velocity or Qatar Privilege Club, it simply doesn’t make sense to transfer to Velocity.

By the way, if you’re wanting return trips to Europe in Business for two, the worst case scenario is that only the expensive “Flex” rates from Qatar will be available – this will cost you 720,000 Avios or 1,440,000 AmEx rewards points. You’re so close!

One final point: if you’re wanting to keep your options open and possibly fly to Europe on Etihad or Singapore Airlines, then it might make sense to transfer to Velocity. But only do the transfer if there are seats available.