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Qatar joining Amex Membership Rewards? … and other Amex MR shenanigans

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(EDIT:  Virgin has now reappeared on the Amex Eurodollar website.  Apparently it was taken down for a few days for technical reasons but normal service is now resumed.)

There are a few ‘things’ ‘going on’ with the airline partners attached to the American Express International Dollar and International Euro cards at the moment.  I thought it was worth a mention as such changes often filter down to the separate national cards eventually.

International Dollar and International Euro Amex cards are available in almost every country in the world, albeit they are run from Brighton!  You can find more details here – that link shows the Platinum version but they come in Gold and Green too.

For the miles and points collector, the attraction is the Membership Rewards tableYou can transfer your UK Membership Rewards points balance to an IDC card and receive a bonus based on the £/$ exchange rate.  The last move I did was at $1.58 to the £1 so I got a 58% bonus on the points.

Most airline transfer rates are adjusted from 1:1 to 3:2 to compensate for this, so there is minimal benefit.  However, the following airline partners let you transfer 1:1 from the IDC Membership Rewards programme into your airline account. This means (because of the 50% uplift when you move your points from the UK to IDC MR programmes) you effectively get a 50% transfer bonus.

  • Alitalia (SkyTeam)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (oneworld)
  • Finnair (oneworld)
  • Malaysia Airlines (oneworld) (not in the UK MR scheme at all)
  • Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)

On the hotel front, Jumeirah Sirius is a transfer partner of the Amex IDC programme whilst it is not a UK partner.  All of our Middle East holidays are funded with points transfers from UK Membership Rewards to IDC Membership Rewards to Jumeirah Sirius.

Amex Green

What has changed?

Amex has made a few changes to the airline partners on the Dollar and Euro cards:

Qatar Privilege Club has joined as a partner.  The transfer rate is 3:2.  This is not a surprising move as Amex has already attracted Etihad and Emirates as Membership Rewards partners.   I’m not sure what benefit this brings at the moment – as a oneworld member, there is nothing you can book via Qatar Privilege Club that you can’t book with Avios.  There may be some fuel surcharge advantages.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has disappeared as a partner.  This may be temporary as it disappeared from the US Membership Rewards site recently, only to reappear after a few days.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has disappeared as a partner.  This is a bit of a surprise, to be honest.

Note that is NO news at the moment about Qatar Airways joining the UK Membership Rewards programme or Cathay leaving it – although Qatar has clearly become closer to Amex.

There is one other IDC change.  Hilton HHonors has devalued from 2:3 to 4:5.  It was a slightly better deal than the 1:2 offered by the UK scheme but it now a little worse, adjusting for £/$ exchange rate.  Again, to be clear, there are NO public plans to change the UK Amex transfer rate to Hilton.

I wrote about how to get an International Dollar Card American Express here if you want to know more.

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Comments (18)

  • CAPECAM says:

    I need to do a tier points run with BA /QR ideally to Manila where i have some business to do – I know Copenhagen and Stockholm were offering some great value QR business class fares, but these seem to have expired. Are there any routes ffrom any European cities that currently offer good value for QR to Asia -a R/T in business will sort out my gold list card for 2015/2016 !