American Express Rewards Continental Transfer Deadline is September 30th, 2011

Just a quick reminder to let you know that if you have American Express Rewards points that you’d like to transfer to Continental you must complete that transaction by September 30th, 2011.

After that date you will no longer be able to transfer from American Express Rewards to Continental as AMEX and Continental are getting a divorce (so to speak).

Remember, with the upcoming merger between Continental and United all miles transferred to Continental can also be transferred to United free of charge.

It seems clear that Continental/United is pulling away to firm up its relationship with Chase.  After the 30th of September the only credit cards to earn points with Continental/United will be through a Chase brand card.  You can get a United credit card, a Continental credit card or an Ultimate Rewards credit card (like the 50,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred or the 50,000 Ink Bold) and transfer the points to Continental/United.

My Personal Considerations:

Between my wife and I, we have just over 115,000 American Express Rewards points.  We don’t currently have any need for additional miles in any one program, and I don’t expect to be renewing my credit card account after June 2012.  Thus, I’ll need to transfer out my points by this summer.

Here’s a little basic information about American Express Rewards compared to Ultimate Rewards.

My Options to Consider:

1.  Transfer the points now to Continental/ United.  That appeals to me because those points give me access to one way awards and reasonable redemption rates.  Continental/United has good availability when booking awards.  Also, we used United points when booking from Phuket to Toronto, so our United miles could do with a top up.  With a family, having more miles in one account does make sense.  We’ll have ample opportunity to earn lots more United miles.

2.  Transfer the points to BA.  I’m not going to give this much thought because of the upcoming changes with BA; it’s like gambling.  I’d rather bet on a sure thing.

3.  Transfer points to Delta.  I recently had a good experience with Delta, but I continue to see that Delta redemptions are difficult.  I spent 30 minutes on the other day looking at award availability to different destinations, and except for a few gems, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw.  Even with the extra mileage bonuses, I can’t see Delta being a very good option.

4.  Transfer points to Aeroplan.  This has the potential to be a good alternative to Continental/United.  They have a good redemption option for business class to Europe (90,000), but my wife and I wouldn’t be able to both get enough points to do much with Aeroplan.  Thus, this would only make sense if our future credit card use included the Fidelity American Express as a way to earn more Aeroplan miles.

Right now I’m trying to decide if I’m going to pull the trigger and transfer my miles to United or transfer later to another program.

The clock is ticking, so I’ll need to decide soon – you, too!

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