How just 13000 Amex Points could put you 1st Class

British Airways First Class 777-300

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How just 13000 Amex Points could put you 1st Class

The past week has been a big one for Amex and British Airways. In roughly 7 days we’ve seen the transfer ratio between the brands go from 5:4 to 1:1 to 5:7. THAT IS CRAZY and it creates some very interesting opportunities. Avios get a bad wrap, for a good reason most of the time, but there are some pretty awesome uses, and I thought I’d show you one way that you can get RIDICS value.  This is how just 13000 Amex Points could put you in 1st class poppin’ bottles, wearing Pjs, and have you facing the difficult questions…should I be addressed as Mr. Miles the Monkey, or just Miles?

Let’s say you nabbed a great Biz fare or maybe you’re flying on the company dime…This is what you’d have.

It’s lie-flat, but leaves quite a bit to be desired when compared to the competition.

an airplane cabin with rows of seats
British Airways A380 Club World

But THIS is what you WANT: Great Champagne, All Aisle Access, cool blue lighting. FIRST CLASS! You’re so close!!! Only 13k Amex Points and Miles will show you how.

a plane with seats and a blue light

You probably already know this, but British Airways award chart has Peak and Off-peak rates.

a calendar with numbers and a date

Let’s say your business class ticket is booked from Boston to London. That route has great First Class award and upgrade availability.

You can search for space on AA. On the left you have space in July ( Peak ) and on the right you have November ( Off Peak )

You can also search on Expertflyer – it’s Z space ( award and upgrade ). You can even set alerts to notify you when it becomes available.

MILES, OMG I SEE SPACE!!!! How much will it cost to upgrade?

Remember, it’s the difference between how many points your business class ticket would have cost, and how much the first class seat that you want would cost.

If your business class flight was in July ( Peak ) it’d be 60k Avios. If it was in November ( off-peak ) it’d cost 50k avios

a screenshot of a website

The first class equivalent: 68k ( off peak ) and 80k ( peak )

a blue and white sign with white text

So the difference is 18k and 20k, respectively. 

Let’s say your flight was in November, and you needed 18k Avios to upgrade. With the current 40% transfer bonus, you’d need to transfer just 13k American Express Membership Rewards to make it happen. Mic Drop!

a screenshot of a credit card

I’m hoping to use upgrade an upcoming biz flight from LAX to LHR to first class. Fingers crossed 🙂


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
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    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
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  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex®  and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  • Fester July 21, 2017

    So, this is a great way to take advantage of a biz fare sale and then upgrade to first for minimal miles. Thanks for the tip on how to use Avios for long haul flights. I already knew about the great use of Avios for short haul flights. This rounds it out.

  • Harry July 20, 2017

    This blog is for people who are into the mileage scene. Anyone there would have absorbed the unspoken understanding, before reaching the end of the title, that what must be being talked about here is an upgrade and all those in the mileage scene know that only one class upgrades are possible with miles. My observation is a little different. The Boston to London flight is relatively short. Short, pardon the pun, of flying at someone else’s expense I would never pay cash for a revenue Business Class ticket on this route although I would and have used points to cross the Atlantic in Business, albeit not with Avios where the taxes etc. are outrageous. The offer to upgrade to First for (a current net) 13,000 MR points if you already have the paid Business ticket is however a great offer. Miles, ignore the naysayers, you produce a very informative free blog. Anyone who doesn’t like it can press the Unsubscribe button.

  • Lilly July 20, 2017

    I don’t get why people are getting so upset. The title of the article exactly matches the content. Shame about the haters and I don’t usually leave a ton of comments but bc of the negativity on here I feel the need to say I think this is a really good post!! And love the humor you always put in them

    • Miles July 20, 2017

      Thanks Lilly! Appreciate the support

  • J July 20, 2017

    If anyone needs referrals to any of these cards, let me know!

    I can refer anyone to the following cards:

    Amex Premier Rewards Gold
    Amex Platinum
    Amex Business Platinum
    Amex Business Gold
    Amex Schwab Platinum
    Amex Delta Gold
    Amex Delta Platinum
    Amex SPG Personal
    Amex Blue Cash Preferred
    Amex Hilton Surpass

  • Andy July 20, 2017

    the $1k in fees does not apply for upgrade, that’s for a redemption ticket

  • askmrlee July 20, 2017

    Ahh yes, the bloggers dilemna. No one would read the article if it read 13K Avios + $1000 in fees.

  • Zack July 20, 2017

    Click-bait! What a deceiving title. If only 13k Amex points would get get you lie flat seats on a long-haul flight…..

    • Miles July 20, 2017

      Zack – they do – i just wrote an entire article about it up above

  • John July 20, 2017

    13K only puts you in F if you already have a seat in J. I call clickbait.

  • Alex July 20, 2017

    So, 68k miles plus over $1,000 in taxes and fees? I think I’ll pass

  • Sri July 20, 2017

    Disingenuous title. What do you have to do that?

  • Sam July 20, 2017

    This is one of the worst click bait articles I have ever read. It ranks right up there with the save 20% at blank hotel and then the article leads to an AMEX offer for $20 off with $100 spend.

    • Miles July 20, 2017

      Sam – jeeez I can’t imagine what you’d have said if I would have gone with my original title ” just 13k Amex points Could put you in 1st class AND make you a rockstar in bed.”

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