Membership Rewards to Limit Transfers to Select Airline Loyalty Schemes
American Express Membership Rewards are a great point scheme as they provide options to transfer to a healthy amount of airline frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 basis. This is the case for Membership Rewards in the U.K., U.S., Canada and most other countries around the World. However as of January 1st, 2015 the U .K. Membership Rewards Program will limit transfer on some their airline partners.
Those partners are Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. These three airlines of course have very high profile premium class options (First and Business Class cabins) and perhaps the airlines are pushing back on Amex to limit these transfers as availability for these premium classes is being crunched by those who earn miles via credit card programs and taking away space from those who earn the miles the hard way, via butt in seat miles (and those who are actually the most loyal to the airline).
Now you can still transfer quite a few points, 999,000 in a calendar year to be exact. This is still a lot but once they start a trend like this it may just continue to get lower and lower and for some of you that just may make you change your mind about trying to redeem for lots of first class tickets on these airlines. Oh and by the way we checked Membership Rewards details for Canada, Australia and the U.S. and none of them have instituted this change. (yet)
You can find out more about these changes here.