Some people received this offer by email yesterday. However, it is NOT targetted and is described on the Amex Currency Exchange website, and so must be open to all. It is not a bad deal and certainly worth a look if you need foreign currency.
A few weeks later, I showed the results of my experiment to show that American Express treat ACE transactions as a purchase. This means that:
a) you don’t pay a cash advance fee on your BA, SPG, Nectar, Gold, Platinum or Green Amex card, and
b) you earn the relevant reward for your spending
This meant that if you ordered your currency to collect at Heathrow via the link on the BA website, you could triple-dip:
a) Avios for the transaction due to their BA partner status, at 1 Avios per £1 exchanged
b) Avios or Membership Rewards points from your Amex card
c) BAA WorldPoints, at the rate of 1 per £10 exchanged
The new offer is simply icing on a very generous cake!
Here are the summary points of the deal:
- You earn 1,000 Avios if you exchange £300 at American Express Currency Exchange between 28th January and 31st March
- It doesn’t matter if you pre-order online or just turn up at an ACE counter (although you would be a total idiot not to pre-book, given how poor the on-the-spot rates are)
- If you pre-order, it must be via the BA link and not the general www.travelmoneynow.com link
- You do not get the bonus if you earned Avios from ACE between 1 September 2012 and 27 January 2013 (so, for me, I will have to put a transaction through my wife’s BA account)
- You can also get the deal at branches of Moneycorp
- Avios are awarded after 40 days (and not before – I have experience of this) because of the 31 day buy-back guarantee on orders. Refusing the buy-back guarantee does not speed up the 40 days!
- Sterling Travellers Cheques do not earn Avios and are therefore not valid for this promotion
The Moneycorp note is important, because ACE does not have an outlet at Gatwick. However, Moneycorp does – they are also at Southampton, Stansted and Southend. (Important note – we do not know if transactions at Moneycorp incur a cash advance fee. Be very careful if using an Amex card to pay here.)
Amex Currency Exchange can be found at:
- Heathrow Airport Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5
- Edinburgh Airport
- Birmingham Airport
But are the rates any good?
I noted back in September that the ACE rates as long as you pre-ordered were surprisingly competitive with the best deals in the market. However, there has now been a subtle change – whilst the ACE rates via their own website www.travelmoneynow.com are competitive, the rates via the BA portal are now slightly worse. (This was also the case during when Travelex was BA’s partner.) For example, the £ / Euro rate is currently €1.133 via the BA portal and via €1.141 via www.travelmoneynow.com.
True, it is not a major difference – €3.80 when changing £500 – but there is a difference nonetheless. Those Avios don’t come free ….
For clarity – if you order via www.travelmoneynow.com then you WILL earn Avios / MR points via your Amex card and you will earn WorldPoints if you collect at Heathrow. However, to get the additional 1 Avios per £1 on your transaction and the 1,000 bonus Avios, you need to go via the BA portal and thus get the slightly worse exchange rate. For order under £1,500, though, you should still come out ahead (factoring in the value of the Avios) going via the BA portal.
You should also note that, in my experience, you will end up chasing the BAA WorldPoints – they should post within 48 hours, and if they don’t then you should email WorldPoints with a scan of your receipt and they will add them on promptly.