Amex closing travelmoneynow – the end of a quick way of hitting your card bonus

American Express is closing Travel Money Now (travelmoneynow.com), its foreign currency website, on 1st March.  It seems highly likely that the Avios-earning version (travelmoneynow.com/avios) will close on the same date.

On the face of it, this is not a great loss.  A couple of years ago, American Express lost its contract at Heathrow.  This meant that it was left with a grand total of one foreign exchange counter in the whole country, at Birmingham International.  You could, via the website, still order currency for home delivery but that is not exactly a niche with no competition.

However, as Head for Points has pointed out on a regular basis, there IS something unique about Travel Money Now.

As long as you buy your currency using an American Express issued Amex card (eg BA, BA Premium Plus, SPG, Nectar, Gold, Platinum etc), the transaction is treated as a purchase.

Amex at Heathrow T5

This means:

no cash advance fee

you earn Avios, Membership Rewards points, SPG points, Nectar points etc on the transaction

the transaction counts towards your spend if you are looking to trigger a sign-up bonus

The 2nd point made Travel Money Now exceedingly competitive.  When you factored in the value of, say, 1.5 Avios per £1 for charging currency to your BA Premium Plus, it was good value.

The 3rd point was also very useful.  However, Amex does limit its value:

on a credit card, eg the BA Amex, the amount of currency you can buy is restricted to your ‘cash advance limit’ printed on the front of your statement.  This is usually 20% of your credit limit.

if you are new to American Express, it was likely that you would be blocked entirely from any sort of cash transaction, including buying foreign currency from Travel Money Now, for a few months – by which time it would be too late to trigger your sign-up bonus

Travel Money Now was a useful little trick to have in your points-earning arsenal, however, and it is a shame that it is going away.

It is not clear, at this stage, who will replace Amex as BA’s foreign currency partner.  I would imagine that there will finally be one integrated solution covering both pre-ordering and ‘at airport’ purchases.  It is possible, given that there was a short trial last Summer, that Travelex will be back on the scene.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Cuchlainn says:

    Newbie !! Just ordered FX via travelmoneynow/avios using my 1 week old BA PP Amex ( thanks Robb ) . I attempted to do £750 worth of $ but got kicked back, sent a secure email to Amex who advised me to : 1. Order slightly lower amount ( £650ish ) and 2. This will be treated as a cash advance……. ( yes I have read above posts ). Seems to have worked well but proof in my statement ( Amex and Avios ) !!

    • Do you mind me asking if £650 worked out to be 20% of your credit limit? I just got my BAPP today and was hoping to buy £1000 on it.

      • +1

      • I had luck ordering 2 transactions of £650 in succession the other day and to the best of my knowledge that exceeds 20% of my credit limit (not totally sure it was the PRG charge card).

        • Just to add, I received my SPG card and ordered £600 worth of dollars that day. This was more than the 20% of my credit limit but went through with no problems.

      • Cuchlainn says:

        Andy R / Topp 2015 – direct lift from email :
        ” You may withdraw up to £650 everyday while in UK and up to £950 while travelling, maximum of 20% of pre assigned Credit Limit”.

        Hope this helps, as it came up as Amex CCA on the online statement…

      • Thanks all. I tried buying £1020 then £950 then £750 but all failed. Got it to work with £650. This is much less than 20% of my credit limit so it must be the minimum of the two.

    • I’ve never been able to find a link between card limits, 20% and the £650 rule!

      Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t! – It doesn’t work at all for my brother and his limit is higher than mine!

      AMEX BA customer services told me all BA cards have a limit of £650 or 20% of your limit whatever is lower.

      However, I’ve purchased £700 or £800 in one go before!

  2. using https://www.travelmoneynow.com/britishairways/uk to get UK Sterling Travellers Cheques it is charging me several £ in commission.

    Is this correct ? So people pay to get the cheques and then pay to redeem them at their bank too ?

    • Yes, there is a 1.5% fee on £ travellers cheques. How do you think they cover their costs?! The transaction itself does not incur any cash advance fees however and is treated as a purchase by Amex.

  3. As an update, I paid in some sterling travellers cheques into the Metro Bank on Cheapside, London this morning without a hitch.

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  2. […] Sorry don't know what will be replacing it, but here is a little more on the topic from Head For Points. http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/02…ravelmoneynow/ […]