Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Further update on earning Avios from Amex Currency Exchange

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Well, the results of my experiment are in. This is what turned up on my Membership Rewards statement:

22/10/2012 AMEX TRAVEL MONEY Charge: £166.92 Base points: 166 Bonus points: 0 Total points: 166

And on my Amex card statement it just shows:

22 Oct 2012 AMEX TRAVEL MONEY Finance £166.92

…. with no sign of any Cash Advance fee.

So, it does seem that American Express Currency Exchange IS, at least when you order online, treating transactions on Amex-issued American Express cards as purchases and not as cash advances!

This means you can now triple dip when you pre-order currency from Amex at Heathrow:

  • BAA WorldPoints (1 per £10)
  • Avios (1 per £1 ordered)
  • Membership Rewards points or whatever else your Amex-issued Amex offers

You MUST, MUST, MUST pre-order your currency, though. The exchange rate given for ‘on the spot’ purchases is SHOCKING. It is also possible that over-the-counter transactions may be processed differently by Amex.

Further information on Amex Currency Exchange, if you missed the earlier posts, can be found here and here.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • ups says:

    Is the exchange rate when you ordered online comparable to the best rates? I think MSE have a tool to compare, might need to check against it.

    • George the Travel Monkey says:

      It was very competitive when I checked for my last trip. I think you won’t be able to beat this deal unless you’re ordering a significant amount of currency AND can easily get to central London for a specialist foreign exchange bureau.

      Pity it’s only Heathrow.

    • Raffles says:

      If you look at my original article, in the links in todays post, I compare the MSE best rate with the Amex and Travelex prebooked rates on a certain day

      • ups says:

        Thanks – indeed, you did compare it. I might be needing some in a month or so, and will keep this option in mind!

        Don’t think it will be worth getting the double points on Amex Gold for foreign spend (though I might do it for hotel spend)…

  • Mark says:

    Sounds like this could be very useful. I’ve been looking for ways to generate extra spend on my various Amex cards to hit the various targets (BA PP Companion, Platinum card sign up etc). Sterling T/Chq’s may be the way forward for me – cost 1.5%, but with multiple point earing opportunities and the transaction taking me towards spending targets, it seems a good deal.

  • flibbly says:

    I concur with the appalling exchange rates if you don’t pre book. I got some Australian Dollars last month and it was about 10 cents less per pound !

  • trickster says:

    When I collected my currency at LHR last week I was asked if I was collecting Avios or Worldpoints? I gave my BAEC account details for the Avios. However, checking the receipt there are no details of this showing, so I presume I can scan the receipt and send it to Worldpoints to double dip. Assuming the Avios post too of course!

    • Raffles says:

      They were happy to give, and others, both (although nothing posted for me yet). Definitely retro claim from WP.

  • littlefish says:

    Looks like EUR and USD are around 2.5% off mid. Care with other currencies though, I see double that.
    Very useful update Raffles.

    • Raffles says:

      Yup. Using your cashcard in an ATM abroad would (unless you have a fee-free card) lead to a 2.99% charge plus any cash advance fee on top. Amex, worryingly!, may actually be the best deal for Euros and $ as long as you pre-order.

  • Raffles says:

    Very impressive analysis! HSBC, at least a few years ago, were also happy to accept Sterling TC’s being paid directly into my current account.

    • Percy Pig says:

      Just to add one final point to this analysis (just one data point) I just got the plat card and burnt though the £2k spend in under a month. 26 days in fact. The bonus was paid into my MR account immediately, and I transferred it out of MR into avois and closed by amex plat account.

      They refunded me the full £450 because I had the account for less than a month…

      • Trevor says:

        Great to know! Unfortunately I have faced a delivery issue with my card, so I’ll have had it more than a month, but by the time I’ve referred my wife and waited for that to post, it would probably be more than a month anyway. A shame, but you can be sure I’ll be burning through her account in a single day/transaction if this is confirmed to work as planned!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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