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.