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.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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  1. 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.

    • 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

      • 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)…

  2. 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.

  3. 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 !

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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…

      • 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!

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