Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get 5,000 Membership Rewards points (= 5,000 Avios) for a £100 American Express FX transfer

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American Express has launched an interesting promotion to promote its foreign currency transfer service.

Full details can be found here (deleted as now dead).

In summary, Amex is offering 5,000 Membership Rewards points to Platinum or Gold card holders who sign up for their foreign currency transfer service and make a £100 transfer before the end of 2012.

5,000 Membership Rewards points are good for 5,000 Avios or points in 15 other programmes.  See here for my guide to spending Membership Rewards points.

If you have an overseas bank account (or have a friend or family member who is willing to accept a payment from you) then this is a good deal.  There is a £10 fee and you will take a small foreign currency loss to cover Amex’s spread, but this is still a good deal for 5,000 Membership Rewards points.

(If you have a Starwood Amex, you can still register and receive 5,000 SPG points instead.  The same goes for some other Amex cards as well, but not the BA ones – see the small print in the link above.)

You will need your passport or driving licence plus your Amex card number to register.  Ironically, you cannot fund your transfer from your Amex card.  You need to use a debit or Visa / MasterCard credit card, or do a bank transfer to Amex.

I am trying a little experiment which, if it works, you can try later.

MBNA credit cards (bmi, American Airlines, United etc) accept payment by IBAN – ie, by a payment to their International Bank Account Number.  If you search the FAQ on the MBNA credit card site it will give you the account details.

I have done a £105 payment in Euro to my bmi credit card account, which MBNA will automatically convert into Sterling.

Now, does this count as a foreign payment?  It is, after all, going to a UK bank account.  However, the payment is in Euro and went to an IBAN, not a standard account number.

We will see.  Hopefully the 5,000 MR points will post before 31st December, which would give you the chance to try it as well before the offer closes.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (14)

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

  • uk1 says:

    I wonder whether you can make qualifying payments into a paypal account?

    • Raffles says:

      I had a look at the Paypal website. They give a standard UK bank account into which you can make payments, so if you could get the IBAN number for that account then you’d be OK – but its not online and the idea of getting that data from the call centre does not fill me with enthusiasm.

  • Morland says:

    Thanks very much for this spot Raffles – I have a bill to pay in France I was not looking forward to paying and 5k points eases the pain (just a little, but it helps). Also does Amex’s job as I didn’t know that they provided this service and I’ll use them in the future (earning more points…)

  • James ardron says:

    If you used a Gold Card with the double points in first year, would this qualify as forigen spend as paying a non UK bank account.

    • Roger says:

      If you mean by using the gold card for payment, the answer is No because it can’t be used for payment.

      If you are asking whether the 5,000 bonus MRs become 10,000, I highly doubt it but it’s too soon to know as the bonuses don’t seem to have been awarded yet.

  • Jibe says:

    Thanks for the response. It was inrelation to the potential doubling of the points

  • Kim says:

    Hi Raffles, when you’re using the MBNA’s credit card to transfer fund into Amex, are they charging you for the transaction?

    • Raffles says:

      There is a post on this tomorrow. Basically, the Co-Op Bank (who banks MBNA and is where your money goes) has charged me £2.85 on a £105 transaction (ie 2.75%) to convert the £105 of Euros back to Sterling. Amex charged me £10. Total costs therefore £12.85. Good deal if I get the 5k, bad deal if I don’t because technically I sent it to a UK bank! I should be OK, though. No difference to Amex whether the Euros ended up in the UK or France.

      • Kim says:

        Thank Q … appreciate that.

      • Roger says:

        MBNA are charging 2.75%. For once, AmEx themselves seem to be undercutting the competition.

        Based on the limited experience of my single example, AmEx charged 1.75% F/X commission to send some Swiss franccs to a Swiss account.

        • Raffles says:

          It was the Co-Op who charged the 2.75%. MBNA has a Sterling bank account so it was the Co-Op that did the conversion so that the money could be deposited in their account.

  • whitenoise says:

    I guess if you don’t have a foreign bank account this won’t work. Since even with the IBAN number it still wants to know the destination country, and United Kingdom isn’t listed. That is of course unless I’m missing something?

    • Raffles says:

      Yes, you’re missing something. When you actually try to do a transfer, the UK IS listed. That list when you sign up is simply a ‘favourites’ list and has no impact on what you can really do.

      As you can see from my example, I was successful in sending £105 (in Euros) to a UK bank account, in this case the UK bank account of MBNA credit cards.

  • Trevor says:

    While a good idea and experiment (if you have no foreign account to send money to) to send money to your own credit card, why not take this one step further and just send money to your own bank account via the IBAN?

    I don’t normally need to perform international transfers and would also send to my MBNA card if your experiment does post the points, but as it turns out I do need to perform a transfer to SA (of a little less than £100, but I can recoup this later). So for the benefit of those without MBNA cards, I can report that the costs are almost the same to transfer money elsewhere (infact possibly less since the GBP:ZAR spread is probably worse than top currencies). The static charge of £10 is of course the same, but to change £100 to Rands is £2.66 worse than the best pick-up pre-order rate available (according to MSE), so total cost of £12.66 for 5,000 MR is very comparible to Raffles’ experiment.

    About to sign up, thanks for the tip 🙂

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