American Express has launched an interesting promotion to promote its foreign currency transfer service.
Full details can be found here (deleted as now dead).
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.