Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

1,000 bonus Avios when you convert £300 at Amex Currency Exchange or Moneycorp

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Some people received this offer by email yesterday.  However, it is NOT targetted and is described on the Amex Currency Exchange website, and so must be open to all.  It is not a bad deal and certainly worth a look if you need foreign currency.

Back in the Autumn, in this post, I explained how American Express Currency Exchange had taken over from Travelex as BA’s preferred partner (and thus Avios-awarding partner!).

Amex at Heathrow T5

A few weeks later, I showed the results of my experiment to show that American Express treat ACE transactions as a purchase.  This means that:

a) you don’t pay a cash advance fee on your BA, SPG, Nectar, Gold, Platinum or Green Amex card, and

b) you earn the relevant reward for your spending

This meant that if you ordered your currency to collect at Heathrow via the link on the BA website, you could triple-dip:

a) Avios for the transaction due to their BA partner status, at 1 Avios per £1 exchanged

b) Avios or Membership Rewards points from your Amex card

c) BAA WorldPoints, at the rate of 1 per £10 exchanged

The new offer is simply icing on a very generous cake!

You can find full details here.

Here are the summary points of the deal:

  • You earn 1,000 Avios if you exchange £300 at American Express Currency Exchange between 28th January and 31st March
  • It doesn’t matter if you pre-order online or just turn up at an ACE counter (although you would be a total idiot not to pre-book, given how poor the on-the-spot rates are)
  • If you pre-order, it must be via the BA link and not the general www.travelmoneynow.com link
  • You do not get the bonus if you earned Avios from ACE between 1 September 2012 and 27 January 2013 (so, for me, I will have to put a transaction through my wife’s BA account)
  • You can also get the deal at branches of Moneycorp
  • Avios are awarded after 40 days (and not before – I have experience of this) because of the 31 day buy-back guarantee on orders.  Refusing the buy-back guarantee does not speed up the 40 days!
  • Sterling Travellers Cheques do not earn Avios and are therefore not valid for this promotion

The Moneycorp note is important, because ACE does not have an outlet at Gatwick.  However, Moneycorp does – they are also at Southampton, Stansted and Southend.  (Important note – we do not know if transactions at Moneycorp incur a cash advance fee.  Be very careful if using an Amex card to pay here.)

Amex Currency Exchange can be found at:

  • Heathrow Airport Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5
  • Edinburgh Airport
  • Birmingham Airport

But are the rates any good?

I noted back in September that the ACE rates as long as you pre-ordered were surprisingly competitive with the best deals in the market.  However, there has now been a subtle change – whilst the ACE rates via their own website www.travelmoneynow.com are competitive, the rates via the BA portal are now slightly worse.  (This was also the case during when Travelex was BA’s partner.)  For example, the £ / Euro rate is currently €1.133 via the BA portal and via €1.141 via www.travelmoneynow.com.

True, it is not a major difference – €3.80 when changing £500 – but there is a difference nonetheless.  Those Avios don’t come free ….

For clarity – if you order via www.travelmoneynow.com then you WILL earn Avios / MR points via your Amex card and you will earn WorldPoints if you collect at Heathrow.  However, to get the additional 1 Avios per £1 on your transaction and the 1,000 bonus Avios, you need to go via the BA portal and thus get the slightly worse exchange rate.  For order under £1,500, though, you should still come out ahead (factoring in the value of the Avios) going via the BA portal.

You should also note that, in my experience, you will end up chasing the BAA WorldPoints – they should post within 48 hours, and if they don’t then you should email WorldPoints with a scan of your receipt and they will add them on promptly.

(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.)

Comments (53)

  • vindaloo says:

    I’m off to Canada on Friday. I have a Metrobank card that I normally use abroad (no FX fee) but for once it looks like this promotion might be a better deal. A quick check has the exchange rate through the BA portal about 4% worse than the xe.com rate. If I buy £300 worth on the BA Amex I’ll get:

    300 Avios at the base rate of 1 per £1
    1,000 Avios bonus through the promotion
    450 Avios from the credit card spend
    45 Avios via Worldpoints (if the exchange rate is 1.5)

    Total: 1,795 Avios for £300.

    I value the Avios at 1p each, so for me that’s equivalent to about a 6% rebate, i.e. well over the 4% I’m losing on the exchange rate.

    Any chance that paying on the Amex Gold might earn the travel bonus too?

  • MBX says:

    Is it likely that the SPG Amex won’t attract cash advance fees on this?

    • Raffles says:

      Correct. All Amex-issued Amex cards seem to be fee-free for now

      • MBX says:

        I went ahead and ordered using my SPG, currently showing as a ‘Finance’ transaction – picking the money up on 14 Feb but will advise if it attracts a fee.

        • MBX says:

          The transaction has moved from pending and no cash advance fee using SPG card- looks like it worked!

  • Does it make a difference selecting Home Delivery for the money?

    • Raffles says:

      Don’t think so, as long as you order via the BA page

      • Trevor says:

        But I’ve done a dummy run (i.e. all the way to insert payment details, but not actually paying) and nowhere on the site does it ask for your BAEC or Avios number. Then the only way that BAEC or Avios get your card number is at the airport, so with home delivery…

        no number = no points + no bonus!

        Did I miss something? If not, you gonna have to go the airport, and it would surely make no difference booking on the …/ba or …/avios site, or indeed the base site with better rates. If so, where do they get your number?

        • Simon says:

          Yes I think you must have done, the box is on the “Your Details” tab underneath where you enter your Date of Birth.

          • Trevor says:

            Simon, you are too right! Thanks for the explicit directions, and I really don’t know how I missed this before. Done a few more dummy runs now (or is it me that is the dummy…) and yup, it asks for your number under BAEC or Avios websites and works for forex or Stirling TC’s – great 🙂

  • Richard says:

    I think they add a 5 pound delivery charges…?

    • Trevor says:

      Unless over £500 ordered.

      • by188b says:

        Picked my euros up today from Terminal 5. Upon presenting my worldpoints card and BA exec card he would only let me use one of them.

        • Raffles says:

          I saw this on Flyertalk. As it was Gatwick it would have been Moneycorp.

          But did you use travelmoneynow.com to book or the link on the BA website? Technically you don’t get Avios via travelmoneynow.com which is why the rate is a bit better.

        • kevino says:

          In similar situations, always give your BA card, then email your receipt to BAA for late claimed worldpoints

        • Roger says:

          Our BAEC numbers were already in our online orders so Mrs Roger and I showed our BAA cards on collection at LHR T5. The lady said she couldn’t swipe them as she didn’t have a machine(!) so she took a note of our numbers and will credit later. We’ll see.