Back in November, American Express was offering 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points to anyone who signed up for its foreign currency transfer service and made one payment.
Two new versions of this promotion have now been launched:
This link is for Platinum cardholders and offers 2,500 Membership Rewards points
This link is for Gold and Green cardholders and offers 1,000 Membership Rewards points
Unfortunately, this promotion is nowhere near as lucrative as the one last year. Amex is now insisting on a minimum £1,000 transaction for Platinum and £500 for Gold / Green. Last year it was only £100.
However – for American Express Platinum cardholders – 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 an OK 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 3,500 Membership Rewards points. (You get the 2,500 bonus points plus 1,000 base points for moving £1,000.)
To be honest, the Gold and Green deal is not worth it. The £10 fee wipes out the value of the 1,500 points before considering the foreign exchange spread. (You would earn 1,000 bonus points plus 500 base points for moving the minimum £500.)
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. It is not clear if the transaction, on a credit card, counts as a purchase or cash advance.
You don’t even need to send money abroad!
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.
Last time this promotion ran, I did a £105 payment in Euro to my bmi credit card account, which MBNA automatically converted into Sterling. I received the 5,000 bonus points without any trouble. Amex clearly treated it as a foreign payment even though it was going to a UK bank account.