Earning Avios when buying foreign currency has become increasingly difficult recently when flying from Heathrow Terminal 5. To summarise what happened:
American Express Currency Exchange opened a number of outlets in Terminal 5
British Airways switched from Travelex to Amex Currency Exchange as its Avios partner for foreign exchange
Amex Currency Exchange closed its outlets at Heathrow, which became Moneycorp branches
The situation for earning Avios is therefore:
Currency pre-ordering – you can ONLY earn Avios on pre-ordered currency via Amex Currency Exchange. Unfortunately, Amex Currency Exchange no longer has any outlets in Terminal 5 for collection. All you can do is pre-order for delivery to your home.
On-the-spot purchase – you can ONLY earn Avios from on-the-spot purchases via Moneycorp. You are not allowed to pre-order currency and earn Avios! Because of the truly shocking exchange rates for walk-up purchases at Moneycorp, I cannot recommend this route.
Until the end of February, though, there is a compromise!
If you pre-order £400 of more of foreign currency via Moneycorp you will earn 500 bonus Heathrow Rewards points. These will convert to 500 Avios (or Miles & More miles, or Virgin Flying Club miles).
Because you will be pre-ordering, you will get a substantially better rate than being a walk-up customer.
Here is the small print:
500 extra points for any in-bureau foreign currency purchase over £400 or through online reserve at www.moneycorp.com/reserve. Online reserve purchases must be collected at any Moneycorp branch at Heathrow from 4 to 28 February 2014 inclusive. In-bureau purchases are over-the-counter transactions completed at any Moneycorp bureau de change branch at Heathrow from 4 to 28 February 2014 inclusive. Valid Heathrow Rewards membership number must be provided upon collection for online reserve transactions or presented at the point of sale for in-bureau purchases for points to be awarded. The offer does not apply to Sterling Travellers Cheques. There is no cash or alternative extra points offered. This promotion is not available in conjunction with any other Moneycorp Currency Exchange offers or promotions.
You should, of course, double check the Moneycorp pre-ordering rate with the Travelex rate. Remember, though, that Travelex is only available landside at Terminal 5 so you need to remember to pick up your money before going through security.