Bonus Avios Part 1 – Amex Currency Exchange and Moneycorp

British Airways Executive Club has launched a raft of bonus Avios deals as the build up to the main holiday season approaches.  I will explore them over two posts today.

This is what is on offer for anyone looking for foreign currency:

Amex at Heathrow T5

American Express Currency Exchange

When you order foreign currency via the Amex Currency Exchange website  you will receive 500 bonus Avios when you exchange over £400.  This is in addition to the standard 1 Avios per £1.

Remember that Amex no longer has any foreign exchange booths at Heathrow so this will only work for home delivery.  The only airport offering collection is Birmingham International.

If you charge your purchase to an Amex-issued Amex card (BA, SPG, Nectar, Gold, Green, Platinum etc) it will be treated as a purchase.  This means that you will receive points for the credit card spend and it will count towards any Amex sign-up bonus.

(Please do NOT ring Amex to check that the above statement is correct!  They will tell you I am wrong.  I am not!)

Remember that Amex offers a poorer exchange rate via the Avios website above than it does at its main website here so make sure that the Avios are worth the extra cost.  These are NOT free Avios.

The ‘500 bonus Avios’ promotion runs until 11th July.



The Amex locations at Heathrow were taken over by Moneycorp.

They are running an identical promotion – 500 bonus Avios if you convert over £400 into foreign currency.  This is in addition to the standard rate of 1 Avios per £1 exchanged.  The closing date is 11th July.

There isn’t much about Moneycorp on ba.com – all they have to say is here and it does not mention this promotion.

You should NOT take advantage of this offer though.

Moneycorp only allows you to collect Avios on ‘walk up’ purchases, as Amex has retained the exclusive rights to offer Avios on pre-ordered currency.

You should never, ever buy currency at Heathrow as a walk-up purchase if you are spending your own money.  The rates are so poor it beggars belief.  The Travelex as you come through Terminal 5 passport control seems especially poor, with a ludicrously huge spread of around 20% IIRC.  I pity anyone who effectively pays Travelex £50 for changing £500 of $ or Euro into Sterling.

The only reason to take part in this promotion is if you are getting repaid by your employer – and even then, only do it if your employer reimburses you for foreign spending at the exchange rate you paid rather than the market rate.

I wrote about the Moneycorp / Avios deal in this post last year if you want to know more.

(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.)

No Tesco / Avios bonus, no Tesco / Virgin bonus ....
Bonus Avios Part 2 - Heathrow Rewards, valet parking, Holiday Extras, Gate 365
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  1. Just to confirm

    “Please do NOT ring Amex to check that the above statement is correct! They will tell you I am wrong. I am not!)”

    Raffles is right!

    • Agree. Raffles is right. (normally a good place to start on any avios related matter I find!)

  2. Thanks for this, I ordered £500 worth of currency at the start of the month so I should just qualify for this promotion as it runs from May 1st.

    As Paul said Raffles is right, my £500 worth of currency was treated as a purchase,

  3. Thomas says:

    I find using Virgin’s foreign exchange and Amex very good too.
    Good rates, free home delivery, MR points on Amex and often 2 or even times the worth in Flying Club points too ( but 1:1 always at the very least.

  4. Mat S says:

    If in doubt just ask Raffles!

  5. Simon says:

    You get $5.50 less on exhanging £500 into USD using the BA link……$5.50 for 1000 Avios is a good deal for me!

  6. Redwood says:

    You’ve just answered the questions I had for Amex, Raffles. I need to get some euros and wanted to charge it to my Amex gold so it can count towards my sign-up bonus. Thanks for the help!

  7. louie-m says:

    Guess who bought her holiday money on 28 April!

  8. Not wishing to nitpick but I am unsure about the advice to only use a walk up exchange rate if it is someone else’s money (your employer) and not your own. The spread they charge borders on criminal and I for one hope that my employees spend my money as carefully as I do!

    • My wife buys currency as a walk-up. It is up to her employer to instruct the PA’s to start pre-ordering currency for travellers.

      However, I have never got to the bottom of how they reimburse her. I get a nasty feeling she is repaid at spot and therefore losing 10% of her own money on every foreign transaction she makes in cash. I did ask her this recently but she didn’t know (!).

  9. Linda says:

    I ended up exchanging currency with Thomas Exchange, it had a much higher exchange rate. It would have be inclined to use American Express Exchange, if only it was still at Terminal 5. Still makes no sense they closed that at T5.

  10. Emily says:

    Sorry if this is a silly question… when you say Amex treat it like a purchase and issue points that’s great, but does that also mean that they don’t treat it like a cash advance and ie there is not interest. I always thought that you shouldn’t use a credit card for foreign exchange but maybe I’ve missed something?

    • Yes. Normal purchase.

      This ONLY works on the Amex travelmoneynow site and ONLY with Amex-issued Amex cards.

      Try it on any other site or with any other card and it will be treated as a cash advance, incur fees, incur interest and not earn miles.

  11. Zander Buchan says:

    I had a problem with this deal when trying to buy with my BA Amex card, in as much, that the transaction exceeded my daily cash limit at Amex. Which unfortunately is less than the threshold for free home delivery. Bit of a catch 22!
    Nevertheless, this is still a good deal and I have used it twice now, paying by debit card.

    • Lissa Herron says:

      You just have to ask BA to raise your daily cash limit, which they do right away over the phone very easily. I did this back in January.

  12. Just wanted to check if I understand this deal correctly – if I buy £500 of USD dollars with an Amex Gold card I should get 500 bonus Avios, 500 standard Avios (1 Avios per £1) and 500 Amex MR points i.e. 1500 Avios in total?

  13. Andrew S says:

    This may be dumb question, but does foreign currency extend to sterling travellers cheques?

    • Andrew S says:

      No, called out in the terms and conditions…

    • No

      Although you can buy £ travellers cheques via travelmoneynow and pay them into your bank – it is treated as a purchase. It won’t earn you any Avios from travelmoneynow however for the purpose of this bonus.

  14. Peter says:

    Is this a once only deal, or could I do it twice? as an upcoming self catering holiday I could easliy use £1000 in the holiday? Could I do two seperate transactions?

  15. Charlie says:

    Yes – I’m thinking along the same lines as Peter here.
    Also, subject to the maximum cash advance threshold, is there anything theoretically preventing me from making multiple FEX transactions with my newly acquired BA black Amex in order to trigger avios bonuses and the 241 voucher at the £10k spend threshold?

    • Yes. Your Amex statement will show something called an ‘Available Cash Limit’. This is max you can take as cash or cash equivalents. Even though FX transactions are treated as a purchase, they are treated as cash for purposes of hitting this limit.

      Amex is also VERY wary of fraud will look very suspiciously at a new cardholder who starts buying lots of currency. You may even find that your card is not able to buy currency if this is your first Amex card – some people have reported being blocked.

      If you wanted to take it easy and buy, say, £500 worth per month for a year and hit 60% of your £10k target that way then you would get away with it. Try to do £10k in a month and you have no chance.

      • Charlie says:

        Thanks. Yes I had in mind something along the lines of what you’ve suggested – a reasonable (but not excessive) amount of foreign currency that I could either use or exchange back into £ and pay back into my bank account or purchase £ travellers cheques and do the same thing (although I appreciate these wouldn’t trigger the 500 bonus avios that your post is highlighting). I’m well aware of the anti corruption and fraudulent flags that may trigger if I went FEX transaction mad in a short space of time. I have just completed 12 months with a gold charge card, triggering all the relevant bonuses and my account has always been in good standing, although I’ve never activated the cash advance facility on my Amex(es) before. I guess that would be a good place to start…

  16. James W says:

    My available cash limit shows £1,650 but I can’t get £500 worth of currency from the site.
    Called Amex and they told me there was nothing they could do about it but I should just try with lower amounts until it lets me order it for delivery & they credited my account £10 to cover two lots of delivery charge.
    I took the £10 and went elsewhere. Nobs ~!

    Weird thing is I could order £500 worth a month ago (first time I’ve used the service). They must have blacklisted me or something.

  17. I took advantage of this offer, I can only see the avios for the transaction (well over £400, used my BA amex) but no bonus avios.

    Anyone else notice this?

    • The rules for the Amex promo say:

      “The 500 bonus Avios will be awarded in a separate transaction to the standard Avios points and will show in the members account within 40 calendar days of the standard Avios award.”

  18. John Tickner says:

    Is there a way of getting delivery to place of work rather than home address ?

    I can’t be there to sign for the postman.

    • Don’t think so, for obvious fraud reasons, unless you re-register your credit card at your work address (which may not be possible anyway).

  19. pazza2000 says:

    Just purchased £500 of currency via the Amex Currency Exchange Website, no mention anywhere of the 500 bonus Avios although I was able to provide my EC# so I assume all will be well?

    • If the promo is still running then I’m sure you will, but keep the confirmation email just in case – and possibly a screenshot of the promo page on the Amex site.

  20. Doug Soper says:

    Thank you for your help and advice. Bought some currency a week ago. Nothing showing yet. How long would you expect before base avios show in my BAEC account.

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