If you need to boost your American Express spend to hit a sign-up bonus, one way to push yourself nearer to the target is to buy some Sterling travellers cheques from American Express Currency Exchange.
As I have written numerous times on Head for Points, American Express treats an order of foreign currency or travellers cheques as a PURCHASE and not as a cash withdrawal.
This ONLY applies if you make your transaction via their own travelmoneynow website and ONLY if you use an Amex-issued American Express card. Lloyds Amex and MBNA Amex cards do not qualify.
There are three advantages of doing this:
You don’t pay a cash advance fee when buying foreign currency or travellers cheques (although there is a 1.5% fee for £ travellers cheques)
You earn Membership Rewards points, Avios, SPG points or Nectar points via your Amex card
You get nearer to the sign-up bonus on your American Express card
You used to be able to pay Sterling travellers cheques into UK bank accounts without any problems. In the last couple of years it has got harder with some banks withdrawing totally. HSBC is now following suit.
From June 27th, you will not be allowed to pay £ travellers cheques into your HSBC bank account. This means, of course, that for the next 10 days you can do it without any problems.
Amex is aware that using a credit or charge card to order currency is an easy fraud route. It imposes arbitrary limits on how much – if any – currency and travellers cheques it will let you buy.
That said, if you are £500 short of hitting the sign-up bonus on your new Amex card, paying the £7.50 fee to order £500 of Sterling travellers cheques – and immediately paying them into your bank account – is a decent deal. Be very careful before doing this that your bank will still accept them. If you have a HSBC account you may just be able to squeeze in an order in time.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review