1,000 bonus Avios with Amex Currency Exchange this Christmas

With the Christmas travel period approaching, American Express Foreign Exchange Services is running a special bonus.

When you order foreign currency via the Amex Currency Exchange website you will receive 1,000 bonus Avios when you exchange over £600.  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.

There is an extra perk with using Amex for your foreign currency:

Amex Currency Exchange

If you charge your purchase to an Amex-issued American Express 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.

(Every time I write about this, someone rings Amex because this is the opposite of what Amex states in their rules and they do not believe me.  Amex tells the caller that I am wrong.  I am not!)

You can only pay with your Amex card if it is set up to undertake cash transactions, eg cash withdrawals.  If your card is new then, for security reasons, American Express may not yet have activated this function on your card.  You are also limited to the amount shown on your statement as “Available cash limit” which is usually 20% of your credit limit.

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

The ‘1000 bonus Avios’ promotion runs until 18th December.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. James67 says:

    So this is a minimum 2200 avios (1000 bonus + 600 for currency + 600 for credit card) for a £600 exchange? Just curious as I do not recall getting avios for my first exchange, i probably used their regular site which is probably different from their ba site.

    • Phillip says:

      No, you only get 600 for the credit card. You don’t get points for the exchange itself. So in this case, you get 1600 for £600 of currency.

      • What makes you think one wouldn’t get points for the exchange? The website states ‘Collect 1 Avios for every £1 you exchange’.

        • As you could pay with a Visa/MC and still get bonus 1000 Avios + 1 Avios per £, it stands to reason the Amex card MR points on the spend will be on top

    • ‘Different’ = cheaper, of course!

  2. Compare what you get vs other providers

  3. EUR rate still pretty good. You’ll maybe pay 50p per £100 extra, so on a £600 txn that’s £3 for 2200 Avios. Suspect most people would be buyers there…

    • And remember that as a purchase, you’re going to get an interest free loan on the money for 4-7 weeks, as well.

      • Sorry – make that £1.50 per £100, so £9 for 2200 Avios, but you still have that free loan to benefit from as well.

  4. Phillip says:

    I have used this a number of times and I can vouch for what Rob is saying – it is treated as a purchase!

  5. This looks like a good offer for me, as I have a couple of welcome bonuses to clear off, and I need $1500 to pay the balance on a holiday in March. So lets crunch the numbers.

    Using the Amex Travelmoneynow.com rates versus the best rates on offer at http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/holiday-money/

    Amex: £750 buys $1103.30
    ICE Waterloo £750 buys $1125.00

    So using Amex is costing me $22 or approx £14.67
    My Avios earnings would be 1000 + 750 +750 = 2500

    So I am buying Avios at .58p each. Not stunning but worthwhile.
    However, we ought to allow a slice of the welcome bonus to be counted.
    The Amex Plat bonus is 44,000 for a spend of £2,000 so that means 16500 Avios earned.
    £14.67 to buy 19000 Avios means 0.08p each – a bargain

  6. Is this just for orders completed and collected / delivered by 18th dec or can the order be placed and a rate locked in?

    I don’t fly from BHX until 29th dec, so not sure if I can take advantage. 1000 bonus avios would sure soften the blow of making my Ryanair debut to start my ex-EU

    Delivery option doesn’t work for me as work does not allow ANY personal deliveries

    • at present the ordering process allows you to select as far ahead as the 22 dec.

      • Thanks could be an option, need to suss out properly as on phone on flaky GWR wifi

    • Surprised more firms don’t do this. At my wifes place they have had to set aside a specific room just to store deliveries for staff!

      • Wow that’s pretty good of them! All Amazon deliveries were banned where I worked before (they’d refuse to accept them), along with anything that was clearly personal. As a result I became a big fan of the parcel locker and delivery to local shops options!

        • The_Real_A says:

          Amazon are now offering free delivery to corner shops/petrol stations which i used for the first time last week. Very convenient and it will our warehouse mans wroth.

        • Yep, they also use that same network for returns – fantastic setup!

        • Lady London says:

          I tested it with a nearby sub-post office. It’s open daily till midnight which is useful.

          Sadly the promised Amazon bonus for testing this new service out, did not materialise.

        • Amazon customer service is pretty good. I have gone on Chat for a few problems and they credit you £10 a/c balance at the drop of a hat (if you deserve recompense or something went wrong).

  7. Sussex Bantam says:

    My maths was easy – Amex rate for £600 = 808 Euro. Best rate offered on MSE comparison site 812 Euro. Extra cost 4 Euro for 2200 Avios…

    (I could have got a better rate by using one of the small firms and paying by bank transfer but that seems fraught with risk to me…)

    • ICE Waterloo is offering 825 Euro for £600 – no bank transfers involved.

      • So, 17 EUR (12.53 GBP) for 2200 Avios. Not bad. Obviously every £1 above £600 spend makes it worse

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Only for collection though as far as I can see – for delivery its about the same rate as Amex.

  8. Can you order £600 to collect the 1600 Avios then do it again to collect another 1600 Avios or is it a one time offer does anybody know? Basically looking to spend £1200 on euros ( away in March) to complete my signup bonus 🙂 any ideas welcome

  9. I have about a £600 cash limit on my card for some reason.
    £10K spending, but only £600ish for buying currency. I have to buy £600 worth then pay it off and spend again.

    • Credit £1000 to your card & your limit will increase et £1600 etc

      • Has this been tested to work?!
        If so can’t believe its something I’ve not thought of before! haha

        • Sure, people do it when they buy a high value item such as a car + phone call to warn them what you are doing

        • Sussex bantam says:

          They point blank refused to do it for me so don’t count on it !

  10. If it’s treated as a purchase (which I’m not doubting), why do cash transaction rules apply?

    The only way I can see that working is the transaction being correctly classified as a cash transaction then the system overriding it and changing it to a purchase. Which means someone has specifically programmed that so why would Amex hide it and refuse to accept it’s there? Unless it used to be an advertised perk and they just never changed the system when they withdrew it?

    • Correct, this is how I think it works.

      The bottom line, I think, is that Amex is embarrassed to charge their own cardholders for buying FX from them so it gets overridden. If you ring Amex, to be fair, the call centre people just pull out the card T&Cs which lists ‘FX’ under the long list of transactions which are treated as cash. And, if you buy FX from anyone else, it is treated as cash.

  11. Did the dummy £600 purchases on my currencies (exact match incl transfer) vs HIFX (incl £9 fee) and Amex is £15.18 worse for 1600 Avios.

    So not brilliant for me, if I needed MS, perfectly acceptable.

    • if it’s 2200 Avios, which seems more likely, it would be buying Avios @ 6.9p, not too bad

  12. Cheeky question, but is there any reason why you couldn’t buy Pound Stirling, get all the points etc and then just use that as cash / pay in bank account. The reason I am asking as I have a huge Tax bill to HMRC that I would love to worm through the AMEX BA card and get my free ticket as I want to fly the family to New Zealand next year in business and this would help a massive amount.

    Do you think this will work or must you buy foreign money?

  13. O/T
    but linked to above question.
    Is there any way tax payment can be made with benefit of getting avios ?
    I think there’s a 1.5% charge for using a credit card, which obv I dont want to pay!

    • You could try the Tesco Bank debit card. 1 clubcard point per £8 spent, that should convert into 2.5 avios.

    • No, not worth it given the fee except in exceptional circumstances eg to hit the spend target for the Lloyds card upgrade voucher.

  14. Can anyone who has done this recently confirm it does indeed go through as a purchase, rather than cash advance? Looking to do this today

    • No one has told me it doesn’t and I reckon at least a couple of readers a day must do this ….

      • It tracked as a purchase for me. Ordered just over £600 of EUR on 10 Dec. Base avios points posted today to BAEC but still awaiting the 1,000 bonus. The Ts&Cs do state the bonus will take longer to arrive, however.

  15. Ordered 600 quid of USD on Tuesday. Just checking statement now, shows as a usual purchase (certainly nothing to differentiate as a cash advance)

    Not seen the MR points post yet though

  16. Unfortunately I missed this by 45 mins ! My flight is on Christmas eve and today is 22 December. Orders for next day delivery have to be made by 14:00 the day before. If I place an order now there would be a home delivery for 24 Dec which wont work for me.

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