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1,000 bonus Avios with Amex Currency Exchange this Christmas

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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.

Amex Currency Exchange

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

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.

how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.

You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Here are your other options. There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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

Comments (52)

  • Simmo says:

    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.

    • harry says:

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

      • Simmo says:

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

        • harry says:

          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 !

  • Callum says:

    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?

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • harry says:

    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.

    • harry says:

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

  • Ali says:

    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?

  • elt says:

    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!

    • Charlie says:

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

    • Rob says:

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

  • Adam says:

    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

    • Rob says:

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

      • Genghis says:

        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.

  • Gavin says:

    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

  • aj1788 says:

    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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