BA

Amex closing travelmoneynow – the end of a quick way of hitting your card bonus

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American Express is closing Travel Money Now (travelmoneynow.com), its foreign currency website, on 1st March.  It seems highly likely that the Avios-earning version (travelmoneynow.com/avios) will close on the same date.

On the face of it, this is not a great loss.  A couple of years ago, American Express lost its contract at Heathrow.  This meant that it was left with a grand total of one foreign exchange counter in the whole country, at Birmingham International.  You could, via the website, still order currency for home delivery but that is not exactly a niche with no competition.

However, as Head for Points has pointed out on a regular basis, there IS something unique about Travel Money Now.

As long as you buy your currency using an American Express issued Amex card (eg BA, BA Premium Plus, SPG, Nectar, Gold, Platinum etc), the transaction is treated as a purchase.

Amex at Heathrow T5

This means:

no cash advance fee

you earn Avios, Membership Rewards points, SPG points, Nectar points etc on the transaction

the transaction counts towards your spend if you are looking to trigger a sign-up bonus

The 2nd point made Travel Money Now exceedingly competitive.  When you factored in the value of, say, 1.5 Avios per £1 for charging currency to your BA Premium Plus, it was good value.

The 3rd point was also very useful.  However, Amex does limit its value:

on a credit card, eg the BA Amex, the amount of currency you can buy is restricted to your ‘cash advance limit’ printed on the front of your statement.  This is usually 20% of your credit limit.

if you are new to American Express, it was likely that you would be blocked entirely from any sort of cash transaction, including buying foreign currency from Travel Money Now, for a few months – by which time it would be too late to trigger your sign-up bonus

Travel Money Now was a useful little trick to have in your points-earning arsenal, however, and it is a shame that it is going away.

It is not clear, at this stage, who will replace Amex as BA’s foreign currency partner.  I would imagine that there will finally be one integrated solution covering both pre-ordering and ‘at airport’ purchases.  It is possible, given that there was a short trial last Summer, that Travelex will be back on the scene.

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Comments

  1. This is a shame. I travel a lot for work so order EUR regularly through here. The fact it is classed as a purchase is an added bonus as I get my expenses paid before the bill comes in.

    • For people not on expenses and who don’t need to use Amex, Supercard would work much better, earned about 20000 IHG points plus profit on cash withdrawals.

      • Only when you can get the thing to work. I had so much drama with it on my last trip that I consigned it to the back of my wallet

      • Topp2015 says:

        So provided I am within my cash limit I can order a GBP travelers cheque and deposit into my current account for 1.5%? Barclays appear to accept with no charges at their end… Wish I knew about this before

  2. Was handy for me when I began my ex-EU on a 9.99 Ryanair flight from Birmingham… still when one door closes another usually opens

  3. Metatone says:

    Home delivery doesn’t work well for a lot of people. I never understood why they couldn’t make an arrangement with BA for airport pickup.

  4. This service will be missed, i never used it to hit a target – as the rates were good, i used it as i got a bonus of free amex points…

    Another thing was their customer service, it was great – I wanted a large number of 1 dollar bills for a bribes when i was travelling to central asia… got 100X$1 notes without a problem…

  5. Will I miss travelmoneynow purely as a place to buy currency? No. Despite earning avios/MR points, currency was v expensive vs use of Halifax Clarity.

    But will I miss travelmoneynow as an option to buying currency / sterling TCs to meet spend targets? Definitely!

  6. JamesWag says:

    To me this will be a painful loss.
    Was so easy to hit spend targets in the run up to a deadline by getting cash for your next couple of holidays.

  7. Might yet some Aussie dollars while the rate is reasonable, BAPP spend target to hit, thank you – that’ll do nicely…

  8. Maths never stacked up for me except at bonus avios time. Poor conversion rates. Other times, an expensive way to buy points or possibly useful MS when all else has failed.

    • The non BA rates nearly match those of Travelex..

      Amex BA $1.9673 AUD
      Amex $1.9805 AUD
      Travelex. $1.9806 AUD

      Can you get me ” $2 to the pound ” (famous Barmy Army Cricket song)?

      • Quick comparison, getting £750 worth of Aussie dollars..

        Going the BA Amex route the difference is $10 AUD ~ £5 less than Standard Amex/Traveled

        So £5 for extra 750 Avios, not horrendous value..

        • Horrible for me, though – Amex doesn’t get close to the likes of HIFX bank transfer to account abroad. So we’re not comparing the same thing.

          HIFX – AUD 1.9639

          • Actually that’s a rubbish rate lol – not my currency though

          • I haven’t received less than 2 to 1 for ages now… having a bank account in Hong Kong helps but Transferwise is pretty good too

      • Halifax Clarity rate 2.044. Making a total of £29 for 750 avios.

        Awful rate and only really good for those scamming their expense accounts or those far away from a lucrative spend target (though buying gift vouchers will still be better for most).

  9. I’ve been using Travelmoneynow for the last 12 months to hit my minimum spend! I managed to fulfil two Amex gold cards and two platinum cards giving me 114,000 avios just for using this awesome service! Not to mention my wife who got all the referral bonuses but the best thing about this service was the lack of fees. Being able to essentially get cash and points was a dream. It’s a sad day today.

    • Bit of a silly question, have to hit some spend on the SPG Amex by end of Feb. Any ideas?

      Can I buy some Amex travellers cheques in sterling and deposit in my bank ( Santander)?

      Do most uk banks accept deposits for Amex travellers cheques?

      • Some do. HSBC does not. Check first.

        • Just called Santander, bloke at the end of the phone advised £10 processing charge per cheque?!? Is that right?

          • Guesswho2000 says:

            That sounds terrible! I paid some sterling TCs into NatWest back in December, no charges from either side, cleared like a normal cheque (5 day cycle).

            If you’ve got other current accounts, I’d have a ring around and see if they can do better, or try calling Santander and speaking to someone else (he may have been mistaken).

          • That’s terrible. I enquired in branch at Santander on Cheapside, London recently and was told they took them for no fee. I’d try just taking it into branch and see what they say. Other banks do take them (Halifax for instance) but RBS group (includes Natwest) is on the Amex official list of places that accept travellers chequers (see http://www.aetclocator.com/TCLocator/maps.do?scountry=GB&scity=London). Post office takes them too but for a further 1.5% I believe.

          • Thanks for the advice…! Will try Halifax and give another go with Santander. What would be a safe amount to bank at one go without much hassle? Oh btw I need to put through £1200 worth spend in total 🙂

          • Not sure there is a limit in terms of what you can bank but bear in mind that there’s a ‘cash’ limit of 20% a month of your credit limit with Amex. I’d do £1,200 in 2 tranches over 2 days

    • Just trying to do the same,buying £1200 sterling cheques, cost comes up £1218. I suppose £18 is the service charge?
      Can yo deposit in most uk banks ? Sorry am a novice in this hobby

      • Yes you can, but don’t deposit them all at once.

        Matt, that’s useful to know, as we get all our currency home delivered and get our MRs. Do they have a minimum purchase amount for fee free delivery?

        Agree their customer service was brilliant too.

    • So you’ve spent at least £8,000 though them? At today’s Euro rates you’d have effectively paid a fee of £300 on that.

      Still good value for 100k avios (assuming you were going to pay the Amex membership fee anyway – if not it’s poor), but not at all fee-free.

    • Which bank did you get those in to?

    • What bank did you use and were there any charges ?

  10. Moneycorp take amex and up until recently there was no extra commission. It’s always been treated as a purchase on my statement and unlike travel money now I’ve never had issues with maximum express cash limits so orders are more successful, plus the rates are better than Amex

  11. TGLoyalty says:

    Understand the use these for spend targets but surely if you are going on holiday and want to spend then you’re far better off with a Lloyds Avios card (1.25 Avios per £1 or double in first 6 months) or the Halifax Clarity Card (if you have the reward current account you can apply for the Reward version Spend £300 get £5 back – which i still have even though I closed my current account years ago)

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