Whilst it isn’t promoted much these days, Avios has a partnership with online bank Monese.
It’s actually more than a partnership. Avios joined a £60m funding round for Monese in December 2018, and as a shareholder in the business it is made it easy to integrate some basic Avios functionality into the Monese app.
Until the end of May, Monese is offering you a £20 incentive to open a free account and spend £500. There is a £4.95 delivery fee to order a plastic card, which is a compulsory part of the offer, but you are still at least £15 up on the deal.
The key benefit for most of you will be the ability to spend £2,000 per month in foreign currency with no foreign exchange fees.
What is Monese?
Monese, founded in 2013, aims to simplify the process of getting a bank account in Europe. It’s a ‘mobile app only’ bank that gives users a £, a € and – if you want it – a Romanian leu account.
Accounts can be opened within two minutes with a photo ID and a video selfie. (This does work, even a luddite like myself managed to set up an account without leaving my desk.)
The company launched its banking product in 2015 and currently has over 2,000,000 users globally, supporting 14 languages
Note that, whilst I use the word ‘bank’ in this article, Monese is legally an ‘electronic money institution’. You can do the same things that you would do with a traditional bank account or banking app, such as:
- make and receive payments
- set up direct debits and recurring payments for bills
- make and receive transfers locally and internationally
- track your savings
- use a physical contactless card or virtual card online, in-store or at ATMs
You can top up your Monese card via a bank transfer from your linked current account or with cash at a Post Office or PayPoint outlet.
How does Monese work?
You can download the Monese app here if you are reading this via mobile.
In summary, there are three different plans to choose from.
- Simple – FREE
- Classic – £5.95 / month
- Premium – £14.95 / month
Click to enlarge the image below which outlines the benefits of each plan:
What does the free plan offer?
The free ‘Simple’ plan, to be honest, seems to offer everything you need to try out Monese. There isn’t much incentive to pay for a premium tier until you have a better view of how the company works for you.
- There is no charge for foreign currency spending – your first £2,000 per month is free
- You can make Sterling or foreign currency transfers between Monese members for free – FX transfers to non-Monese accounts have a 2% fee, minimum £2
- There is no charge for ATM withdrawals up to £200 per month – withdrawals overseas have no foreign exchange fees added
How does the Avios partnership work?
Monese users can link their Avios account to their Monese account and track their Avios earning in the same app as their banking balance.
It looks like this:
There is also PayPal integration, allowing you to view your latest PayPal transactions in the same way.
How do I get the £20 sign-up bonus?
Monese is offering a £20 sign-up bonus to people who sign-up via certain websites, including Head for Points.
There is a £4.95 fee to receive a physical plastic debit card, so your net gain is £15.05.
To get the £20 bonus, you must complete the following three steps:
- Use this link to download the Monese app to your phone
- Add code HEADFORPS21 on the initial page when opening your account
- Request a physical plastic card (you will be charged £4.95)
- You will receive a £5 credit when you make your first card transaction (ATM withdrawals excluded)
- You will receive a £15 credit after spending £500 on your card
Note: when you enter the HEADFORPS21 code, you won’t get a message confirming the details of the £20 offer, which is annoying.
However, you will see that the code has been accepted because you won’t get an error or ‘invalid code’ message. You need to trust us that the offer works.
Is it worth getting a free Monese account?
Whilst being able to track your Avios balance from within the Monese app is a cool function, Monese still lacks any ‘killer’ Avios functionality which would make it a ‘must have’ for HfP readers.
It is getting there, however, and if you are looking to try an ‘online only’ bank then Monese may be more relevant to you than Monzo, Revolut etc. There is no need to close your existing High Street account – you can simply transfer money to and from your Monese account as you need it.
Remember that you can spend £2,000 per month abroad without FX fees.
You can also withdraw £200 per month from cash machines for free with no FX fees or FX mark-ups outside the UK.
Monese is a good card to take on holiday this Summer if you don’t have a dedicated ‘0% FX fees’ credit card. You can easily top up your Monese account before you fly and then transfer any remaining balance to your main current account on your return.
If you are reading this on a mobile device, you can get the Monese app by clicking here. Remember that signing up to the ‘Simple’ account is FREE and you can do it in a couple of minutes with a video selfie and a scan of some photo ID.
Don’t forget to add invite code HEADFORPS21 to qualify for the £20 incentive. The offer is currently scheduled to run until the end of May.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(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.)