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Old May 23, 07, 10:25 pm   #1
 
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[EXPIRED] Buy Traveler's Checks with AMEX cc

You can buy $1000 of American Express Travelers checks fee free each week with your American Express Card at an AMEX travel center. You can search for an AMEX travel office near you online. You need to have your cash advance limit be $1000, but it is considered a purchase, not a cash advance, although it comes out of this allowance. I had to raise mine to $1000 because I always lower mine because I don't ever plan to do a cash advance. However, for this purpose, I made an exception. You can only use an American Express credit card and each account is allowed to do this. So if you have a starpoints card AND a Hilton card, you could charge $2000 each week. You could buy foreign currency travelers checks as well as US.
Try not to abuse this as they may take it away.
I did this one month before posting this to make sure they actually appeared as a purchase, not as a cash advance, and I got my starpoints credited.
Why has this been a secret?
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Last edited by dgordon; Aug 14, 09 at 6:22 pm.
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Old May 23, 07, 10:38 pm   #2
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Ahhh, the Amex gigs... yes, I might have known.

Yup, this is one of those ones where many people know about it but amex has a way of letting only some of it slide--a bit--for now--sometimes.

A general example in life: I do a thing that technically should not be doable but only once and a while. So they let me do it. Once I do it a lot or regularly, they may be like, okay dude, enough for you. bye bye! And then I'm out. They let me know I've had my fun and they ease me outta there cuz they can.

Similarly, if I do it once and a while and only stay small, but I go and tell everyone I know, then they have the same problem, just many little versions of it! People may adhere to the "let's not abuse it" theory, but that only goes so far. The masses, by nature, abuse things just by existing! Have you ever been to an orderly but crowded outdoor concert? Look at the grass when it's over! WOW that grass is ruined, man!

And then, there ARE the people who go big on this sort of thing and that really makes them mad. (grass turns to mud and people get stomped on too--think: Lollapalooza )

I am a fan of sharing ideas and getting thru the loopholes or whatever this falls under. But I think even Amex has no officially quantified stance on this one and I am happily surprised they have never shut it down to date. I figure it will one day end, and no it is NOT going to be because it's posted in FT. I would go into this one with caution, treating it kinda the same way you would have used your fake ID back in college:

You got in tonight with it. Cool. Have fun, but that does not necessarily mean it will work again tomorrow!

those who did NOT adhere to this philosophy when using their fake IDs in college eventually got busted for it.

This gig with Amex should be treated the same way until their long arm of the law comes down on us all. Hey, them are just some words of experience in both matter(s).


MM

good that you shared it though. Thanks!
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Old May 23, 07, 10:46 pm   #3
 
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I cannot put this in the same category of a fake ID which is completely illegal. This is the official policy of AMEX - that the buying of travelers checks is a purchase and not a cash advance for domestic or foregin travelers checks. Perhaps they make so much money on the float of uncashed travelers checks that they don't care. It is not illegal or a loophole. Could they decide to change it? Of course, but that is a different story. If you have access equally to more than one travel agency, it certainly would be good to alternate. I don't think an agent could stop you from adhering to the rules which is buying $1000 each week just because you do it every week. But then again, who knows. The nearest two offices are not that close to me so I doubt that I will be able to do 52 weeks a year. Oh, well.
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Old May 24, 07, 6:24 am   #4
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no you are absolutely right. One is a legitimate loophole and also breaks no laws, and the other is a choice college kids make that does break laws but gets you girls so it's considered socially ok and necessary Plus, when you are like 20, they don't hang you for it like they might if you did it for a business or sponsored illegal entrants into the USA or something.

ANYWAY, the similarity I drew is in fact rather similar. here's again why:

AMEX, like other large bank companies, does have several products that can in fact create loopholes that could work in situations such as yours. But they do not, for many reasons, change or update or correct some of these and as a result, many of us can and will take advantage of these things when we find them.

They could and probably would shut people down if they perceived they did it too much, and especially with some regularity where you became all too familiar in their world as a user of these 'churn" like activities. Lilke the fake ID kid, if you stick your neck out TOO far, you WILL get caught eventually.

AND once they begin to really crack down on this issue, EVERYONE goes down--even the kid who just used his ID one time.

yeah, that's illegal but think of it from the standpoint of some otherwise innocent 19 year old kid who wouldnt even think of drinking and driving. he just wants to get in the bar and be cool. BUT the big bust happened and he looks as bad as the drop out senior who makes a living on doing fake IDs at $20-$30 a pop.

the relation to the Amex gig is that they may be able to live with a few people who seep thru some cracks in a non perfect world, and they may be able to handle the slight 'losses' if that is what they are perceived to be, just as a bouncer in a bar may let some kid in even if he suspects the ID is fake just cuz the kid has a couple of cute girls with him. the college scene is like that. Amex may see that you are doing other business transactions with your cards so they kinda let you slide. BUt liek I said, once everyone knows about it, things change.

I was someone who touted and regularly used the National City reloadable gift cards. You could load up to $5,000 in one shot, cash it out in a matter of days with a simple online transaction, and do it again. I think one month I did like 7 of them on 3 cards each! Since Citibank's Mastercard has the Virtual credit card feature, you could always use a DIFFERENT CC number to reload your gift cards, and their system would not see that it's the same person churning over and over.

one day, though, as expected, this all came to a screaching halt for me and a bunch of other people, and then, the whole thing came tumbling down brick by brick.

I recall getting a nasty letter from Nat City, who also conveniently 'held' my gift card funds on one of the cards I had yet to cash out until several weeks AFTER I would have needed those same monies to pay off my credit card!

Bastids!

their letter stated I was grossly breaking bank poilicies and this card was not intended for these purposes, etc. blah blah blah. It went on to say I was not welcomed to use their products.

I called them and they were obtuse, and even as I tried to explain that I DID in fact use my card for regular charges too, they said NOPE! We know what you are up to and it's not meant for that. Even as I stated their OWN policies back to them, I came to learn more about something I've always seen in marketing: Deals and schemes are put out there to the mass public to kinda work. If someone really makes it work well for themselves, they are not supposed to reach that limit and marketing changes the gig.

I have seen this a lot in my world, with banks, rebates, credit cards, ski areas, concerts, etc. And I am not just some churner scammer guy. I am just someone who finds ways to do things like you have, and tries to make them work while sharing the idea with others.

Sometimes companies like Amex don't like it when we take that much control from them.

good luck! Milk it til it dies. I may join you.
MM
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Old May 24, 07, 6:46 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by dgordon View Post
You can buy $1000 of American Express Travelers checks fee free each week with your American Express Card at an AMEX travel center. ..... You could buy foreign currency travelers checks as well as US.
I am at a complete loss to understand why you would want to do this - apart from the poits from AMEX.

Very few people use Travellers checks these days when there are many ATMs available. TCs are an absolute pain and when travelling.

What do you do thith your $1000 in TCs every week?
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Old May 24, 07, 7:15 am   #6
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cash them.
get the money, pay your AMEX bill before it is due.
get points for next to nothing.
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Old May 24, 07, 7:16 am   #7
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Originally Posted by Bondiboy View Post
I am at a complete loss to understand why you would want to do this - apart from the poits from AMEX.

Very few people use Travellers checks these days when there are many ATMs available. TCs are an absolute pain and when travelling.

What do you do thith your $1000 in TCs every week?
I don't know about where you live, but my bank has absolutely no problem accepting travelers checques as a deposit.

Or, pay your taxes, pay your rent, etc. The uses are endless.
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Old May 24, 07, 7:24 am   #8
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Hmmm. There's an AMEX travel center in the area where I live. I'm envisioning a little "mini mileage run" every week. Hey!, I wouldn't even have to go to the airport, and I can be home for lunch.

Let's see, I have a Hilton AMEX and an AMEX Optima card. My wife has another Hilton AMEX, different acct # (but tied to the same Hiton account). Hmmm.

I don't know of any AMEX card tied directly to an airline, but hotel points can be transferred over. Exchange rate is usually poor, but if the points don't cost anything, who cares? Or, I can just stay in 5* hotels.

I know, it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

You can look up where there's a travel center near you.
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Old May 24, 07, 7:45 am   #9
 
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BONDBOY : It is completely for the points. For 3000 starpoints I can get a hotel stay.
I don't IMMEDIATELY cash them in. Still have the ones I got - $5000 worth. I found this out when I was getting 2 signature travelers checks for a friend that doesn't have a credit card using the cash she gave me. The people at the next window were using their credit card. So I asked about the details.
This is a situation more like the C2it of a few years ago where I racked up a lot of points because I have 4 different AA cards. It is like buying savings bonds when you were able to buy them with credit cards - and they took that away. (Actually, I never cashed mine in and they have turned out to be paying a very good rate of interest - and will cash out only as needed in the order of least interest. that turned out to be a good savings vehicle). Also awhile back Chase allowed you to buy travelers checks, and that got a bit ugly before they shut that down. What is hard is when they ask where I plan to travel, and I just say I am saving up for a big trip yet unplanned.
Just Google American Express travel centers and search near where you work or live.
You cannot use a secondary card on a primary account. The limit is for each account - and it comes out of your cash advance. If you increase your cash advance to $2000, and you find that it works, please post.
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Old May 24, 07, 8:05 am   #10
 
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Deleted -- I previously wrote "IXNAY ON THE OOPHOLELAY" but you convinced me we shouldn't be keeping secrets.

Last edited by rrgg; May 25, 07 at 10:52 am.
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Old May 24, 07, 8:14 am   #11
 
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You know, I hesitated posting this. On the other hand, I have gained from other people's posting of opportunities. I was unaware of this and would have appreciated knowing this years ago. So, now that you know, you don't want other people to know. How many other threads should we delete. I think AMEX profits from the float on uncashed travelers checks. They certainly have profited from me!!!!!
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Old May 24, 07, 8:20 am   #12
 
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Another advantage of this is being able to get GOLD status with Starpoints by spending $30,000 a year. Don't always spend that much as it isn't the only card that I use. This makes sure that there won't be any shortfall since I don't usually pay for stays, so I can't get status with paid stays, and I have been using lots of award stays (quite a savings when I took my daughter east to look at colleges. Also was pleased to find out that Sheraton's allow dogs!).
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Old May 24, 07, 8:21 am   #13
 
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? Australia

I have an Australian issued AMEX, anyone in Australia done this?
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Old May 24, 07, 8:43 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
IXNAY ON THE OOPHOLELAY! Any chance of deleting this thread?
Given FT history, I sincerely doubt it. That being said, there are so few AMEX Travel Centers in the US, I don't see this being a significant benefit for the bulk of FTers that live outside of a major city.

(The closest one to me is in San Francisco, and I'm not going to that length for a few miles.)

Mike
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Old May 24, 07, 10:58 am   #15
 
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yuppieshrink: Why not call your Australian Travel Center and ask them if you can purchase Travelers checks with your credit card - fee free.
nako - but when you are going to San Francisco for some other reason, you might think about doing it....or if you are traveling to a different city. Sure, unless there is one "around the corner" it will have its limitations. Combined with another reason then there is no reason not to. Anyone living or working in a big city will, most likely, have several offices to choose from.
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