Amex and BA [The Old Thread]

Old Feb 9, 05, 1:15 pm
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Amex and BA [The Old Thread]

Amex Travellers Cheque Cards were withdrawn from sale in July 2007. This post is retained for historical purposes only.

As you will read from later posts in this thread, Amex is blocking TCC cards belonging to FT'ers as soon as it realises that they are being used mainly for ATM withdrawals within the UK. However, this does not stop new clients applying for a card using the method I outline below, as the fundamentals of the scheme have not changed.

Amex will block you reloading your card as soon as you make your first withdrawals. You should therefore work out what it will cost to buy the card, load it (you MUST put on the full £3,000 straight away, as you will be blocked very quickly) then withdraw the cash, assuming that you can never reload.

The deal is still relatively attractive on this basis. You pay £20 for the card plus make 12 withdrawals of £250 at £1.50 a throw means a spend of £38 to earn 4,500 miles with a Premium Plus Amex. This is OK but not great BUT that it also puts you £3,000 nearer to hitting your £10k Amex target for the year. This could be the biggest benefit of the TCC now.

(Or use the premium BMI Mastercard. 6,000 BMI miles for £38 is a very good deal in my book.)

Raffles 8/5/06



This thread is about a new way of accumulating up to 9,000 BA Miles (or 12,000 BMI miles) every four weeks for just £36.

This was originally discussed over in the “Triple Miles With Travelex” thread and we now have enough proof that it works to lay down all the details. This post is the result of a massive FT joint effort by sib, schofs, TheMajor, knifeandfork, oyster, fiona, MarkUK, Roger, bobnick, paulyd, UK Flyer 1 and FF99. And thanks to tristan727 who misposted a link and accidentally started all this in the first place!

Please note that I have been updating this thread with new information as it becomes available. Check the 'Edit' date at the bottom of this post for the last update.

To take part in this scheme, you need to live in the UK and have easy access to a free-of-charge cashpoint AND a branch of your bank where you can pay in money. If you do not have a free-to-use cashpoint near your home or office that you can get to every day then this promo is not really for you.

What is the deal?

You are going to buy an American Express Travellers Cheque Card, or TCC for short. This is the new electronic version of travellers cheques.

Instead of carrying around physical travellers cheques, you pay Amex some money and they give you a plastic card with an identical level of credit on it. The card can be used in most places where you would normally use an Amex card. You can also use it at ATM’s for a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal.

The card is available in £, $ or Euro. We are only interested in the £ card. The other cards are very poor value for money because Amex charges a 4% fee when you load them up. All the discussion that follows refers solely to the Sterling TCC.

The key part of this plan – and the reason it works for us – is that Amex lets you pay for your TCC with your credit card (Amex, Mastercard or Visa). The transaction goes through your card as a Purchase and NOT as a Cash Advance, so you do not pay any cash handling fees to your card company.

This means that buying or reloading your card will earn you BA Miles if you use a BA Amex or a Tesco Visa, or BMI miles if you use the BMI MBNA card. Or, indeed, miles or points with any other loyalty programme you happen to have a credit card from. With the BA Amex, it also counts towards your £15,000 '2 for 1' spend target.

What are the key rules to remember?

Full T&C's can be found on any of the sites where you can order a card. You should read them carefully. In summary:

a) There is an upfront fee of £20 for the card

b) You can put up to £3,000 on your TCC when your order it. The minimum order is £200.

c) You can top it up online by a maximum of £3,000 in any 14 day period

d) You can withdraw up to £250 per day from any LINK ATM (at a flat fee of £1.50), as long as you do not exceed £3,000 in any 14 day period. All of the major banks, I think, are part of the LINK network.

There does not seem to be any other way of getting at the cash other than by withdrawing it at £250 per day from an ATM. This is why you need to live or work close to a cashpoint. We have proved that some cashpoints will give you up to £300, but this theoretically puts you in breach of the T&C of the card.

Once you’ve withdrawn the cash, you will need to pay it into your bank account so that you have some money to pay your credit card bill. It is important to note that after a few days this will probably trigger a flag at your bank for money laundering. Do not do this promo if you have anything to hide …

So, to summarise: the most you can put on the card every 14 days is £3,000. The most you can withdraw every 14 days is £3,000, with an official daily max of £250.

If you load the maximum £3,000 per fortnight, you will earn (£3,000 x 1.5) 4,500 BA Miles every two weeks using the BA Premium Plus Amex or (£3,000 x 1.2) 3,600 BA Miles on a Tesco Visa. The standard fee-free BMI Mastercard will earn you (£3,000 x 1.5) 4,500 BMI miles whilst the premium £65-fee BMI Mastercard will earn you (£3,000 x 2) 6,000 BMI miles.

The cost to you will be (12 withdrawals at £1.50) £18. This ignores the £20 cost of the card but this is a one-off payment.

This works out at just 0.4p per BA mile using the BA Amex!

If you want to cancel your card, you can send it back to Amex and they will refund the existing balance to your credit card. However, Amex will charge you an £8 fee. You are better off withdrawing all the remaining funds from a cashpoint after topping up the card to a suitable sum.

How do I apply?

There are currently four places we have found where you can order a TCC card:

http://www.firstrate.co.uk/Currency/...nformation.asp
www.americanexpress.com/uk/travel/default.shtml
http://www.thomson.co.uk/po/showEsse...o?essential=fx
http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Planning/Travel/amex.html

If you choose to apply for a card, please pick one of these links at random. First Rate is the Post Office / Bank of Ireland joint venture that sells foreign currency through PO's.

Are we certain you can earn miles ordering a TCC?

Yes. Note that you definitely cannot earn Amex Membership Rewards points for buying a TCC - this is specifically banned in the T&C. However some FT'ers have found that, in reality, this is not the case.

What should I do if I have any questions?

Post them here. You will be helping your fellow FT’ers if you do not, please, ring up Amex and ask them any questions about whether buying a TCC earns you miles or not. Obviously, for any general questions, ring Amex directly.

How long can I get away with this?

Based on current experience, Amex will block your card when it realises that you are using it solely for ATM withdrawals. At that point, you will not be able to reload it although you will be able to spend the money currently on the card. To date, this appears to happen once you have put over £10,000 through the card, although experiences vary. Your £20 card will not be refunded!

My recommendation would be to keep the card topped up as high as possible at all times to ensure that you charge as much as you can to it before the plug is pulled.

Good luck!

Last edited by Raffles; Aug 1, 07 at 10:11 am Reason: Latest news on Amex blocking cards
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Old Feb 9, 05, 1:25 pm
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Brilliant. Would love to say more but think you've covered everything!
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Old Feb 9, 05, 1:40 pm
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Fantastic summary, RJB, congratulations .

It seems that both of the AmEx responses (which contradicted each other anyway) to my questions were wrong. Given the evidence from FlyerTalkers, I'm about to buy.
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Old Feb 9, 05, 2:54 pm
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Top class post RJB.
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Old Feb 9, 05, 3:26 pm
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Can also confirm that this works, the miles posted today. Had been watching the travelex thread and decided to go for it last week. Didnt want to miss out again like the previous scheme!!

Am however having problems withdrawing cash from the ATM, have tried 2 both with Link machines!! I only activated it 2 hours ago, so am hoping that is why. Am on the phone (holding) to AMEX trying to get an answer.
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Old Feb 9, 05, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by riddster
Am however having problems withdrawing cash from the ATM, have tried 2 both with Link machines!! I only activated it 2 hours ago, so am hoping that is why. Am on the phone (holding) to AMEX trying to get an answer.
Yes I got mine today and 2 hours after activating the ATM was not handing over money to me. Expect it will process ove r few more hours.
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Old Feb 9, 05, 3:34 pm
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Hi,

Thanks for that RJB.

Can I just ask is the miles calculation ( £6000 x 1.5) based on the BA Amex Premium Plus card ( 1.5 miles per £)?

I have the BA premium card (1.25 miles) so that would reduce the amount some what I assume? and the ordinary card would only earn 1 mile per £?

Regards

TBS
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Old Feb 9, 05, 3:35 pm
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All Hail RJB!
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Old Feb 9, 05, 4:52 pm
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I did sneakily follow this at the arse end of the Travelex thread and am relieved and somewhat surprised it all worked out....and ingenius that it works on all mileage cards

My regular bank doesn't have a branch at Uni which is a bugger or else I'd milk this....there is always good old home though. Because of this is it possible for me to buy the card for £20 with say £50 on so it is at home waiting for me and then when I go home to whack a few thousand pounds on it? Are the only charges for withdrawing? There isn't any fee for topping it up? Sounds pretty damn good to me


Top find ^
Fraser (Wondering whether I should change banks to Natwest for the next four months!)

Last edited by fbgdavidson; Feb 9, 05 at 5:10 pm
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Old Feb 9, 05, 5:00 pm
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Oh God, here I was enjoying 5 days without planning/scheming new ways to get more miles&points here on Kowloon Bay/Victoria Harbour, but I can see that I'll be back to business Saturday conducting various money-laundering scale activities.
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Old Feb 10, 05, 1:16 am
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot
Hi,

Thanks for that RJB.

Can I just ask is the miles calculation ( £6000 x 1.5) based on the BA Amex Premium Plus card ( 1.5 miles per £)?

I have the BA premium card (1.25 miles) so that would reduce the amount some what I assume? and the ordinary card would only earn 1 mile per £?

Regards

TBS
Yes - it's 9000 with the Premium Plus, 7500 with the Premium, 7200 with the Tesco Visa, and 6000 with the basic Blue BA Amex.
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Old Feb 10, 05, 1:19 am
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Originally Posted by fbgdavidson
Because of this is it possible for me to buy the card for £20 with say £50 on so it is at home waiting for me and then when I go home to whack a few thousand pounds on it? Are the only charges for withdrawing? There isn't any fee for topping it up? Sounds pretty damn good to me
All in the post... There's a 200 minimum initial load (so first load will cost you £220), but you can empty that on your first trip to the bank.

There's no fee for topping up

There's a fee of £1.50 for withdrawing any amount from the cashpoint (max withdrawl £250)
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Old Feb 10, 05, 1:22 am
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Fraser: Minimum £200 to load.

I'd say on no account change to NatWest unless their student bribe is worthwhile. Too may reasons why not.

Have you thought of Nationwide Building Society? Amongst other good points, their debit cards are good value. They charge no fees for ATM use worldwide. Also, no currency fee for withdrawals outside the UK. From memory, I think NatWest would charge around 4.75% for a cash withdrawal on a debit card outside the UK.

Also - not that you would be using a credit card that doesn't earn miles - their Visa credit card does not apply currency fees, typically 2.75% with other cards.

www.nationwide.co.uk
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Old Feb 10, 05, 1:24 am
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One thing that (to my knowledge) no-one's tried yet is taking your TCC along to Travelex and trying to purchase TCs with the TCC (confused?!). There's no cash advance fees, so if they accept the card, you're in for many more miles!

If you were to buy your TCs with the Amex TCC, you'd be charged £2 from gatwick (which for argument's sake you pay cash) and you buy £3000 Sterling TC, you will get 4500 + 3000 = 7500 miles for £2... 0.03p/mile!

Still, I think I'm quite happy at the 0.4p/mile and not taking too many people for a ride!
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Old Feb 10, 05, 1:29 am
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Quote: One thing that (to my knowledge) no-one's tried yet is taking your TCC along to Travelex and trying to purchase TCs with the TCC (confused?!). There's no cash advance fees, so if they accept the card, you're in for many more miles!

The Travelex website does not accept Amex - I don't know if the stores are any different.

We also know that you cannot use the Amex TCC to order normal Travellers Cheques through the easyJet site, even though it accepts normal Amex cards. You have to assume that the only way of getting cash is through an ATM.

Fraser - I really wouldn't move banks! This loophole will be closed before you know it. However, nothing stops you loading up a card now as a 'one off' and then withdrawing the cash at your leisure over the coming months.

Last edited by RJB; Feb 10, 05 at 1:31 am
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