When it comes to foreign currency exchange I’m no expert. However, after travelling extensively one does learn the do’s and dont’s. Foreign currency exchange boils down to two things: rate and fees. You want to get the best rate possible for the least amount of fees. It really is that simple. What’s not that simple, however, is searching for the absolute best option, which by the way won’t be the same every time. It’s a hassle, actually. So depending on the circumstances one might select not the least costly option, but the most convenient one. It’s in those instances, when new United partner Travelex may be that convenient option to go with because of the added incentive of earning United miles with your purchase.
Let me reiterate that ordering money from a foreign currency exchange service like Travelex is not typically the most economical option to get your hands on foreign currency. You can 1) use your regular debit card to withdraw money at your destination. You could even get a no foreign fee debit card from a bank with global ATM networks to avoid all three fees; 2) order foreign currency directly through your bank or credit union; and 3) use your credit card for purchases (not to withdraw cash) abroad. All these are generally less expensive than a foreign currency exchange service like Travelex, but might not provide you with the flexibility that you need at certain time.
Why you may choose to order from Travelex
- You’re a business traveler so the fees are covered by your employer, and the exchange rate is approved by your employer.
- You need foreign currency quickly. The vast majority of banks will usually need over 3 days to process and receive currency on an order of currency that is not in stock in that branch. Travelex can deliver any currency within 2 days.
- You don’t want to hold on to large amounts of cash unnecessarily. To ensure that you receive your foreign currency on time form your bank, you place an order with enough of a cushion in case there are issues. This may mean having to hold on to a large sum of money for several days before your travel. Travelex can deliver within 2 days via UPS. Additionally, you also have the option of picking up your currency at many airports on your departure date. Another option is to pick it up at a store.
Why you may choose to pass on Travelex
- Less favorable exchange rate than the other methods mentioned above.
- Possible additional fees, e.g. shipping.
How to order
If you’ve determined that you may need to use a service like Travelex, you might as well earn miles along with the order. First off, here are the terms you need to be aware of:
It’s pretty simple to order. Here’s the link to order Travelex with the United miles earnings offer. In lieu of this link, you can go to Travelex’s website and click on the Earn Miles link there. Then:
Maximizing your order
- Current offer: 1% off regular online exchange rate
- Order over $500 to earn 1 mile/$ instead of 0.5 mile/$
- Order over $1,000 worth of currency and get free Next Day delivery
- Not yet confirmed: It may be possible to use the MileagePlus Go prepaid card and not get hit with a cash advance. If this is the case, you’d earn 2 miles/$
In conclusion, this is not an offer to go out of your way for. Foreign currency exchange in general…it’s just a losing proposition. But given the circumstances I mention above, you may see yourself ordering from Travelex, and if you do these miles will definitely come in handy.