Best Exchange Rates and Earning Miles Strategy

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by TheTravelAbstract, Sep 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    For more in-depth look into this Introduction to Xoom and How Awesome it is For Argentine Pesos.

    When I would travel abroad the usual protocol for getting foreign currency was usually one of two ways

    1. Buy Foreign Currency from local bank or 3rd part seller before leaving
    2. Bring Debit Card to Withdraw money from ATM’s while abroad

    Those have been fine ways to get money but sometimes they do not offer the best rates (choice 1) or your daily withdrawal limits the cash you can have (choice 2).


    My debit card for travel is Ally Bank because they reimburse all ATM fees, have no international fees and are an online bank that offers 24/7 online chat support making it easy to get in touch with them from any web cafe in the world.

    I have used them for the past 2 years and it has been a great experience.

    However I have the problem of living abroad for long periods of time in a country that is still way too reliant on cash; Argentina.


    I would be losing out on tons of miles orpoints when I withdrew cash out of an ATM.
    I know all of you can sympathize with how much pain it causes when you miss out on mile earning opportunities.

    Luckily I stumbled upon a great way to get money and earn miles, Xoom.


    This is a great service for Expats, leisure travelers and people who have family abroad (study abroad or back home) in 30 countries around the world.


    You can fund your Xoom account with your Rewards credit cards and to pay for a service or good.


    The service is really good for Argentina where exchange rate manipulation has lead to a big difference between the rate for ATM/Credit Cards/Currency Exchanges and Xoom.

    For example the current exchange rate for Xoom is $6.0504 ARS for US$1.

    But if I use ATM or Credit Card to pay it would be ~$4.61 ARS to US$1.

    The thing about Xoom is that the exchange rate changes everyday.

    In one month it went from ARS $5.92 to ARS $6.21 and now it is down to ARS $6.05.

    You do need a bank account for many countries but others have cash pickup locations throughout the country.

    Argentina is one that has said cash pickup locations throughout many regions and cities.

    Even if you do not use the rewards credit can you can just use a bank account to transfer funds.

    There are different costs assocaited with transfering the money from a credit card and here is how they breakdown against ATM withdrawals:
    Xoom Rate.png

    This is a great way to earn some miles and save cash while traveling to Argentina.

    I can't vouch for how great the deal is for the other countries in Xoom but I have nothing but good experiences for transfer to Argentina.
    Please everybody share your experiences with Xoom here...
     
    MichaelRpdx, MX and Quasiconvexity like this.
  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Do you know what would be a US bank rate to convert ARS back into USD?
     
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  3. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Unfortunately thanks to the Kirchner administration you need government permission to withdraw US$.

    You can go on the black market to buy US$ but otherwise you will be hard pressed to find a place to get boatloads of US$.

    Because you need to either deposit the money into a Argentine bank account or pick up the cash when in Argentina.

    As of now this is not a minty type of scenario.

    I recommend using it for your actual expenses in Argentina or sending it to loved ones.
     
  4. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I was coming from the perspective of a potential US tourist in Argentina. So if I were to buy more ARS cash than I need in Argentina at the good XOOM rate, and have some left over. When I return to USA with those left over ARS, would I still need the Argentine permission to convert them back to USD even in USA? In other words, is this a one way conversion market?
     
  5. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    You would be stuck with them.

    I know that Travelex only sells ARS and will not buy them.

    That would be a problem if it were Xoom or ATM withdrawals.
     
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  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Thanks, that's great info for a trip!
    Can one convert ARS into Chilean Pesos -- either in Argentina or Chile? I thought of visiting both countries in one trip.
     
  7. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    That could be one solution.

    Many people go to Uruguay for similar reasons.

    By keeping it in South America you have a good chance of getting rid of the ARS and into a more liquid currency.
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Travelex also gives a rate of about 3.99 with IIRC a US$10 service fee.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    You can spend ARS easily in Colonia as well as paying there in US$, Euros, etc. There is border contol, including customs, and the rules seem to be enforced even for those who just visit by ferry for the day.
     
  10. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    That's good to know.

    I just got back from EZE and Travelex was not accepting ARS.

    I also called them yesterday to confirm and they said they do not accept ARS.

    when did you last make this conversion?

    I agree. Like I said Uruguay is popular for expats and porteño go to switch out of ARS.

    One trick they us is to go to casinos and switch out their currency. You can buy chips with any denomination and cash out in € or $.

    Thanks for the data points MSPeconomist.
     
  11. MichaelRpdx

    MichaelRpdx Active Member

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    We're traveling to Buenos Aries next month. Do you have an update on the current Xoom exchange rates?

    We've pre-converted some USD to ARS so we'll arrive with cash and also have ATM cards.
     
  12. Slow_Mustang
    Original Member

    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    A simple google search gives the following info,

    Guaranteed exchange rate* 1 USD = 8.4788 ARS
    https://www.xoom.com/argentina/fees

    Perhaps not all of what you are looking for, but a good approximation.
     

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