When we started this process, the US dollar was trading above the Australian dollar. So, for every US dollar you would surrender to the bank, you would get back one Australian dollar and some change. The value of the dollar has dropped significantly in the last few months and now the US dollar only buys about .93 Australian dollars.
When you change your money in person with cash at TravelEx desk at a US Bank in downtown Minneapolis, this rate drops to .81! Ordering currency through the same company's web site gets you .83.
We found that if we bring greenbacks into the American Express office in Perth, that we get .92!! This is a great rate relative to the others. So, I will be exchanging about $1,000 locally at the sucky rate and bringing the rest of my greenbacks to Perth and exchanging them there.
This whole messing with money has caused us no small measure of stress. I hope that by reading this you might find our solution works for you too.
Be sure to call the American express office to check the rate. Although I have an Amex card, they told me that I didn't need it to exchange currency. I will let you know how that goes.