Avios withdraws the Lloyds Premier Avios credit card

Avios has withdrawn the £140 Lloyds Premier Avios credit card (not the £24 Lloyds Avios credit card) to new applicants.  The final day to apply was 13th July.

I honestly don’t know why the card has gone.  I doubt it is linked to the imposition of the 0.3% interchange fee cap, because a card with a high annual fee is exactly what the card issuers need now.

The obvious answer would be to say it was pulled because it was rubbish.   It is perhaps closer to the truth to say that the £140 annual fee was too rich for the avios.com client base which is generally more mainstream than British Airways Executive Club.

I have grown quite fond of the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card (reviewed here) despite the woeful customer service provided by Lloyds.  It has a lot going for it, even if you already have a British Airways American Express card:

whilst the card has a £24 fee, you can offset this with a 4,500 Avios refer-a-friend bonus (email me if you need a referral)

there are NO foreign exchange fees when using the card and, even better, you still earn Avios on your spend.  This makes it the most attractive credit card on the market for foreign spending.

the earning rate on the MasterCard may be woeful (0.25 Avios per £1) BUT spending on the MasterCard counts towards the upgrade voucher which you earn for spending £7,000 per year

The upgrade voucher is not really an upgrade voucher.  It lets you book 1 return or 2 one-way Avios seats for the price of the next lowest class.  You can’t use it to book First, but you can book Club World for the Avios of World Traveller Plus, or Club Europe for the Avios of Euro Traveller.  If you are really smart, you can use it on the few long-haul BA routes which don’t have World Traveller Plus in order to book Club World for the Avios of World Traveller!

For some odd reason, flights from London City Airport are excluded from the upgrade voucher.

The pricing gap between Club World and World Traveller Plus doubled when the Avios scheme was restructured in April 2015.  This made the upgrade voucher more valuable.

My full review of the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card is here.

Lloyds 2

The £140 Lloyds Premier Avios card, however, did not offer much to justify the fee.

there was no refer-a-friend bonus for signing up

the earning rate was higher (1.5 per £1 on the Amex vs 1.25 per £1, and 0.3 per £1 on the MasterCard vs 0.25 per £1) but not high enough to justify £140

the upgrade voucher was triggered at £5000 instead of £7000 – this was of marginal benefit and may even have backfired on Lloyds as cardholders stopped spending at £4900 to avoid activating it early

you got a 2-4-1 voucher on Avios redemptions for spending £12,000 per year.  The problem was that it was only valid on Economy redemptions which are not good value long-haul.  You could get a deal by using the voucher on a Eurostar redemption but few people knew this was an option.

If you placed no value on the 2-4-1 voucher because you don’t redeem in Economy, the only extra value came from the additional 0.25 Avios per £1 on the Amex card and 0.1 Avios per £1 on the MasterCard.  Unless you were spending over £50,000 per year that did not justify the additional £116 of annual fee.

Conclusion

The removal of this card is not a great loss.  The questions now are:

will Lloyds introduce a replacement card with better benefits?

the word on the street is that Amex is cancelling its deals with Lloyds, Barclays and MBNA because – with the 0.3% interchange fee cap – they are no longer profitable.  What will happen to the Lloyds Avios Rewards card at that point?

why do the TSB Avios credit cards still exist?!  They were deliberately designed to be worse than the equivalent Lloyds cards.  I can’t even remember the last time I wrote about them.  The £50 annual fee TSB Premier Avios card must surely be at risk even if the free card survives.

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Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Has anyone had my trouble getting their upgrade voucher from the (£24) Lloyds card? I took mine out last October, hit th £7k spend target and got my voucher in December, which I redeemed a few weeks ago. Meanwhile I’ve spent another £7k this year, several months ago, but still no voucher in my account. The T&Cs definitely say ‘calendar year’ – I have a suspicion their systems are treating it as anniversary year. Either that or it’s just taking a VERY long time to credit. Anyone got any experience on this? Thanks.

    • Genghis says:

      Good spot. I assumed anniversary year. I’d be keen on hearing others’ experience.

      However Jon, if it were me I would complain as the Ts and Cs clearly state ‘calendar year’.

    • I called Lloyds today about the same issue and they told me the year is based on the 12 month anniversary from when the card was issued. I just looked at the T&Cs and couldn’t see anything about calendar year. http://www.lloydsbank.com/credit-cards/terms-and-conditions/avios-rewards-scheme.asp

    • Mycity says:

      When I called Lloyds on this they told me upgrade voucher is anniversary year. I’m in a similar position I took my card out last October got my voucher in January, now stopped spending on it till this October.so I could earn another one this year, so I could earn two in a calendar year, but only one per anniversary year, confusing yes but that’s what I was told.

      • Definitely says calendar year here: https://www.avios.com/gb/en_gb/collect/lloydsbank/lloyds-avios-rewards-credit-card-account (point 1 in the T&Cs at the bottom)… Perhaps there’s a difference between Lloyds’ terms and those shown on Avios’ web site? I would argue (to Avios) that I relied on Avios’ representations when choosing the card, and since it’s presumably they, not Lloyds, who award the voucher, they should honour their own terms… Will give them a call and see what they say..,

        • Thanks Jon, interesting difference in the T&Cs. I’m going to call them and see if I can get an extra voucher. My year runs June – June and I earned my voucher in November 2015 and thought I would get another one in May 2016 as hit the spending targets but Lloyds said no. Would be ok under Avios’ T&Cs.

    • It’s one per 12 month anniversary year, that seems to be what Lloyds meant by calendar year but their nonstandard use of the term confused everyone! (lots of discussion on here at the time) I took mine out in April 2015, delayed completing £7k spending until Jan and then put through the final amount (so £6.5k spent April to Dec and £500 in Jan). Voucher came through very quickly with email and postal confirmation.

  2. O/T: If I cancel my IHG visa can I apply for the Hilton Visa immediately?

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I think you need to wait 6 months between Barclaycard applications? Anyone confirm?

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Sorry I should have said between cancelling and applying for a new card….?

  3. James67 says:

    OT: I’m worried we’re all missing out on something at tesco, almost 9pm and still no sign of Harry!

  4. Semi OT – Supercard now includes basic travel insurance! Bit of a weird addition (esp for free) but seems to come from Wirecard, so will be interesting to see if Curve offer it too. The policy is underwritten by AXA, see Annex B of the emailed T&Cs they emailed out yesterday (not sure the weblink to it yet).

    • Note the paragraph on SUBROGATION (t+cs page 2). It seems this insurance only takes effect once all other insurances have been used up.

      Apparently no age limit but tight pre-existing conditions clauses.

      • Haha yup, just read that too. Very stringent conditions on most claims too, requiring lots of info. On the upside I can’t see a requirement to have paid for items on the card, only that you are a cardholder? I don’t quite understand why Supercard/Wirecard are going down the route of offering this though.