Avios has withdrawn the £140 Lloyds Premier Avios credit card (not the £24 Lloyds Avios credit card) to new applicants.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.
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.
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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