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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (16): Lloyds Choice Rewards American Express & MasterCard

This is my review of the Lloyds Choice Rewards credit cards.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for.  These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score.  Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month.  You can cancel at anytime.

As with all rewards cards, this is not a suitable product for you if you do not clear your balance in full every month.  You should focus on a credit card with a low interest rate such as the AA Low Rate Card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 6.4% variable on purchases and balance transfers.

Key links:  Lloyds Choice Rewards credit cards application form

Key facts:  £24 annual fee

The representative APR is 23.7% variable, including the £24 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit.

About the card

The Lloyds Choice Rewards cards are issued by Lloyds Bank.

The cards come as a twin-pack of an American Express and a MasterCard.  You will receive both cards when you apply, although you will only receive one monthly statement with your combined spending.

The Avios Rewards cards are the only other travel loyalty cards issued by Lloyds, so it is unlikely to conflict with any existing cards you hold.  However, reports show that it is not easy to predict whether or not you will be accepted, whatever your credit standing may be.

What is the sign-up bonus?

Nothing at all!  This compares with the 4,500 Avios ‘refer a friend’ bonus available on the Lloyds Avios Rewards card.

If you apply for this card, it won’t be because of the sign-up incentive.

Lloyds Bank Choice Rewards credit cards review

What is the annual fee?

There is a £24 annual fee.

As with the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards, you receive double points on the American Express card for the first six months, capped at £2,500 of spend per month.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

This is a hybrid rewards card, offering a mix of both Avios points and more traditional rewards such as shopping vouchers.

In a very tiny and underpowered way, this card is an attempt by Lloyds to take on American Express Membership Rewards, the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card.  All of these cards have a rewards currency that can be used with a number of different airline or hotel schemes – or for an entirely different non-travel reward.

Instead of earning Avios points for your spending, you will earn Choice Points.  You could convert your Choice Points to Avios, but you also have other options.

Choice Points convert to Avios at the equivalent rate of 1 Avios per £1 spent on the Amex and 0.2 Avios per £1 spent on the MasterCard.

Alternatively, you can redeem your Choice Points for “cashback, shopping vouchers and magazines subscriptions”.  You can see details of these here.

If you opt for cashback, you receive 1% of your American Express spend and 0.2% of your MasterCard spend.  If you opt for shopping vouchers (Argos, Currys, Homebase, Amazon, House of Fraser) you receive a very decent 1.5% of your Amex spend and 0.3% of MasterCard spend.  You only need to spend £665 on the Amex to earn enough points for a £10 Amazon voucher.

If you assume that Amazon gift vouchers are as good as cash, this is the most generous Amex cashback credit card on the market.  It is a better deal than the American Express Platinum cashback cards even when you factor in the fee.  I would recommend, if you get this card, that you take your rewards as an Amazon shopping voucher.

It is NOT the most generous MasterCard or Visa cashback card on the market.  My default comparison card is the AA Fuel Saver Credit Card.  The AA card is free in the first year and offers 0.5% cashback on all spending, 2%-4% cashback on fuel purchases and – in year one – free AA breakdown cover.  The representative APR is 22.4% variable.  This beats the Lloyds Choice MasterCard by a long way.

Remember that the Lloyds Choice cards have an FX fee of almost 3% for foreign currency transactions.  You may want to consider getting a separate card to use abroad which charges no foreign exchange fees.  I recommend the Lloyds Avios Rewards card which also earns Avios points – even on your 0% FX transactions!  It comes with a 4,500 Avios sign-up bonus if I refer you.  My review of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is here.

How does this compare to a cashback credit card?

For this card, you don’t need to compare it with a third party cashback card – you can compare it with its own cashback and voucher offerings!

The bottom line is that I struggle to see the logic in collecting Avios points with this card.  What you are offered is effectively:

£100 Amex spend = 100 Avios or £1 cashback or £1.50 in Amazon (or other) shopping vouchers

You will struggle to find anyone who values an Avios point at 1.5p meaning that you really should take the vouchers instead.  If you want to collect Avios points, you will get a higher rate from the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards, the Starwood Amex card, the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold (due to the annual bonus and the double points on airline spend) and the British Airways Premium Plus Amex!

The ONLY reason to spend on this card would be if you were only half-hearted about wanting to earn Avios points.  You would be able to take your points as vouchers or cash instead if you changed your mind later on.

Even then, American Express Preferred Rewards Gold has the same functionality (you can convert your Amex points into shopping vouchers or Nectar points if you want).  That card also has a big sign-up bonus and, for the first year, no annual fee.

How else can you earn Avios points from a credit or charge card?

The obvious options are the British Airways American Express card, the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card and the two Lloyds Bank-issued Avios Rewards cards.

Don’t forget these less-obvious options though:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is free for the first year.  These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

The American Express Platinum charge card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up.  These convert to 30,000 Avios points.  It has a £450 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card offers 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for signing up.  These convert to 10,000 Avios points.  It has a £75 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

Conclusion

With no sign-up bonus, the card cannot be recommended based on that criteria!

If you were planning to get this card to redeem for Avios points, it is not recommend as there are far better products available.  One Avios point per £1 spent on the Amex is a very poor reward for a paid card – the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is 25% better for the same fee.

The application form for the Lloyds Choice Rewards credit cards can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (15): Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express & MasterCard
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Comments

  1. I already hold the Lloyds Avios card so would not get this card.
    But I definitely value an Avios at 1.5p. I have just booked flights from Seattle to Vancouver BC for next year for 7,500 Avios + £4.60 which at 1.5p is £117 when the cash price is close to £140.
    Incidentally, for cash the difference between Main Cabin and first is only $23 but that includes two bags which cost $25 each normally so for cash First is cheaper with a case, although since the flight is only 120 miles the bigger seat would not be much benefit. Incidentally I got excellent service from the BA contact centre.
    Also our two tickets to Seattle/Vancouver BC in First for 175,000 + 241 come out at roughly £3800 costed at 1.5p including charges and BAPP.
    It also depends how much cash you have got.

  2. Steve Smith says:

    First of all, just found this excellent website and have signed up for the e-mails. Secondly, I have the Lloyds Choice cards which I personally prefer to Avios but the flexibility these cards offer was very appealing. I have had the cards 3 months and I am particluary using the AMEX option at present as it offers double points for the first 6 months!!. After that I will take a view on the card as the Mastercard option gives quite a poor return.
    I asked Lloyds about the possibility of having the Avios cards as I was going abroad early last month. You cannot have choice and avios so I decided to stay with choice and took out a Nationwide Visa which does not charge F/E fees, something I do not like at all!!!