People will tell you that the Americans get all the best loyalty credit card sign-up offers. This one, though, may be the greatest ever. Towards the end of 2011, Lloyds TSB relaunched their Air Miles credit cards as Avios credit cards, and (if you applied via www.avios.com) threw in an amazing carrot – 12.5 Avios per £1 spent for the first 3 months on the Amex card (you get an Amex and a Visa from them), and a crazy 25 Avios per £1 spent in foreign currency.
This card was aimed, I think, at low spenders. It had to be, because – even if you value an Avios at a paltry 0.75p as I tend to do – that is effectively 18.75% cashback on your foreign spend and 9.38% on your UK spend! And, as this Flyertalk thread explains, a lot of people with high incomes seemed to be rejected. Lloyds was also indiscriminately blocking people who had previously had Lloyds credit cards, even non-loyalty ones, and making crazy requests for ID proof of others. Their fraud department was also very trigger happy – our card was blocked when I put it into credit before a holiday in Barbados, and I had to go to a branch with bank statements and passports before they would unlock it. To add to the problems, for the first 3 months of the 4 month period that the card was available, Lloyds was mishandling the applications and not automatically processing the bonus miles.
Some people have beaten the system, though. You could pay your account from your current account via Faster Payments, so a payment you sent would credit within 2 hours. This let you spend many times your credit limit per month. People were also stacking up on supermarket gift vouchers etc. I got lucky when our Barbados hotel agreed to refund the £3,000 deposit we paid on our BA Amex a few months earlier and charged the whole bill to our Lloyds card.
So …. we got 9,000 on our first statement (really just a 2 week period). Over 90,000 on the second. The third is going to be a whopper, I promise you. And at least 2 weeks of spend on the fourth statement should be multiplied up as well.
A fair few Flyertalkers have banked over 1 million Avios from this promo. I (well, technically my wife, the card is in her name as I had previously had a Lloyds Air Miles card) may or may not manage this, probably not. You have to feel the pain of the people Lloyds turned down and who couldn’t take part.
And whenever you hear that the US market gets all the best credit card deals, remember that there was never a deal there that let people accumulate 1m Avios in just 3 months if they played it right.