Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Goodbye to the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards after 1.1m Avios!

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Well, sadly not quite Goodbye.  But near enough.

The good – frankly, great – news is that my last set of bonus Avios points from this promotion have just posted, covering the first two weeks of June.  300,000!  Added to the Avios we earned from the preceeding two and a half months, our grand total is over 1.1 million Avios!

This was, without doubt, the most generous Avios or BA Miles promotion ever offered.  If you missed it, I explain the background here.  The key was the 25 Avios per £1 offered for overseas spend.  We really went for this – luckily it coincided with an expensive holiday at Sandy Lane in Barbados (trip report here!), where even more luckily the hotel agreed to refund the hefty deposit we had already paid on a different card and charge the entire amount to our Lloyds TSB Amex.  Another lucky break came when I was able to book £2,000 of flights for a friend, booking them in a foreign currency even though they were ex-UK.

I have also pre-booked our next three holidays, pre-paying the hotel rooms but on refundable rates which allow me to cancel at any time.  If our plans change, I will trigger a refund which, almost certainly, will be deducted at the standard rate of 2.5 Avios per £1 rather than the 25 Avios per £1 I earned on the way in.

I am not sorry to see the back of Lloyds TSB, though.  Their operation of this card has been nothing short of appalling.  I was lucky to at least receive the bonuses I was due, since many people who applied in the first couple of months that this deal was available did not receive it, and had to spend many hours on telephone calls, emails and letters to Lloyds TSB.

I did, however, fall foul of their over-zealous fraud procedures.  The card first got blocked in the first week we had it, when I bought something from an overseas website.  It got far, far worse when I pre-paid some money onto the card to cover the cost of the Barbados holiday.  Not only was the card blocked, but I had to go to a Lloyds TSB branch with a) our passports, b) utility bills and c) a bank statement from HSBC showing the transfer of funds from my current account to Lloyds.  And this was for putting the card into credit, not going overdrawn!

And why did we have to put the card in credit?  Because they gave us a credit limit equivalent to 5 days of my wife and I’s combined income!  Not surprisingly, it didn’t go far.

We also never got access to their online card services, because of a ludicrously complex security process which we could never be bothered to complete, involving as it did us both having to call Lloyds TSB to validate the fact that we had asked online to activate online billing.

Sadly I cannot actually cancel the cards yet, because I need to keep them open in case I end up cancelling any of the prebooked holidays and triggering a refund.  I will be doing my best to say goodbye to them soon, though.

However, when you look at them objectively, even at the standard earning rate of 1.25 Avios per £1 on the Amex, they are not bad cards.  For some people, especially with the 2-4-1 economy companion voucher which can be triggered on MasterCard spend as well as Amex spend, it could even be a better deal than the British Airways Amex.  I intend to explore this slightly heretical idea in a post in a few days.