Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

15,000-20,000 free Avios! At last – a sign-up deal for Lloyds TSB Avios cards I can recommend!

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Finally …. after, what, 6 months? …. the sign-up deal for the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios credit cards has been changed.

They have, finally, got rid of the stupid deal which gave you a large pile of Avios but forced you to book a hotel through the Avios hotel booking service before you could redeem them.  This new deal is not perfect, but is much improved.

If you are new to these cards, let me just clarify a couple of things:

These cards are offered by www.avios.com (ie the old Air Miles scheme) and not British Airways Executive Club.  To apply you must have an account at www.avios.com – which will be separately to your BAEC account.  You can open one for free if you don’t already have one.

You can apply for the Lloyds credit cards via the Lloyds TSB website or the avios.com website.  However, you only get a sign-up bonus if you apply via www.avios.com

The miles from your card spending will go into your www.avios.com account.  You need to use the ‘Combine My Avios’ function on ba.com or avios.com to merge them with any Avios points you hold in BAEC.

These credit cards are TOTALLY separate from the British Airways American Express credit cards.  You can apply for the Lloyds TSB cards even if you have the BA Amex cards.

The Lloyds card come as a double pack with an American Express and a MasterCard.  However, you only receive one monthly statement which combines spending on both cards.  It is impossible to just receive one of the cards.

You cannot ‘churn’ the Lloyds TSB Avios cards.  The card rules say that you can only receive one sign-up bonus per lifetime!

OK, let’s look at the deals!

Lloyds Avios

There are two versions of the Lloyds TSB Avios credit cards – a free one, and a version with a £50 annual fee.

The free card

The free card is the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios Credit CardFull details can be found here.

The sign-up bonus is now 15,000 Avios points.  For a no-fee credit card, this is a very attractive deal.

However, to qualify for the bonus you need to jump through a set of hoops.  You must spend £500 on the American Express card (not the MasterCard) in EACH of the first 3 months you have the card.  (A ‘month’ is based on the account opening date, not calendar month.)

Now, I find this to be unrealistically annoying.  Unless you are a heavy spender, doing £500 a month on the Amex could be tricky.  This could be especially true if you are on holiday one month.  It is also not clear what counts as ‘during a month’ – is it based on the transaction date or the date it hits the statement, 3-4 days later?

Realistically, if you go for this offer, be prepared to be spending money on supermarket gift cards each month to ensure that you hit the £500 target.

The earnings rate on the American Express card is 1 Avios per £1.  This is OK, and the same as the free British Airways American Express card.  However, the earning rate on the MasterCard is SHOCKINGLY BAD as just 0.2 Avios per £1!  Under no circumstances should you use the MasterCard! 

The card offers double Avios on foreign spending.  This means you will earn 2 Avios per £1 on foreign currency transactions on the Amex which is an excellent deal for a free credit card.  The MasterCard is still a poor deal, even with double Avios abroad.

If you want a MasterCard or Visa for collecting Avios, the Tesco MasterCard offers a rate 300% better (and 500% better with a transfer bonus) at 0.6 Avios points per £1.  Look at the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page on Head for Points for details on the Tesco card.

The paid card

The annual fee card is the Lloyds TSB Premier Duo Avios Credit CardFull details can be found here.

The sign-up bonus is now 20,000 Avios points.  There is an annual fee of £50.

You need to meet the same ‘£500 per month on the Amex for 3 months’ criteria as for the free card.

The earnings rate on the American Express card is 1.25 Avios per £1.  This is OK, although worse than the 1.5 Avios per £1 on the British Airways Premium Plus Amex.  The MasterCard is still SHOCKINGLY BAD as just 0.25 Avios per £1 – bin it on arrival and stick to the Tesco card.

The card offers double Avios on foreign spending.  This means you will earn 2.5 Avios per £1 on foreign currency transactions when you use the Amex – this is the best earnings rate on ANY credit card for earning Avios abroad.

With the ‘Premium’ card, you also receive a 2-4-1 voucher for Avios redemptions on British Airways when you spend £15,000 across your Amex and MasterCard during the year.

On the face of it, this is a good offer which could be very valuable.  However, it comes with some nasty stings in the tail:

  • It is only valid for Economy flights.  In reality, the Avios website will let you book Economy outbound and a higher class of service for the return.
  • The voucher is lost if you cancel your flights.  This is a lot stricter than the BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher, which is available for re-use if you need to cancel.

In general, I cannot see much value in working towards this voucher.  You would be better off getting the voucher on the BA Amex, which is valid in any class and is not lost if you cancel.  The only reason to get it would be if you have a lot of MasterCard spend – but even here, the pathetic earning rate on the MasterCard multiplied by £15,000 means that your gain from the 2-4-1 will have been wiped out by the very small amount of miles received for your £15,000 of spending.

Should you get the free card or the paid card?

If you intend to keep the cards and spend on them, then get the paid card, at least for the first year.  The extra 5,000 sign-up Avios are worth £50 to most people, and you get the extra 25% on your Avios earning every time you use the card, compared to the free one.

If you intend to cancel the card quickly, here is the question you need to answer.  The paid card gets you 5,000 Avios points in additional sign-up bonus, plus your £1,500 of spend required to get the bonus will generate an extra 375 Avios compared to the free card.  Do you value 5,375 Avios at more than £50?  Most people would say yes, which makes the paid card a better deal.

Important – there is no rush to apply!

The deadline for both of these offers is September 15th.  If hitting the £500 per month Amex spend is likely to be an issue during certain months, you may want to time your application carefully.  You have, after all, got 5 months to sign-up.

Remember that – according to the small print – if you have EVER had a sign-up bonus on the Lloyds TSB Avios cards before, then you cannot have another.  This card is NOT churnable.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (32)

  • ringingup says:

    I was thinking of applying for a BA Premium Plus card, but now either of these cards seem tempting.

    I was accepted for a Gold Charge card a month ago, and I hold already another 3 credit cards. Even if my history is good and the annual income is decent, I wonder what Lloyds will make of it.

    I know they’re quite fussy with approving applications for their credit cards unless you’ve received a personal invite…

    • Rob says:

      You’ve got until September to apply, which – if you’re worried about your current exposure being high – gives you plenty of time to cancel existing cards or reduce your credit limits.

      • tom says:

        Just been declined because my 3k balance on my MBNA card. Will have to pay that of and re-aplly in 3 months. Or maybe wait for a better sign up bonus ? As your only eligible for bonuses once in your life ? Might come up another ×12 / ×25 bonus?

        • Rob says:

          How do you know they declined you because of your MBNA balance? In theory, if you carry a balance you are more profitable to them than people who pay the bill every month! It is more likely to be a function of salary vs total credit limit across other cards.

          Highly unlikely to be another 25x bonus – can’t believe they want to give out another pile of 1 million Avios bonuses! As you say, though, no harm to pay down your balance with MBNA and apply again before September. As per the rules, once in your life seems to be the rule.

          • tom says:

            I walked in to branch and that was what they told me , that I was declined because of my mbna high balance , he told me that if I would ticked the box to make a balance transfer to the new Lloyd’s card , I would probably be approved. BTW I’m not paying interest on the MBNA because it’s still in the 9 months interest free period, as I’m anyway approaching the seventh month I’ll just pay it of now , but as

          • Rob says:

            Lloyds work in mysterious ways. For THREE YEARS they refused to give our last nanny a credit card, despite the fact she was earning £30k+ AND was having her salary paid into a Lloyds account. Only when she was leaving us and heading off to travel Latin America did they actually offer her a card!

        • John says:

          6 months. You’ll just get rejected again if you apply in 3 months.

  • Rob says:

    Good point. I may do a quick separate post on this. I wrote the above at 5.30am this morning after a jeg-lagged baby woke up so didn’t it through, clearly!

  • James67 says:

    The value of this deal is really dependednt on where you want to go eith the Avios. Personally I’m kicking myself for not applying for the old promo and taking the 30K avios on the paid card. I was planning to use them on trip to Bangkok and could have paid £10-12/night for room in Pattaya and then just ignored the booking. So for me the deal has lost a third of its value so will sit tight on it for a while. For those planning to go places like NYC for example, I concede it’s an improved deal given cost of avios hotels in such cities.

  • Tim81 says:

    After callig both Avios and the Lloyds Avios Duo customer service numbers, I am still no closer to working out when the first month spending period starts and ends for the 20,000 point promotion. Avios sent me to Lloyds and Lloyds sent me back to Avios claiming they do not run the promotion. Avios then suggested they can’t see spend on the card and therefore do not add the Avios but Lloyds do. Very confusing. I think I bottomed out that the start date is the date the card is created and sent out. I can’t work out however if the end of the first month period is 30 days from the account opening date or if it runs to the next statement date. Lloyds suggested the last promotion that was run was a 30 days period but Avios suggest it may run until the statment date. Any ideas?

    Also, when the spend criteria is met, is it Avios or Lloyds who add the points? Just wondering who I would chase!?

    • Rob says:

      During the ’10 x Avios’ bonus last year, Lloyds worked off the date the account was opened, which seemed to be the date on your welcome letter. This is not, however, the same as your statement period.

      That said, I think that you are safe as long as the total on your monthly statement, for Amex spend, is over £500 – since any ‘reasonable’ person would assume that this is how it should work. As long as you do this, you would easily be able to make a complaint to Lloyds (escalated if necessary) if you do not get the bonus.

      Based again on the bonus scheme last year, Lloyds tells Avios to give you the bonus, but Lloyds does not actually pay Avios for the bonus!

      • Tim81 says:

        That’s what I thought. I plan to spend £500 as soon as I get the card but want to ensure that Ii don’t end up spending more in the first period when I actually think i’m spending in the second. If I spend £500 straight away and then wait for my statement to come through before spending any more, I should be safe. Lloyds also noted it is the date spend hits your card that counts which may be a couple of days after the transaction.

        • Tim81 says:

          I have just been approved. Will update if I ever get to the bottom of the spending window!

  • thesaver79 says:

    Is it true that Lloyds are particularly picky when it comes to approving for their cards and generally prefer to give them to those who hold an account with them?

    • Mark B says:

      Not in ny experience, despite having 8 other cards including 2 amex

    • Rob says:

      Our nanny had a Lloyds account for 3 years before they would let her have a credit card! In general, it is fair to say that Lloyds works in mysterious ways with accepting or declining people, but they are (in theory) targeting people who are lower income than the average BA Amex card holder. It is also fair to say that – if you are going to go into partnership with someone like Avios – you need to be willing to accept most people or BA (who pocket a share of each transaction) will not be happy.

      As it is Lloyds, and they have no other loyalty cards, you have nothing to lose by applying.