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!
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 Card. Full 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 Card. Full 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.)