Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Yet more Lloyds problems … this time with the new Avios Rewards cards

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I have, in the past, given Lloyds a hard time on Head for Points over the appalling way that it manages its Avios credit cards (such as here).  The criticism was well deserved – Lloyds even put its failings in writing to one reader.

(Despite this, by the way, Lloyds has told me formally that it wishes to have no involvement with HFP because of my criticisms of them – which, remember, are simply me reporting the problems of readers.  I’ll get over it.  And my door is always open.)

I did like the new Lloyds Avios Rewards cards, though.  You can read my 3-part review here, here and here.  The official websites for the cards are here and here.

Lloyds 2

I was especially impressed with the ‘no foreign exchange fees’ feature – not only do you not pay the usual 3% fee that 99% of all credit and debit cards charge, but you also earn Avios on your foreign transactions.  If you spend over £800 a year on a credit card outside the UK (£800 x 3% = £24, which is the annual fee on the Lloyds card) then you will make money by getting one.  If you are a solo traveller, the upgrade vouchers are also more useful than the 2-4-1 voucher given by the BA Amex.

It was disappointing, then, when the first complaints started coming in about the Lloyds administration of these cards.  After all, Lloyds has been issuing Air Miles and Avios cards for a number of years now.   The story is the usual one, though, of miles (either base or bonus) not being received.  You may have seen someone in the Comments section of HFP mention this yesterday.

Here is how another HFP reader put it to me last week:

“I applied for a card at the end of October ….. and put almost £2500 through the Amex card in the first month.  I have not had one Avios point credited yet ……  Lloyds customer service is appalling – only a (second) letter to their customer services copied to the Lloyds Bank chairman seems to have elicited a response in the shape of a phone call.”

Before the Lloyds PR department is on the phone, I should mention that Lloyds has now confirmed its faults in writing.  To quote from a letter received by the reader:

“There is a known problem of receiving Avios on the new account.”

The new Lloyds Avios Rewards cards have not taken off well, despite the ‘no FX fees’ feature.  This is probably down to the lack of a sign-up bonus, the lack of promotion by Avios and confusion between the Lloyds cards and the TSB versions (which are effectively the old Lloyds Duo cards).  Having both the Lloyds cards and the TSB cards promoted equally on the website doesn’t help.

I really want these new Lloyds Avios Rewards card to succeed – if only because I want Amex to come under some pressure to remove the 3% foreign exchange fee on its travel cards!  Yet again, though, despite the best attempts of its marketing department to hide them, the Lloyds IT team appears to have found a spade and begun to dig another hole for itself.

(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 (37)

  • david says:

    I should not have been surprised : it took three phone calls, due to their IT issues, to swap a Premier Duo for the new Avios Rewards Card, but eventually told it was all approved and they would send the documentation to be signed. They did so, and I sent it back completed the day I got it. A week later I got a letter from them saying I had been unsuccessful as I didn’t meet their criteria ! A phone call to their customer services didn’t achieve much (although they were very polite, but couldn’t help or illuminate in any way). As a result, I have now cancelled my Premier Duo Card so they can have zero custom and fees from me !

    • Albert says:

      Similar to me. I tried to switch from my existing Lloyds cards to these new ones. Called 3 times, spoke to 6 people, and keyed in my personal information 5 times. At the end of the exercise I just gave up and cancelled completely. As I have a Euro account I’ll use the debit card for those purchases.

  • vindaloo says:

    Slightly OT, but the penny has only just dropped with me that these cards presumably have to be associated with an Avios account rather than a BAEC account. I don’t currently have an Avios account but I applied for this card a couple of weeks ago. If I was asked for a membership number I guess I must have used my BAEC one.

    Does anyone know what I need to do now? Should I just open a new Avios account and then contact Lloyds to update the details? What is likely to happen to the points for any spend in the meantime?

    On a separate note, I wasn’t offered the option of any supplementary cards on the account. Is this normal with Lloyds? Would like to get my wife a card but not if it requires a completely new application (and annual fee).

    • zark says:

      Supplementary cards are free and have different numbers, so statement should separate your spending.

    • Luke says:

      You can call them up to add a supplementary card (You can only have one), the statement doesn’t separate the spending out though unfortunately.

      • Luke says:

        Also they don’t ask for the number. They search to see if you have one and if you don’t they will create one.

  • Nick says:

    I spoke with Lloyds on the topic of my missing bonus at the end of the 3 month period as well as Avios.

    Both have said it can take up to 90 days to credit the 15K bonus after the 3 month spend. Sounds like a fob off but I can sense a letter after 90 days should nothing appear.

    I based mine on 31, 30, 31 which were the days in the months I had the card.

  • Paul Johnson says:

    Do you really not pay a FX fee in disguise? Is the card offering good exchange rates or are they worse than others?

  • Worzel says:

    Back from a few days abroad(santander zero card used) to my surprise the 15K intro bonus has posted-I was expecting to have to jump through a few more hoops!

    Thanks to HFP and contributors I telephoned Lloyds to ascertain the spend periods(40,30,30 days for me)- 1st spend made 20th August, points post 16th December.

  • Mike turnbull says:

    I’ve applied and just waiting for the post man. What we are thinking of doing is loading each with £2000 before heading off to South Africa for a month in the New Year, , using them as ‘cash advance’ cards. We did this in Australia last year with the Nationwide card and it worked a treat. Anybody any comments as to ‘Don’t do it’?

    • Rob says:

      Unless I have forgotten something, I don’t think that cash withdrawals count as FX-free transactions. You would need to ‘buy stuff’ to get the FX-free rates. Do double-check that, though.

      • Paul says:

        Cash does not have an FX fee, but it does have a 3% cash fee (which applies in the uk and abroad).You also do not get Avios for cash withdrawals.

        Something to consider:
        Nationwide charge 28% APR (2%/month) on cash
        Lloyds only charge your purchase rate (18% APR, 1.4%/month)
        Both charge interest on cash when the transaction posts. (so you cant avoid it)
        Nationwide charge 2.5% cash fee, minimum £3
        Lloyds charge 3%, minimum £3
        I leave it up to you to work out which is best, but really the difference is going to be no more than 0.5% if you pay the statement as soon as you get it.

        • Rob says:

          Thanks Paul, my recollection was clearly off then! I will do a post next week on the different FX-free cards, I think.

          • Luke says:

            I just wish Amex would make the Gold and Platinum fee free abroad. For now I’m using the new Avios Lloyds cards as 2.5 Avios and no forex fees definitely outweighs 2 membership reward points and a 2.99% fee.

  • Worzel says:

    For Mike turnbull 10:14 am:

    Don’t do it Mike-stick with the plan that works.

    After all this is a new card and………”Lloyds”!

  • Rob says:

    I suspect that, at some point, Lloyds will be forced into a sign up bonus to start driving applications. No idea when though.