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 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 avios.com 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.)