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

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.)

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  1. Very similar story here, applied back in October and have yet to see a single avios credited to my account. What’s noticeable to me is that when you receive the initial documentation with the card, there seems very little mention of avios and then there’s no direct way of seeing avios accumulated or redeemed on the lloyds website, as if you might have misremembered there being an avios deal at all!

    • Same for me. Also had a problem where now I cannot access my online statement; apparently I have to find the time to take some photo ID into a branch. They really don’t look good compared to Amex. If it weren’t for the 0% forex, I’m not sure if I can be bothered.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Just cancelled my old Duo because they now – after at least 100k through the card during that initial promo – want to see photo ID.

        Trouble is, there are few branches nearby!

  2. sandgrounder says:

    Back to the Premier Duo, I am currently in a battle for my 20k bonus. This is due to the 40 30 30 day month rule. The fact I called and had the dates needed to achive the bonus confirmed matters not- apparantly Lloyds don’t record phone calls. I’ve currently been sent from Lloyds to Avios, no doubt the buck will be passed again and in the end it will be the Ombudsman. I will never do business with this useless shower again.

    • I had the same problem. A tersely worded to avios explaining that it was their problem to fix, not Lloyd’s, and that I would issue proceedings if the bonus Avios were not credited within 2 weeks, did the trick.

      • sandgrounder says:

        That gives me hope of a swift resolution!

        • sandgrounder says:

          Speak of the devil, 20k in my account today! I only emailed Avios on Friday, very impressed. Still no love for Lloyds though!

  3. This is all very unsurprising. Enough comments were previously made that those who applied were very well fore-warned. A shame they applied anyway – Lloyds deserve to be sanctioned due to their shocking service and a headline stating they offered the worst service came as no surprise when I was last foolish enough to sign up a few years ago.

    The fact that Lloyds will have nothing to do with HFP due to reader criticisms here (you reap what you sow) just highlights their narrow-minded and unwilling approach to dealing with people and issues, and no doubt banking in general.

    A rational bunch who have a reputation for bad service – and not just in our circles – would see HFP as an opportunity to win back business with special offers and attempt to ensure good service to improve their image. But that would indeed require rational thinking with a dose of common sense…

    If they were the last bank on earth, you can bet my mattress would be bulging!

    PS: I am specifically unticking the “Notify me…” option as I have no desire to read about more people’s woes with this woeful attempt at a bank! But good luck to all of you. Don’t forget to stock up on some salt, a horse-shoe, a rabbit’s foot, and a 4-leaved clover… and a lot of patience.

  4. Well, to add some fuel to the bonfire, I’m a long time premier duo holder and got 2 shines new lloyds branded cards sent to me when the bank split.

    I thought great, 0% on forex transactions.
    I was wrong, existing customers still get charged for forex.

    To be fair to lloyds they have offered to “upgrade” me to the 0% version but I need to visit a branch for this.

  5. In reality would Head For Points want anything to do with Lloyds? My experience of them, based on the previous credit card and associated visits to branches, was poor. It has the appearance of a zombie bank, stumbling from one crisis to another.

    • Happy to take competition prizes or advertising off anyone 🙂

      I would have drawn the line at a sponsored post saying how wonderful Lloyds was, though!

      • Did you actually approach them (e.g. offering advertising space on HFP) or did they just send you a nasty “shame on you” letter/email? And do you do “sponsored posts” at all?

        • I approached them with a particular request, and was refused on the basis that they don’t want to work with people who are critical of them.

          ‘Sponsored posts’ – in general, no, I don’t do them. You will never see a random post on HFP for discussing the wonders of, say, Timberland boots!

          However, if – as a random example – Lloyds offered me some money to write a post on ‘how to save money abroad by using a zero per cent FX fees credit card’ then (subject to editorial control) I would do it, clearly labelled. It is useful for the readers and I do genuinely find this card good for that. But its not going to happen!

  6. Wozza2404 says:

    Thing is, I’d be more than happy to give them a crack. Missing Avios are (IMHO) easily sorted with a couple of letters followed by a quick trip to Small Claims Court. Amazing how quickly banks sort these things out once a summons hits their doormat; particularly when you’re valuing the Avios at the purchase rates.

    The no FX thing is, ultimately, a game changer. I’m gob smacked Lloyds haven’t marketed this card as such. If the reason for no sign up bonus is that they’re against churning, then why not really promote the no FX thing and offer something like 50k Avios for £5k of FX spend in the first 12 months of card membership?

  7. Does anybody know whether LLoyds will let existing customers swap to the new cards without a fee? I have one of the old free avios cards and would like to take advantage of the new forex free cards, but don’t fancy the £24 fee.

    • Unknown, but I suspect they’ll want to charge you.

      My partner has an interesting story, she upgraded from the normal duo to the premier just before the split, ended up being charged £100 (old rate should have been £50, new rate £140) annual fee and still has forex commission charged on her card.

      I’m going in this week to branch to try to update my card so I’ll report my findings by replying here.

  8. I applied for the lloyds avios card a few years ago when it was 10x bonus season. They were incompetant – failed to open my account properly, failed to give me my bonus properly, botched up my proof of address ID request.

    I have never had a worse service, which left me so frustrated. I would have abandoned everything if it weren’t for the bonus, but as soon as those 3 months were up I cancelled as quickly as I could!

    I would never touch lloyds again if I possibly could help it

  9. 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 !

    • 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.

  10. 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).

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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’?

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

        • 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.

  15. 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”!

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