Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

TopCashback offering £20 on the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card

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During July I will be updating the ‘Preparing for Summer’ series of articles that I first ran last year.  These cover the best ways to earn Avios from car hire and hotels and how to save money paying bills abroad.

One of the easiest ways to save money whilst travelling is to use a credit card with no foreign exchange fees.  99% of UK credit and debit cards charge a fee of 2.75% to 2.99% when you use them outside the UK.

A small number of credit cards (including Post Office and Halifax Clarity) do not charge foreign exchange fees.  These two cards are also free.  However good your mileage credit card may be, it is unlikely that the points you will get for using it abroad will offset the 2.99% cash saving you will make with either of these cards.

The Lloyds Avios Rewards card also has no foreign exchange fees.  And you earn Avios points when you spend as well!  This gives you the best of both worlds – a 3% saving compared to using any other credit or debit card AND you earn a chunk of miles back.

The only fly in the ointment with the Lloyd Avios Rewards card was the £24 annual fee.  This meant that you would need to spend £2,000+ on the American Express card abroad before the value of the Avios earned outweighed the fee – otherwise you might as well get the Post Office card instead.

Until Sunday or Monday (the site is not totally clear), however, cashback site Topcashback is offering £20 back when you successfully apply for the Lloyds Avios Rewards card.  This means that the card is effectively free for the first year.

Unless you need to put spending onto another card to trigger a spending target (such as £10,000 on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher) then the Lloyds Avios card is worth a look purely for your Summer spend in foreign currency.

I wrote a fuller comparison of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card and its competitors in this article.

For reference, the representative APR of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is 22.7% variable including the fee, based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

best travel rewards credit cards

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2024 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 2nd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (17)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Kai says:

    Exactly, I’ve done it couple of times before and all requests got approved within 24 hours.

  • Jason says:

    Yes they are a nightmare, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing!

  • Adam says:

    The Halifax clarity allows you to withdraw cash at no extra cost. The only thing is it will charge you interest daily. I get around this by moving funds the same day. Brilliant card.

  • ADS says:

    The other fly in the ointment of the Lloyds card is the charge on cash withdrawals:

    “a cash fee of 3% of the amount of each Cash Withdrawal you make in the UK or abroad (minimum £3)”

    As Adam says – the Halifax Clarity card doesn’t charge the 3% on cash withdrawals.

  • Luke says:

    To be fair to Lloyds I’ve had this forex free card for a while now and I haven’t had any trouble. Lloyds also seem to have fixed their trigger happy fraud system, I’ve had no foreign transactions blocked.

  • Rob says:

    Thanks. I have added a note to the post.

  • What's the Point says:

    Maybe it being highlighted on your website will now spur them into action!

  • Lipton says:

    Worth bearing in mind with the fx card is the exchange rate it offers you at the time of the transaction. When converting into the dollar , the fx card gives you a conversion rate 5 cents below the actual exchange rate against the dollar. So if you convert £1000 onto an fx card you end up losing $50 in the exchange rate. I don’t know what rate the post office and other cards are like but worth bearing in mind if spending large amounts abroad.

    • Rob says:

      In theory cards go through as the Visa or MasterCard wholesale rate which should be – almost exactly (0.01-0.02 per cent difference) – the spot rate. I have never seen any credible evidence that FX free cards do not genuinely offer a 3 per cent saving.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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