Avios has withdrawn the £140 Lloyds Premier Avios credit card (not the £24 Lloyds Avios credit card) to new applicants. The final day to apply was 13th July.
I honestly don’t know why the card has gone. I doubt it is linked to the imposition of the 0.3% interchange fee cap, because a card with a high annual fee is exactly what the card issuers need now.
The obvious answer would be to say it was pulled because it was rubbish. It is perhaps closer to the truth to say that the £140 annual fee was too rich for the avios.com client base which is generally more mainstream than British Airways Executive Club.
I have grown quite fond of the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card (reviewed here) despite the woeful customer service provided by Lloyds. It has a lot going for it, even if you already have a British Airways American Express card:
whilst the card has a £24 fee, you can offset this with a 4,500 Avios refer-a-friend bonus (email me if you need a referral)
there are NO foreign exchange fees when using the card and, even better, you still earn Avios on your spend. This makes it the most attractive credit card on the market for foreign spending.
the earning rate on the Mastercard may be woeful (0.25 Avios per £1) BUT spending on the Mastercard counts towards the upgrade voucher which you earn for spending £7,000 per year
The upgrade voucher is not really an upgrade voucher. It lets you book 1 return or 2 one-way Avios seats for the price of the next lowest class. You can’t use it to book First, but you can book Club World for the Avios of World Traveller Plus, or Club Europe for the Avios of Euro Traveller.
If you are really smart, you can use it on the few long-haul BA routes which don’t have World Traveller Plus in order to book Club World for the Avios of World Traveller.
For some odd reason, flights from London City Airport are excluded from the upgrade voucher.
The pricing gap between Club World and World Traveller Plus doubled when the Avios scheme was restructured in April 2015. This made the upgrade voucher more valuable.
The £140 Lloyds Premier Avios card, however, did not offer much to justify the fee. Let’s see:
there was no refer-a-friend bonus for signing up
the earning rate was higher (1.5 per £1 on the Amex vs 1.25 per £1, and 0.3 per £1 on the Mastercard vs 0.25 per £1) but not high enough to justify £140
the upgrade voucher was triggered at £5000 instead of £7000 – this was of marginal benefit and may even have backfired on Lloyds as cardholders stopped spending at £4900 to avoid activating it early
you got a 2-4-1 voucher on Avios redemptions for spending £12,000 per year. The problem was that it was only valid on Economy redemptions which are not good value long-haul. You could get a deal by using the voucher on a Eurostar redemption but few people knew this was an option.
If you placed no value on the 2-4-1 voucher because you don’t redeem in Economy, the only extra value came from the additional 0.25 Avios per £1 on the Amex card and 0.1 Avios per £1 on the Mastercard. Unless you were spending over £50,000 per year that did not justify the additional £116 of annual fee.
The removal of this card is not a great loss. The questions now are:
will Lloyds introduce a replacement card with better benefits?
the word on the street is that Amex is cancelling its deals with Lloyds, Barclays and MBNA because – with the 0.3% interchange fee cap – they are no longer profitable. What will happen to the Lloyds Avios Rewards card at that point?
why do the TSB Avios credit cards still exist?! They were deliberately designed to be worse than the equivalent Lloyds cards. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote about them. The £50 annual fee TSB Premier Avios card must surely be at risk even if the free card survives.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 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:
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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus 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 a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.