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Avios withdraws the Lloyds Premier Avios credit card

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Avios has withdrawn the £140 Lloyds Premier Avios credit card (not the £24 Lloyds Avios credit card) to new applicants.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.

My full review of the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card is here.

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.

Conclusion

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 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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 Gold

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

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (115)

  • Martin says:

    Never mind the Lloyds Avios cards – if Amex are rumoured to be cancelling their deal with MBNA, does this mean it’s the end of the road for the Diamond Club party?

    • Ian says:

      Interested to know- best cards I have. Just paid corporation tax on visa at a cost of .415pc

      • Rob says:

        Apparently the Diamond Club party is already over, but we are being allowed to empty the open bottles ….

        • Alan says:

          Here’s hoping there’s plenty more sitting on the tables! 🙂

      • Talay says:

        How are you paying tax on cards without a big fee ?

        I have VAT, PAYE, Corp Tax etc. to pay.

  • Danksy says:

    Won’t miss this at all, me and Mrs Danksy took one out…had ridiculously low credit limits (we are both rated 999 at experian) which meant there was literally no way of hitting the minimum spend targets in the time allocated! We had to pay our balances off mid month! Easy – except it also took ages for our cards to come through (almost the whole of the first month) I then had a hell of a job as I put both cards into credit balance – then one of them got blocked!

    So after a lot of messing around. I got my credit balance refunded, but missed out on the signup bonus, and was £140 worse off. Mrs Danksy got the signup bonus and we cancelled shortly after.

    • Johnnycl says:

      +1 on the low credit limits. I’m still in the double Avios period so am putting through most spend on this card but so far this billing period have had to make two interim payments.

      • krys_k says:

        A simple way to circumvent the low limits was to make a payment, clear the balance and start again (I do realise that it prevented purchases over the limit though). Easy enough to incrementally hit target spend of £5k (that said my limit was £1500).

        • Mr Dee says:

          +1 on low limits

          I have however made a purchase of double the limit by putting the account into credit, you can just make faster payments and they go through within a few minutes usually especially if using a Lloyds bank account.

          Only have the free card as was going to upgrade to the premier after 6 months which I can’t now as the option has gone.

          • Mr Dee says:

            That said I was only going to upgrade to get the 6 months double avios again and the voucher not because it was a decent long term card.

      • Genghis says:

        Strange to hear about low limits. My wife and I applied a few months ago for the £24 cards and were given limits just over what we requested.

        • Steve says:

          Definitely strange, also for the £24 card, I think I requested £15k, and was given £12.5k limit. Then 6 months later I used the online tool to increase it to £15k and was approved immediately.

          • GORDON GRIMMER says:

            I have just been accepted for the card and asked for 4k and got 6k limit.

          • Kathy says:

            Same here. And my referral points posted promptly (thanks Raffles!).

            Maybe someone at Lloyds is finally taking online feedback into account? It’s just daft for them to set low credit limits for people who are able to pay their bills – they’re losing money!

    • Alex W says:

      -1 for low limits. I didn’t have a great credit rating but still started at £10.5k limit. Lloyds recently increased it to £12.25k.

  • kevino says:

    Which are the few long-haul BA routes which don’t have World Traveller Plus?

    • Gavin says:

      Yes that was my first thought!

    • anon says:

      Flights operated by the midhaul A321’s which only have WT and CW.

    • Mike says:

      The ones which are exclusively served by the ex BMI mid haul 321s.
      Amman, Beirut….
      All of the caucuses and -stans have been dropped.

      • Raffles says:

        Plus Baku, Tel Aviv, Cairo at one point ….. there are 7 A321 aircraft with flat beds.

        Sure someone has the current list.

        • Mec says:

          Moscow as well – if you’re on an ex-bmi a321

        • anon says:

          GYD was dropped several months ago, TLV and CAI served by longhaul aircraft now.

          AMM, BEY, DME are the only regular midhaul routes, plus operating shorthaul services. Several of the midhaul A321s will be converted to shorthaul config.

  • Liz says:

    To add to stories of woeful customer service by Lloyds: I have the £24 card for many years now. Decided to get a supplementary card for husband so we can hit the £7000 target more easily.

    Applied for it over the phone — fine. Got a letter requesting proof of identity and address — we sent bank statement and council tax. They sent our documents back and we never heard from them again! A month passed, and finally I got around to calling Lloyds.

    First of all, the lady on the phone kept on saying –“supplementary? We don’t have that credit card! We don’t have that credit card! Oh, additional card holder?” Next, she told me the proof of identity and address wasn’t sent and case was closed. Had to press her on that, saying we sent the documents and we got them back from Lloyds. “You mean, like undelivered?” No!

    Finally she says, “Oh, there is another note in the system that says that his card was rejected due to low credit score.” My husband holds several Amex cards, Hilton and has no problem applying for each of them, with a 6 month gap in between obviously. Additionally, this is a supplementary card! I don’t believe Amex even runs checks on supp cards.

    • Steve says:

      So I also have the £24 card, and during a call to their call center I found out during security checks that my date of birth was for the wrong year. My mistake, when applying for the card I must have clicked the wrong year in the drop down and not noticed.

      So I asked them to update the record, at which point they said they could not do this over the phone (even though I knew all the security questions) and I would have to go into a branch and do it face to face.

      Problem there is that there are no Lloyds branches in Scotland any more and therefore the nearest one is over 200 miles away.

      “No problem” they say – “you can go and do this is in a branch of Bank of Scotland, we share the same system”

      So off I go and spend an hour in a Bank of Scotland, after which the member of staff finally appears triumphant, and says “done”

      Next time I need to call Lloyd’s, and do the automated security check, lo and behold my date of birth is still a year out. Needless to say in the Lloyd’s system I am still a year older than I actually am, and it appears that wrong customer data is better than having the ability to change the system for correct customer data.

      However, after a recent fraud case when my Lloyds Amex card got skimmed somehow – they were very efficient at recognising the unusual activity, contacting me to confirm, and then cancelling cards and issuing new ones in a very quick turnaround, so they can do well sometimes.

      • Smid says:

        Another Lloyds credit card tale.

        Applied to get the 24 quid card online. Already a Lloyds customer with a 10K credit limit on an old shifted TSB trustcard. Get cards etc. I phoned up, and they happily shifted 9K of my credit limit from my old account to the new account.

        Later, I tried to change pin. Fail three times. Tried to use it online nothing.

        Phoned them up, and they’d blocked the card. Why? Lack of id. Never had an id request through the post. Might have missed any statement of what id I was supposed to send. They said reapply. I was annoyed enough with this, and had taken 2 months before a holiday to make to too late to use. So left it. I made sure they didn’t charge me the yearly fee.

        I got a letter through a while later saying 24 quid due. I had previously set up amex direct debit, so forgot.

        I got a letter then saying that my 24 quid payment was overdue. I phoned them up. It was a weekend. Couldn’t do anything. Phoned them up during the week. The drone kept asking if I wanted a new card. “NO YOU HAVE REFUSED MY ACCOUNT”. Eventually made it as if his supervisor had kindly waived the fee, and got bored of him offering to send me a new card (and never hearing that it wouldn’t work because I needed to reapply). And forgot about it.

        I then get a letter through saying I had had my credit score adjusted due to the fact that I hadn’t paid the 24 quid, my credit limit halved and still owe them 24 quid. I spent an hour in Lloyds on a Saturday, hanging onto their phone to the same people when they eventually wiped the actual debt and made sure that they amended my account.

        I am pretty sure they will charge me the 24 quid next February for an annual fee on an account I cannot use, and have long since cut up cards of. At some point I will go into a Lloyds branch and cancel ALL my Lloyds credit cards.

        • The_Real_A says:

          File a complaint with lloyds – you will get a decent sized compensation for your wasted time.

          • Fenny says:

            And tell them that you will charge them £50 a time for each additional contact you have with them. Worked wonders on my complaint about switching my gas supply this week. I’ve never had so many people from various customer service places contact me.

          • Alan says:

            Indeed I had an issue with a disputed transaction where they handled it so badly they ended up carrying the can themselves, even when the retailer we still pushing them to receive payment. The complaints team I spoke to in Fife in the end were very good.

        • RIccati says:

          DEFINITELY have to write to Lloyds Underwriters (south of England address) and request them to inform Experian to remove the late payment/default flag (if more than 3 month unpaid).

          If you have an account marked “default”, well you will not be able to get any decent credit for many years.

      • Mr Dee says:

        It would be in their interest to sort this as if the date of birth is incorrect then it is questionable as to whether they can enforce the debt legally if you were not to pay, similar to when some of the companies put Mrs instead of Mr.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh dear, I’m now having to add to the tales of woe.

      When I applied for the cards I registered for online banking. I made a note of my user ID – which it asked me to select – and password. I filled in my phone number on the application.

      Cards have arrived so I go to activate them online. Either my password or my user ID is not recognised. After several attempts – because I might have mis-typed – I click ‘forgot user ID’. It’s a random string of numbers – which I certainly was not presented with during the application process.

      So, try again to log in with this – it’s encouraging me to pick a more memorable user ID again.
      Only now I’m obviously locked out for too many wrong attempts. Try to re-set password. It’s going to phone me to input an authorisation code, only the number that it’s going to call is from my old address, which I moved out of 7 years ago – even though I input my new number when I applied for the card. It must have retained my phone number from the last time I was a LLoyds customer, before I moved.

      Call the customer support number it gives me when I click on an ‘is this an old number?’ link. The customer service person is possibly the most useless I’ve ever encountered and literally just tries to talk me through the ‘resetting your password’ procedure online – which won’t work, because their system has an old phone number. She tells me off for not updating my phone number immediately it changed. I have to explain 3 times that it has an old number on the account because I used to be with Lloyds but cancelled before I moved before she can comprehend that. She can’t update my phone number, even through I’ve gone through their security process for her to even access my account.

      She can’t do anything for me over the phone without setting up a telephone banking security code, which will take 5 days to arrive in the post. Or I can take ID into my nearest branch to sort it out. This is all for security, security is very important, and no other bank can possibly sort this stuff out over the phone, for security reasons.

      She is very surprised when I explain that their IT system is rubbish and their customer service appalling.

      As my parents still live at my previous address I will try re-setting password via the online system the next time I am at theirs. Rather shows up the flaw in their security system, though – just because someone has access to a phone number doesn’t mean they are the account holder.

      • Kathy says:

        Scratch that, I have to visit a branch – I can’t do anything without a telephone banking security number.

  • MR Bridge says:

    I have been worried about Diamond club going for a while, particularly the visa, I have opted for the new Tesco premium card mainly for the tesco bonus, but as a back up should the DC visa go, I can still earn something at non amex accepting retailers.

    What a difference in oppotunites since HFP started, and there was just a few hundred readers sharing loopholes! -maybe we are to blame!

  • James67 says:

    Interesting post and comments too. Sad about MBNA but Lloyd’s avios has become my default card anyway since the voucher is worth 52k avios to me for every £7k spent so I combine this with Amex churns as my main source of avios these days. If I use the voucher for 2x one way do these need to be booked at same time? Biggest problem I forsee is that availability for outward leg may be gone by the time availability is released for return leg when booking around T-355.

    • jen says:

      I’m pretty sure it is 2 one ways on the same flight ie you plus guest, or just you on one return trip

      • Rob says:

        Yes

        • James67 says:

          Thanks Jen and Rob.

          • James67 says:

            Sorry, one other question please. If the voucher is used for a return does it need to be by me as card and avios account holder or can I use it to book for another person? Thanks.

          • GORDON GRIMMER says:

            just for you im told

          • James67 says:

            Thanks Gordon, good to know as it means I must now exercise more care with spend to trigger the voucher at the most useful time.

      • The_Real_A says:

        It can also be 2 x one ways booked at the same time, provided one is into the UK and the other is out of the UK (open Jaw ticket). There is also no restriction in which order this is in as you can fly IN and then OUT which opens the possibility of nesting this upgrade in between two other one ways.

        • James67 says:

          This is what I had in mind but I wanted to use it for my partner so I’m now back to the drawing board.

  • MR Bridge says:

    can anyone offer any insight into the travel insurance by tesco premium VS amex plat?

    • Rob says:

      I would imagine the policy document is available online before you sign up? The Amex one is.

      The problem with comparisons is that they ignore the key issue of willingness to pay. In my experience Amex always pay up even if you don’t follow the rules. Many other insurers would not.

  • Alan says:

    I’m a big fan of the £24 card so glad to hear that (for now at least!) it isn’t affected. Got 52k value out of my upgrade voucher last year, with £200 cheaper taxes than expected via Avios.com too, so way better than the BA 241! Here’s hoping it keeps going for a while yet. Totally agree this premium card was pretty pointless so no big loss in of itself.

    My main issue with the Lloyds card is around the spend target – (1) that they don’t have an easy tracker or even any easy way of telling you if you phone them and (2) that once you’ve spent the £7k the voucher is triggered and that’s it for another year – it mean I spend up to £6750 or so (wide margin because of their lack of IT around the target) then I have to hold off on spending more as I don’t want to trigger the voucher. Shame as the no forex fees with rewards is pretty decent. Supercard plus bmi works for now as still giving 1.25 at least.

    • Genghis says:

      I will have that problem coming up too. I think currently at £6.5k after a month and a bit but don’t want to trigger the voucher – though very happy to use the card for the 2.5 avios/£ period. Applied to be an “additional card holder” (not supp) on wife’s card to divert some spend onto her card but once at just under £7k spend, will hold off so we can trigger the vouchers early next year.

      It’s a shame there isn’t an option to trigger the vouchers whenever you want within the year. The 12 month validity is quite restrictive (although flights only need to be ‘booked’ within this time, not actually taken).

    • Mr Dee says:

      Wow! 52k in value from the upgrade, be interested in how to get a similar value out of it

      • James67 says:

        The 52K value would come from a zone 7 return off peak CW redemption (98K WTP price as opposed to 150K CW price). It may be that Alan did exactly this, or found a similar value from some other redemotion.

      • Rob says:

        Biggest saving would be 120,000 Avios for a return off-peak redemption to Zone 9 in CW or 104,000 for a return off-peak redemption to Zone 8 for 1 person.

        You would save 50,000 Avios on a 2-class route like Amman because you’d only pay the WT cost of 25,000 return (Peak) vs CW 75,000 return (Peak).

      • Alan says:

        Off peak WTP to CW is now the sweet spot for this voucher after the increases BA brought in last year.

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