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Avios has withdrawn the £140 Lloyds Premier Avios credit card (not the £24 Lloyds Avios credit card) to new applicants.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

  • David says:

    What’s the deal with MBNA and Amex? I ask as I’ve the VA Black Card and really value it.

    • Rob says:

      Amex is apparently cancelling all of its licensing deals. MBNA wants out as well – why should they pay for double miles when you use the Amex when they now get the same 0.3% interchange fee as they get on the Visa?

      • David says:

        Ok that’s a shame. Do you have any idea about how long it will be before the game is up?

        • Mr Dee says:

          They will have to give enough notice for the people who have paid the annual fee otherwise they would end up having to refund it, I would see them closing to new customers first.

      • James67 says:

        Rob, do you think other companies with amex licenses such as Lloyds may follow suit?

        • Rob says:

          All Amex licences are being cancelled, so the rumour goes.

          • James67 says:

            That’s how I read your comment the first time but I didn’t want to believe it 🙁 I guess we best all make hay while the sun shines. In the past we always knew that when one door closed another usually opened; I hate to be a pessimist but it feels like we are fast running out of doors. Hopefully one upside of brexit will be that cheap premium revenue fares exUK start to become more common, despite the falling pound, whilst the airlines make any necessary capacity adjustments.

          • LEE says:

            All Amex licences are being cancelled, so the rumour goes

            does this include the BA card ?

          • Alan says:

            No as it’s an Amex-issued card.

      • Alex says:

        That doesn’t sound right. Weren’t 3rd party AMEX cards excluded from the cap until 2019 or something similar?

      • Streetwise says:

        Is the low interchange fee an EU ruling? will anything change because of Brexit? ie can go higher?

        • Rob says:

          You seriously believe that the Government would reverse a ruling which keep down prices for consumers and only benefits Visa and MasterCard?

          • Neil says:

            Depends if any of them hold shares in the the financial institutions affected!

        • Mr Dee says:

          While they are at it they can get rid of the shopping bag charge, I am sure nobody is happy about it, also the EU cookie law could do with going as well 🙂

          • Alan says:

            Don’t think that’s an EU rule? We had it in Scotland ages ago, purely on environmental grounds – it certainly has had a massive impact on bag use!

        • TimS says:

          I doubt interchange fees would be a top post-Brexit priority!

          Even if they did want to reverse it (which they won’t), it wouldn’t even make the To Do list for the next 5-10 years due all of the other more important legislation requiring attention. By that time, not enough people would care/mind/notice/remember anyway.

  • Adrian says:

    O/T but still CC related, the BAPP card, do you think the higher sign-up bonuses will be back (as they increased their annual fee) or do you think they have gone the way of the dodo too? I’m asking as I’ll soon be in the market for another one, thank you.

    • Rob says:

      Given the annual fee, I get a feeling we will see them back at some point. I can’t see MBNA (apart from Virgin) doing enhanced bonuses again any time soon.

    • Rum says:

      I would expect them to be back between August and October as per last year. I signed up in Septemebr IIRC and got the 25K bonus on the Premium Plus card.

  • Jonny says:

    So the question is whether to wait an indefinite amount of time for a referral link to come through for the £24 card and risk it being pulled, or simply apply directly and forego the bonus?!

    • Mr Dee says:

      Sent a referral link and it came through straight away to a gmail address, its worth testing different email addresses if you have issues but remember the person needs to use the same email to signup for the card that they receive the email on.

      • Rob says:

        You got a Lloyds referral straight away?! Not with a 5 day minimum wait?!

        • Kathy says:

          Mine came through in 1 day.

          • James67 says:

            Mine was fast too, not as uick as one day but certainly less than fve. I did nit encouter any problem with bonus avios either.

          • Genghis says:

            Me neither. For me referral email requested on the Friday and received on the Monday. Then when I referred my wife it took a couple of days. All bonus avios received soon thereafter.

        • Mr Dee says:

          Sorry I didn’t mean instantly but didn’t have to wait weeks probably about a day and the referral tracked and got the confirmation email for the 4500 avios after 3 days or application being accepted

          • Mr Dee says:

            The point I was making was it is worth getting a referral link as hopefully the wait might not be too long if you try a gmail address rather than just applying directly

  • Chrismors says:

    Does anyone know what long haul BA routes don’t have WT+ so the upgrade is WT > CW?

    • Rob says:

      Amman, Beirut, at times Tel Aviv, Moscow, Baku – there are 7 planes like this, used on 5 hour flights.

  • Roger says:

    Ping! An e-mail just arrived from avios.com headed ‘Sun cream on stand by, where will you be going?’ Included is this message: ‘Start using your Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card Account again and collect Avios on your travels without any foreign transaction fees to worry about. Cash withdrawals abroad may incur a fee.’

    Clicking on the link produces a page showing the features of the £24 card – more Avios, no f/x fee, vouchers etc.

    All well and good EXCEPT I have the £0 card earning 1 Avios per £ of AmEx spend and 3%-ish f/x surcharge. I rarely use it though it can be useful for AmEx offers. There’s no link to upgrade to the £24 card. To the untrained, the benefits shown would apply to my £0 card.

    I don’t believe this, of course. I just don’t know whether it’s a Lloyds or an avios.com cock-up.

    • Roger says:

      Tee hee!

      I tried Live Chat and got ‘The requested URL was rejected. Please consult with your administrator.
      Your support ID is: dadadadada …

  • xcalx says:

    Can the voucher be used for two people one way into UK avoiding the UK APD. Sure I read it could be can’t find any info in the original article and comments.
    Thanks.

    • Nori says:

      I want to know that too. When I rang Avios they said you can’t but I’m hoping that the call centre person was wrong as the T&Cs don’t specifically excluding it.

      • Cambus says:

        I have used the upgrade voucher on two occasions, both for two one-way flights into the UK. I had to press my case the first time, but by the second the agent clearly knew what he was doing, and said, yes, no problem, you can do that. Paid £10pp in tax out of Moscow.

  • Ian says:

    I guess the days are numbered on my MBNA Amex for AA as well.

    Not that I use it very much now – even balance transfers seem crap on MBNA at the moment!

  • BrianDT says:

    I’m still waiting for my Avios/TSB pack to arrive, assuming I’ve been approved, after 9, NINE, weeks of waiting. And that includes going into my local TSB branch to prove that I am me!. I only want the 2 Avios per £ overseas bit.
    The silence is deafening.

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