Credit & Charge Card Reviews (12): Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express & Mastercard

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This is my review of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

(EDIT:  In early March 2018, the card was withdrawn for online applications.  You can, for a short period, still apply via telephone with Lloyds Bank or in person at a branch.)

Key link: Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards application form (no longer works, just an information page)

Key facts: £24 annual fee

The representative APR is 23.7% variable including the £24 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit.

About the card

The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards are issued by Lloyds Bank. There used to be a second Premier version of this card, with a £140 annual fee, but this has now been scrapped for new applications.

The cards come as a twin-pack of an American Express and a Mastercard. You will receive both cards when you apply, although you will only receive one monthly statement with your combined spending.

The Avios Rewards cards are the only travel loyalty cards issued by Lloyds, so it is unlikely to conflict with any existing cards you hold. However, HFP reader experience is that it is not easy to predict whether or not you will be accepted whatever your credit standing may be.

Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card review

What is the sign-up bonus?

There is no sign-up bonus.

All cardholders receive double Avios points for the first six months on your spending on the American Express card, up to £2,500 per month. If you were spending £1,000 per month on the Amex, that would effectively mean a bonus of 7,500 Avios.

Any other benefits?

There are two very interesting benefits on the Lloyds Avios Rewards £24 cards which make them stand out from all other travel credit cards.

No foreign transaction fees. This is a revolutionary move. 99% of UK credit cards – and ALL other travel loyalty cards – charge a 3% foreign exchange fee when you use your card abroad. The Lloyds Avios Rewards card does not. Even more impressively, you also earn Avios points on your foreign spending!

There are a handful of credit cards which offer no foreign exchange fees and have no annual fee – eg the Post Office Platinum Money card. None offer rewards points, though.

Flight upgrade voucher when you spend £7,000 across the two cards. The voucher allows ONE PERSON to book a return Avios redemption ticket whilst only paying the Avios required for the class below the one you booked.

Alternatively, you can upgrade two one-way flights. This only works if you upgrade two tickets on the same booking at the same time, with the cardholder as one of the travellers. You cannot use the voucher to upgrade two totally separate one-way flights on different days.

A Club World return ticket to New York on a peak date, for example, would only cost 80,000 Avios return (the World Traveller Plus price) instead of 120,000 Avios when using the voucher.

The voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue (you only need to book within this period, not travel) and you can only earn one voucher per year.

You only need availability in the higher class, not the lower one. Effectively, the voucher works by booking you a redemption seat for the discounted price of a seat in a lower class.

You cannot use the voucher to upgrade from Club World to First, on BA codeshares or on BA flights from City Airport except for New York.

You cannot use two vouchers on the same booking.  If you and your partner both have a voucher, or if you have two vouchers, you need to make separate bookings for each of you.  You cannot use two vouchers to updated a return flight for two people on the same booking.

You  CAN use the voucher on flights which do not start in the UK.  This allows you to, say, book from Dublin to Heathrow to somewhere to save Air Passenger Duty.  It is also handy if you can book a one-way out using miles from another scheme.

For the solo traveller, the upgrade voucher could have real value. It is less use if you always travel with a partner, although you could book a separate ticket at full Avios price for the other person. I wrote about the upgrade voucher in more detail here.

Note that if you cancel a flight which has been upgraded using the voucher, the voucher is lost. You do NOT get it back. Use with care.

What is the annual fee?

The Lloyds Avios Rewards cards have an annual fee of £24.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1.25 Avios per £1 spent on the American Express card. This is a very good rate of return given the modest annual fee.

The MasterCard only earn 0.25 Avios per £1. This rate is poorer that the FREE Tesco Mastercard at 0.3 Avios per £1. Even if you meet the very strict qualifying criteria, the HSBC Premier Mastercard only earns 0.5 Avios per £1. You need to pay a £195 fee for the World Elite version of the HSBC card which gives 1 Avios per £1.

What is an Avios point worth?

How long is a piece of string!

This article is my best attempt to calculate the value of an Avios.

How does this compare to a cashback credit card?

My default comparison card is the Amazon Platinum Mastercard which is free for life and offers 0.5% cashback. The representative APR is 21.9% variable.

On this basis, the American Express card supplied with the Lloyds Avios Rewards card performs well, earning 1.25 Avios per £1. The Mastercard at 0.25 Avios per £1 does not compare well to a cashback card – the only good reason for using it is that your spend will count towards triggering the upgrade well.

How does this compare to the free British Airways American Express card?

The Lloyds Avios Rewards card compares well for spending (1.25 Avios per £1 on the Amex compared with 1 Avios per £1 on the free British Airways American Express card). The BA Amex is better for fees (the BA card is free compared to £24 for the Lloyds card) and DOES carry a sign-up bonus.

The real differential, though, is the voucher on offer:

if you travel with a partner, you will value the 2-4-1 voucher for Avios redemptions that comes with the British Airways Amex

if you travel alone, you might find the upgrade voucher offered with the Lloyds card more attractive

Of course, if you spend a large amount on credit cards each year and could trigger both bonuses, you may want to have the Lloyds Avios Rewards card alongside one of the BA cards.

How else can you earn Avios points from a credit or charge card?

The obvious options are the British Airways American Express, the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card and the free Tesco Clubcard Mastercard.

Don’t forget these less-obvious options though:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is free for the first year. These convert to 20,000 Avios points.

The American Express Platinum charge card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up. These convert to 30,000 Avios points. It has a £450 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card offers 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for signing up. These convert to 10,000 Avios points. It has a £75 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

Conclusion

You won’t be getting this card for the attractive sign-up bonus, because there isn’t one. Based on your predicted level of spending, you can decide for yourself if the ‘double Avios on the Amex card for six months’ deal is attractive or not.

The on-going earning rate on the Amex card is attractive compared to competing products, especially given the modest £24 fee. 0.25 Avios per £1 on the MasterCard is poor – the free Tesco Clubcard Mastercard is more generous at 0.3 Avios per £1.

I feel that Lloyds deserves special credit for the ‘no FX fees’ feature on this card. Whilst there are cards with no annual fee which also have 0% FX charges – such as the Post Office or Halifax Clarity cards – if you spend more than £2000 abroad on the each year, the Avios earned via the Lloyds Amex will outweigh the £24 fee.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Just used the card to pay my hotel bill. The currency saving, this morning, has more than paid for the card 😉

    • I was just thinking the same thing when reading the article. It’s still the cheapest Avios earning card on the market FX aside.

  2. For those of you that have this card, I have some questions re: the voucher:

    A. Does the voucher trigger with only Mastercard spend (or has some got to be attributed to Amex)?

    B. Does it trigger straight away after hitting spend requirement, like BAPP (or on anniversary of account opening)?

    C. In subsequent years of holding the card, I assume that the earning year is the anniversary of the account opening as opposed to 12 months from last voucher issue (therefore is it possible theoretically to have two vouchers at a time by triggering on day 350 of account opening and day 370)?

    D. Do vouchers need to be used by the cardholder or is it adequate for the cardholder just to do the booking?

    E. If using the voucher to upgrade two one way flights have they got to be ex-UK?

    Many thanks.

    • I really like this card. I travel solo on a regular basis in connection with my small business so the upgrade voucher does have real value: it recently saved me 60,000 on CW redemption to San Diego (in fact, I’d already booked the flight for 125,000 Avios when the voucher arrived so cancelled and rebooked for 65,000 Avios.)

      I can answer some of your questions. No doubt others will answer the rest:

      A. Both cards count towards the voucher

      B. Immediately

      C. I believe it’s based on the anniversary year, so yes it would be possible to hold two vouchers at once

      D. Not 100% sure but I believe it can be used for anyone

      E. Not sure

    • George J says:

      To follow on from James:
      C I have held two vouchers at the same time so it is possible. It is awarded when you reach the spend and lasts for 12 months.

      D Usage is restricted to the person to whom the voucher was issued unless shared with someone travelling as a companion (i.e. 2 one way)

      E No restriction ex UK though it has to be on a BA mainline service (i.e. not a codeshare).

      This is a useful card (and pays for itself quickly with non sterling transactions) though the admin of it is pathetic, after three years mine still doesn’t automatically credit the Avios! I have to remind them, once by writing to the Group Chief Executive.

    • E I booked 2 flights from Heathrow and used my wife’s voucher to come back from Boston so it works for me! My wife has a card also so once we hit the BA 241 we spend on both Lloyds cards to tripper the upgrade vouchers for a similar date. Sometimes you will find the Lloyds upgrade works better with destinations with very limited reward seats ie Maldives Mauritius etc and of course when when your away no fx fees

    • B We triggered the voucher in month 3 of opening the account. We were quite shocked as it took about 9 months to trigger the 10K spend with the BAPP card. One thing that’s easy to overlook is that the Mastercard also counts towards the 7K spend.

    • D I’ve managed to book with the voucher over the phone for someone else to travel

  3. This is a great companion card to the BA Amex as the voucher icon be earned entirely on MasterCard spend is therefore an excellent (underrated here?) return on £7k of MC spend, whether you use it long haul, or short haul where it has effectively the same value as an Amex voucher

    • Upgrading short haul to club Europe has pretty much zero value to anyone with silver or above status.

  4. Using this card at the moment for the 6 month double avios and voucher, one problem I have had is the linking of the card to an Avios account. Didn’t happen when I received the card so rang to move it along a bit and was told –
    ‘yes there have been some delays but it will be complete in 26 weeks’…
    you’ve made a mistake you said weeks but surely you mean days, I said…
    ‘No, it will be completed in 26 weeks’…
    After I picked my chin off the floor I made it plain that this was ridiculous and unacceptable, after a long conversation with a ‘Supervisor’ they gave a credit to the account (which I didn’t want but thought what the hell) and I am still waiting for the connection of the accounts to happen.

    3 months later!

    • Very common problem.

      • My “official” 26 wks has been and gone. Not had pts post properly since we took the card out last Dec. Need to phone next week when we are home and try to get some more compensation. Was promised it would work after 26 wks but funnily enough it didn’t. Wonder what excuse we will get next week!

        • They promised mine would be resolved in November (after complaining in May!), but they can’t say what the issue is, how they fix it or why it only affects certain cards! I think someone suggested getting the FOS involved if it’s still not rectified after the mysterious 26 weeks.

        • I think the 26 weeks is a load of rubbish, an excuse to get us off their backs? I’m pushing as much as possible but getting no help.

        • I got the majority of my pts and the upgrade voucher added manually back in April/May time plus got £312 in compensation. Only have a couple of hundred pts outstanding as I stopped using the card after the first 6 mths and moved on to our BAPP. Will ask to have the balance of my pts added and hopefully get some more compensation as they have not delivered on the 26wk promise. I agree, I think the 26 wk thing is a load of rubbish. I was hoping to start using it again when I go in to my 2nd year which is December. Should I now threaten to go to some Ombudsman – which one would it be?

        • Genghis says:

          Hi Liz. Complain to FOS. 26 weeks is unacceptable
          http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm
          But it’s a bit of a compo gravy train. I’d keep it going.

          Btw. Since you mentioned the Jacobite train, I really want to do it. I think we’ll be heading back to Bonnie Scotland next year. Mrs G loved the food.

        • Glad to hear it – worth considering August to catch a bit of the Festival too (or April for the Science Festival) – good overview here…

          http://www.edinburghfestivalcity.com/#festivals

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks Alan. I went to a few Fringe shows a few years ago when I was in Edinburgh for work. Fantastic! I’ve been wanting to see Axis of Awesome – an Aussie comedy music group – again but they’ve not been to the UK for a while.

        • Thanks Genghis – will get on to it next week. Currently in our caravan in the Cairngorms – this area is also worth a trip – we’ve had a great week here. Yesterday we had a fab experience feeding the reindeers on the mountain – well recommended and fun to do. Had some lovely Cullen Skink at the Glenfiddich Distillery today. We will be doing the Jacobite train next year for sure.

    • Great news TBH – means you can get lots of compensation out of them!

      • I have the same problem at the moment which is not too frustrating for me as.i don’t need the Avios or the voucher at the moment. So it’s earning me compo and extending the validity of the voucher (I presume – otherwise it’ll be expired by the time I actually get it!).

  5. Never had before, tempted by this whilst still reconsidering taking the BAPP again. Got a few large purchases coming up, trip to Oz and a possible solo trip next year. The MasterCard spend going towards the target for the voucher, double Avios for 6 months on Amex and foreign exchange fees is attractive.

    In addition to the useful Qs posed by Akkers, how are Customer Services?

    • CS is terrible. 10% or so of cardholders never receive Avios, ever. Remember my recent article on this? When you complain you are told it will be fixed in 6 months.

      When I paid my wife’s card from my bank account it was frozen for money laundering and we had to go through ludicrous hoops to get it unblocked.

      • I haven’t had a single issue with Lloyds CS for a number of years now:

        Lloyds=Shambles=Avoid ! 🙂 .

  6. Thanks Rob, late night + early am = foggy brain and vague memory of previous reports of customer service issues.

    Hmm, back to this drawing board…

    Anyone got a revolut a/c & a card for use in Oz?

    • Mikeact says:

      We used these Lloyds Avios cards as we toured around Aus and NZ for three months earlier this year….took other backups but weren’t needed. But tended to use Curve with the Lloyds MasterCard for cash, but actually used very little cash. Revolut stayed in my wallet…just in case.

    • Revolut or Monzo fine but you’ll hardly ever need cash – contactless is everywhere!! Curve a decent shout if not wanting to use this card due to being close to triggering voucher.

  7. Rob – bit of constructive feedback…

    I recommend you add Customer Service

    • Rob – bit of constructive feedback…

      I recommend you add Customer Service review to this and other Conclusions for Credit Cards you cover. Makes the review more transparent & credible.

      • Richard says:

        For me the poor customer service is a plus point! £200 compo when voucher didn’t hit my account, posted 2 months later (fine with me as extended the validity and I had no use for it at the time) and then a 2nd voucher arrived a couple of months after that (which I used at the same time as the other one by booking 2 one ways).

  8. Matthew says:

    0% interest on purchases for 29 months is a pretty useful benefit too is used sensibly. Interest free loan essentially and useful cash flow in certain circumstances.

    I’m just in my second year and about to trigger another voucher but sadly the first one is going to expire. Still, saves a fortune in fx fees so can’t complain.

    • +1. This never gets mentioned in the review, carrying a balance seems to be a dirty word round here.
      Say you’ve got a 10k balance and you invest the cash at 3% instead of paying it off – that’s £300 per year!

  9. Absolutely love this card! I used the last upgrade voucher on a return to Santiago in CW, saved me 84,000 Avios!! Paying 91,000 instead of 175,000. The year before I used it for a CW return to Singapore which also saved me a huge pile of Avios!

    • I’ve done well out of it too. The interest free period has been very useful – the extra money sitting in my bank account has taken me over an interest rate threshold all year, so I’ve earnt more interest; I’ve got over £3k of overseas spend to put on it (sadly on the MasterCard, not the Amex) so the saving on FX fees more than paid for the fee; I saved 96k avios using the upgrade voucher on LHR-HKG and SYD-LHR (though getting it booked via the call centre was a monumental pain); and I got £200 out of Lloyd’s CS for the Avios points not posting initially.

  10. Yes, I’m still waiting since I reported the problem in May was told it would be resolved in November! I’ve had £275 combo so far. Can’t understand why it affects some cards but not others.

    • Have you followed it up with them? I try but get nowhere.

      • They just keep saying it’ll be 26 weeks, which is nearly up, so we’ll see what happens after that. FOS maybe?

        • Did they say 26 weeks even after escalating to formal complaint and allocating you a complaints manager or have they not escalated it? From all the other reports I’ve read (from Liz, etc.) they seemed to get sorted OK once escalated and they also then had a clear named person to deal with for non-posted transactions.

  11. I really like these cards – not everywhere takes Amex so there’s always some MasterCard spend and it’s great to have it count towards the voucher and with the bonus of 0% foreign spending. So well worth the £24 fee imo even after the 6 mths double avios.

    Unfortunately my Avios have all posted without any issue!

  12. Robbie-tackle says:

    I have a son studying in the US and I have numerous payments to make in dollars. This card has saved me a fortune in fx fees and still collect Avios. Must be lucky but so far all points have posted correctly although I’m still trying to work out the best use of the upgrade voucher.

  13. I like this card, but I guess the question with it is how long until the amex goes as the benefits will surely be redcuced when this happens.

  14. I recently had some fraud on my Lloyds Avios card and both cards were cancelled. However, when new card arrived there was only a Mastercard and no Amex, so I wonder if Amex has been dropped?

    • Mikeact says:

      Me too last week, numerous 17p payments during the night on my Amex card. Woke up to a message to call LloydsAmex…helpful voice from fraud department…cancelled card.. new replacement arrived yesterday as we were getting in the car for Heathrow..now down just South of Lisbon…hot…..just had a beachfront lunch courtesy of LloydsAmex.

  15. I believe the NatWest Black MasterCard has zero FX fees and gives Rewards (cash). At least that is what they tell me. Mike

  16. Had it for years. Personally feel this is one I will never cancel for having the fx facility alone. Easy to get Avios via multiple sources and tend to use one-way together and then the other leg ideally with another product. Keeps it fun.

    • Hi W,
      I,m looking to upgrade o/w 2 people with voucher but when I go on the site and ‘usevoucher’ The one way box disappears. do you have to phone? thanks ACB

      • Yes – also have to phone if using it from the regions too. The Avios.com phone agents are excellent though, I’ve never had any issues with them.

      • phatbear says:

        i had this yesterday and thankfully I got it sorted this morning after phoning them, they couldn’t have been more helpful on the phone!

  17. Rob …

    Much appreciated if you and other travel experts here are able to list countries with minimal taxes/surcharges (when using 2 one-way upgrade). In other words, “Best use of Lloyds’ Flight Upgrade Vouchers”, e.g. the much talk about, when travelling out of HKG.

    Thank Q

  18. I still think the example used is underselling the benefit of the voucher. Much better when used off peak, easy to save 60k upwards esp to West Coast USA.

    I’m a big fan of this card, just wish they’d let you pick when you received the voucher rather than sending it immediately upon triggering £7k spend, as it means I never put more than that on it, whereas with Creation I go way over the £10k.

  19. Couple of non spend issues with I’ve found with the Lloyds cards

    1. If you decide to opt for paper statements then there is no option to view or download statements via pdf online. It’s either one or the other so if you are out or abroad and don’t have the paper statement you can’t see current or previous statements for past months. You can see individual transactions online but not a statement for a given period

    2. If you have a supp card, you will only get the one stament for both cards with all the transactions mixed in the statement. There is no way to see at a glance the total spend for each cardholder. The only way to do this, is to log online and export all the transactions to excel then go back and retrieve the last 4 card numbers for each of the 4 cards and add them individually to excel then filter. Last month we had 143 transactions and it took over 40 mins, with the Lloyds website constantly trying to log me out despite being online.

    With the Amex BA and Chage cards this is a non issue as the statements split the bill between each card holder. When I complained to Lloyd’s they didn’t see it as an issue and that my partner should “keep her receipts”

  20. Had this card for a year and still not monthly avios added to my account, which is very annoying. Apart from about 6 months ago when i asked for my avoid to be transferred over…shambles.

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