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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 Offers‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

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.

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.

Avios wing 5

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 points from credit cards? – November 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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.

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 & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (102)

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

  • the_real_a says:

    You can change the date of the return leg for the usual fee if you want to “risk” something becoming available nearer the time. Same zone destination changes are also allowed for the usual fee.

  • Alan says:

    Sadly I’ve had zero problems so no compo 🙁 Hilton Barclaycard was great for that though!

  • the_real_a says:

    Just yesterday i used the voucher for a HKG – LBA / LON – HKG in Business

    Total cost was 78,000 avios with £260 tax and fees

    A saving of 72,000 Avios (150,000 – 78,000). Outstanding value.

  • Alan says:

    There certainly used to be Avios referral opportunity, not sure if still about. Tended not to pay out if the email address known to Lloyds previously although Twitter team could sometimes sort.

  • mark2 says:

    I suggest that you take the plunge. The biggest risk is that your account works perfectly (like mine)so you get no compensation!

  • Gavin says:

    To reduce taxes using the voucher, could you start from Inverness where I believe there is no APD?

    Using 4000 Avios to get up to Inverness on a separate booking that morning, and do a back to back if possible in time. The only trouble is checked luggage, but you should be able to check in luggage at Heathrow after having flown back from Inverness, assuming your layover is long enough by going landside. I don’t think you can check in luggage at Heathrow if your ticket doesn’t start from Heathrow so it would need to be done after having flown INV-LHR

    If so – and this will only work for long haul flights in the late afternoon / evening eg Hong Kong, Singapore you could save a load of tax by flying up to Inverness and back. The cost of a few hours of left luggage storage would be peanuts compared to the taxes saved.

    • Gavin says:

      And if living local to LHR you could just go home and get your luggage, I think the layover rule is 24 hrs so should work for long haul flights that go in the morning / lunchtime / early afternoon as the Inverness flight lands about 1:30. This option is perhaps more Ideal for those with more time available

  • phatbear says:

    im just trying to use my avios 2 for 1 upgrade voucher which ive got from lloyds.

    I want two one way flights, so two singles same date/destination etc, from LAX to LHR however when i go onto the avios site it states that

    “Your upgrade voucher can be used to:

    Upgrade 1 person on both legs of a return flight
    Upgrade 2 people on one leg of a return flight; either the outbound or the inbound leg”

    thus implying that we need to have a return ticket to lax of which we can upgrade one leg, which isn’t what we want.

    however LLoyds t&c’s state:

    “Upgrade vouchers can be used to upgrade either 2 one way flights for 2 people travelling at the same time and to the same destination or 1 return journey booked on a British Airways main line service. British Airways codeshare flights are excluded. Flights from London City airport are excluded”

    so no mention of a return flight, just 2 people travelling at the same time to the same destination, which is what we want.

    So does anyone have any experience of using their lloyds upgrade voucher for two people on a single flight?

    ive tried phoning avios but despite hanging on for 20 mins i finally googled their opening times and it appears they are already closed!

    • Alan says:

      No personal experience but given how decent they’ve been when I’ve spoken to them to make bookings before I can’t foresee it being an issue.

      • phatbear says:

        I know what you mean but its actually their terms which are more restrictive than the lloyds t&c’s.

        • Alan says:

          Hopefully you’ll get through to them tomorrow to check, but I’d say the Lloyds ones take precedence anyway as that’s the only ones you’re given when committing the spend on the card.

        • mark2 says:

          Have you tried ringing them?

          • Alan says:

            Well the OP said “ive tried phoning avios but despite hanging on for 20 mins i finally googled their opening times and it appears they are already closed!” so sounds like a job for tomorrow 😉

    • Kean says:

      If you believe Avios has misleading information as a Credit Broker than do email a complaint to them. They will, at least in my experience, compensate you one way or another. I complained about one misleading word on their T&C in return I was issued an additional Upgrade Voucher, that’s really not too bad, I currently have two valid vouchers dated one month apart from each other in my account. Give it a go and good luck!

      • phatbear says:

        Well, thankfully, after being on the phone at bang on 10am this morning I got it sorted, i personally don’t understand why you cant do it online but hey ho.

        Thanks for peeps input regarding this issue.

        • Alan says:

          Glad all sorted. Given they can’t even handle journeys with connections online they clearly just haven’t bothered investing much in the website!

    • Eli Gold says:

      Glad you’ve got it all sorted but when I booked a few singles with upgrades, on the phone, I ended up getting BA tier points for those flights which is pretty cool. check your account to see if you got the same

      • Alan says:

        Did you receive them once you’d actually flown? I had them appear in MMB but then for one flight they never posted, for the other they posted and were then taken back (which triggered a GUV2 earlier than planned, requiring much chasing to get extended!)

  • Mr Dee says:

    Yes, you must use the voucher in store but I don’t find it that much hassle

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

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