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The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards bite the dust (at least online) ….. what now?

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The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards were withdrawn to new online applicants on Wednesday.

Before we go on, there is one important point to make clear.  According to a statement Lloyds gave to me yesterday:

“American Express is discontinuing its existing UK licensing arrangements. As a result, we are no longer accepting applications for American Express credit cards online. Applications in branch and by phone will continue to be accepted for a period.

If you had been planning to get yourself a Lloyds Avios Rewards credit – and there are good reasons for doing so, as I will remind you below – you should still be able to get one by calling or visiting your local branch.

Full details of the card benefits are on the Avios website here.

Why did this happen?

You can’t say you weren’t warned.

American Express announced its intention to withdrew its licences to Lloyds, Barclays, MBNA and TSB to issue Amex-branded credit cards a couple of years.

Since then, all of the third-party Amex-branded cards have been closed.  Except this one.  Lloyds Choice Rewards, Lloyds Premier Avios, TSB Avios, a couple of Barclays products, Virgin Flying Club White, Virgin Flying Club Black, United Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa Miles & More, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards, Emirates Skywards Elite ….. all withdrawn.

Only the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards hung on,  Arsene Wenger style.  I always assumed that they had received a stay of execution because of the British Airways relationship with American Express.

There is a second reason why the cards had no future.

The other big change on the way is the ‘one Avios’ IT platform.  Rather like Miles & More or Flying Blue, within a few months all of your Avios activity will take place on the website.  As far as I understand it, you will NOT use for any Avios-related tasks.

As part of this, will cease to exist in its current form.  There will not be two standalone UK Avios schemes, ie and British Airways Executive Club.   BAEC will effectively take over the platform.

(This is also leading to a shake out amongst other partners, some of whom will be dropped because they conflict with existing BA arrangements.)

Whilst they could have muddled through, in reality there was no place for two sets of Avios credit cards under this arrangement, given that there will only be one Avios scheme.

It’s a shame to see the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards go

I was originally very sceptical about the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards, mainly due to the pathetic 0.2 Avios per £1 earning rate on the Mastercard.  Although, from Day 1, I was very vocal about how impressed I was with the 0% foreign exchange fee on offer.

(That was also a problem in the end.  Foreign exchange fees are the major source of income in the new world of 0.3% interchange fees for cards where most holders are too wealthy to pay interest.)

Two things changed my mind:

It soon became clear that the upgrade voucher, earned for spending £7000 per year on the card, was proving very popular with solo travellers.  As a middle aged guy with a family, I had forgotten how much the 20-year old me would have valued the upgrade voucher and how I would have struggled to use the 2-4-1.

The Avios changes in 2015, which widened the points gap between Club World and World Traveller Plus redemptions, made the upgrade voucher more valuable.

I suppose I should also mention that I earned 1.1 million Avios from a crazy 1,000% bonus promotion that Lloyds TSB ran on the old Avios Duo card back in 2012That story is here.  They really didn’t know what they were doing …..

What now?

If you have the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards, they should continue to operate for a while.  At some point you will presumably be transitioned to a standard Lloyds credit card.

In the medium term, it would be logical to see British Airways drop American Express and launch a Mastercard / Visa product.  This could be with Lloyds or it could be with someone else.  With the fees on the BA Amex card now capped following the recent EU court judgement, BA should see the value in a switch.  They will get similar fees from Mastercard / Visa but billings will rise sharply due to the wider acceptance compared with Amex.

And then we have the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards which are coming soon …..

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  1. Graham Walsh says:

    I opened this card in December, so 3 months in and spent £6k on it. Holding off hitting the £7k for the voucher, just thinking if I should just spend and trigger it within the next month or so.

    • You only have to book your flight within a year of triggering the voucher, so unless 2 years isn’t enough time to build up your Avios (as in one year you could book a flight 355 days out), I’d trigger the voucher.

    • You’re fine for a while I’m sure.

  2. Likewise i’ve had about £350 of compensation and an extra upgrade voucher, and extra avios. So the initial frustrations with the card certainly paid off!

  3. pauldb says:

    I have always thought the MC earning benefit is complex and under appreciated. There are plenty of Amex cards for you Amex spend. If you just use the Lloyds card for your MC spend (and maybe forex) the voucher is a great return on £7000 MC spend, easily 3% is used well.

    • I totally forgot that the MC spend counted towards the £7k spend. I triggered my voucher within one month of opening the Lloyds account, whereas my BAPP 10k spend took me about 8 months to trigger

  4. Anyone have any idea what will happen to Iberia plus miles when they move to one avios platform?

    • One platform, one account, one set of partners across all airlines. However I think stage is just BA.

      • pauldb says:

        There’s a fundamental difference between Household accounts between BAEC and Wonder which model will carry through. BAEC needs individual TP accrual but not avios accrual.

      • Mikeact says:

        Avios SA ?

        • Lady London says:

          Could be dropped. Didn’t they do spmething like that to the Australians?

          • Avios SA continues but you may see the ditching of localised offers. Miles & More has no trouble operating across Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland and Croatia.

        • Callum says:

          Lady London – they did, but Australia doesn’t have a BA branded airline that uses Avios as it’s reward scheme like South Africa does.

      • RussellH says:

        So presumably when Iberia goes to the avios platform, the various schemes where you do much better out of Iberia than out of BA or Avios (e-Rewards, Accor, Hilton) will die?

      • RussellH says:

        My partner + I have our own BAEC a/c, plus we have a shared a/c; I also have an Iberia Plus a/c – primarily to take advantage of the improved e-Rewards deal. Then I have an unused AerClub a/c (never got the sign-up bonus) which is just in my name, but seems to have access to all our avios, not just the ones earned under my avios number.

        The potential for cock-ups seems quite high..

  5. Like rob, I benefitted from about 750,000 Avios on the old card. Was gutted to find that our wedding venue in ny didn’t take Amex though! I would have earned an extra 250,000 Avios from that one transaction!!

  6. Andrew says:

    Ok. So where is Flybe going to go with this? I use them from time to time, all my Avios have posted correctly, and they are a handy little extra.

    I can’t help but think that they’d make a really good Star Alliance affiliate. Something to plan around Air Canada’s changes in 2020?

  7. Lev441 says:

    I wish I was into the air miles game when the duo card had the 25 points per £1.. I could have done some serious damage!

    • The truth about that offer is even better. I knew Lloyds IT was rubbish. Most of the £40k I spent I refunded the following month. I expected Lloyds to just deduct 1x and not the 10x, but it was even better- they deducted nothing!

      This is because Lloyds treats UK and foreign spend separately. If you refund a foreign charge you only lose Avios if you have other foreign charges that month. Your UK earned Avios are not impacted. If you have no other foreign charges, you lose nothing.

      (This was all in the Avios Duo days, things may have changed.)

      • This is also part of the problem if trying to trigger the upgrade voucher – refunds seem to be erratically deducted from the annual spend to date so you can end up triggering the voucher earlier than planned!

      • Lev441 says:

        Sounds like a win-win to me! Who knows, maybe we’ll see another crazy offer on day… although hfp readership was probably a lot smaller back in those days!!

    • RussellH says:

      I had the card – and still do, but this is the first I have heard of that offer!

    • Polly says:

      We did do some serious damage! Set us up with an amazing avios balance too. Got us well and truly launched. We jumped ship from Q miles so fast.And they cocked up on a return avios flight..put my daughter and l in F coming back but charging Y avios. Just couldn’t believe our luck!
      So yes l think those days are ending soon.
      However thank goodness for QR sales. Long may they last. Even tho their prices are creeping up ex EU now.

  8. daftboy says:

    I think I know the answer, but are there any credit cards (or charge cards) perhaps in the UK market that charge 0% FX or otherwise incentivise foreign spending? I know there are some debit card options, less interested in those.

    • Tandem, and Aqua.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Aqua has made no difference I can see to my credit rating – which in the top 10th having moved up significantly in the two or three years I have owned it.

        (Building a Grand Designs house on an airfield with a strange name and a weird address – i.e. no street name! – really hammered my credit rating at first!)

        The one issue with Aqua is that your balance sort of shows up as something different from the way it is displayed with other cards. So while all cards are paid in full every month by direct debit, it looks as though the Aqua card is carrying a balance!

        The other, of course, is a small – midway between 1k and 2k – credit limit. Though it did start at £600! But very easy to top up online with a debit card.

        Great for meals and drinks abroad, and low limit means not too many worries if it goes missing.

        • Roger I* says:

          Limits increase. Mine is now £5k, which is manageable for me.

        • simon says:

          Great house Colin. I enjoyed that episode.. Well done!

        • RussellH says:

          > a weird address – i.e. no street name! – really hammered my credit rating at first!

          An address without a street name is quite usual in rural areas. Streets names are things you get in those funny places called towns and cities.

          None of the smaller villages around here have any street names. This can cause problems with firms (Amex and Starwood come to mind) who use poor quality address databases, but should not affect a credit rating. My own postcode is particularly confusing for some. Everyone seems to believe that a number and a postcode uniquely describes an address – it does not. There are two addresses for my postcade that start with 1 and two that start with 2 (and one with 3 and one with 4), but they are not house numbers – they are the first character in the house name. More examples of badly designed IT.

        • Ooh – will need to go see if that’s on 4od to watch 🙂

      • Roger I* says:

        An unmerited slur. 😀 As a non-ex-bankrupt, I’m not aware of any reputational damage when using my Aqua gold card. 🙂 True, I only use it abroad and online, but no damage.

        I’m looking forward to using my new Tandem MC.

      • RIccatti says:

        Aqua is a brand for New Day Ltd, who also have cards for Amazon, Tui, House of Fraser. Many people are likely to have one of those, granted they likely to be the same mid-to-low range cohort in terms of credit scoring.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Underwriters are unable to see the identity of a creditor on a credit report. Most don’t care anyway (they just plug metrics like # up to date accounts into a risk model).

      • Callum says:

        I don’t think underwriters share the level of snobbishness some people here have, even if they could see you have an Aqua card – which of course they can’t.

    • I’ve had Post Office MC for years – 0% forex

    • mark2 says:

      Halifax and Barclays Premium Travel (probably others).

  9. Prune says:

    If anyone fancies signing up for Billhop a referral bonus would be gratefully appreciated (have to pay schools fees soon)

  10. Davide says:

    The end is nigh now I fell for those of us that do not have serious amounts going through our cards. I currently have the SPG and see that as a 2 points per £ card, owing to the 90k>168k avios transfer plus the hotel certificate. However, I am now certain that card will bite the dust soon….

  11. Well thanks to a HFP reader, whilst the application link has been removed from the website, it still exists and still works. Just managed to apply successfully for the card. Got a confirmation email so hopefully all still works. If I don’t get the voucher (which I’d still hope for) the 2.5 Avios per £ is still pretty decent!

    • Daniel says:

      Would you happen to have that link..?

        • Julian says:

          As its clearly an IT department error that this orphaned Avios Duo application page has not yet been removed there still seems a rather high chance that the submit now button for the application won’t work or that Lloyds will write back to say that sadly the card is no longer available to new applicants…..

        • Chris Palmer says:

          Worth a try nonetheless. I was just accepted.

        • Richard G says:

          Cheers. I just did this and the application went through, but annoyingly I need to go and prove my address as I’ve just moved house. Bah. I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I ever actually get the card.

        • flyforfun says:

          The link now seems dead.

        • Chris Palmer says:

          I received confirmation yesterday that I was accepted and will receive the card in the next few working days.

      • Julian says:

        Unlike the main Lloyds credit card website the Avios Duo card is still listed on the website at but I can’t see any link there to apply for it.

        I suppose no new applications suggests the card will disappear for existing holders within say 6 to 12 months as they obviously don’t want to have deal with lots of customers who are angry that their newly acquired card has been immediately abolished

        So the card might not even be disappearing for existing holders for another 12 months if you think about people having sufficient time to spend enough on it to earn the flight upgrade voucher……………

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