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The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards were withdrawn to new online applicants on Wednesday.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 all withdrawn.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 avios.com website.  As far as I understand it, you will NOT use ba.com for any Avios-related tasks.

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

(This is also leading to a shake out amongst other avios.com 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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Comments

  1. krys_k says:

    Had 9 upgrade vouchers in last 3 years (family account) for £15k spend. I’ll be sad to see this go. Best product for single traveller.

  2. rams1981 says:

    If applying for the card online where do you enter your Avios number?

  3. Peter K says:

    As Rob doesn’t have a referral code I’ll add my Billhop referral code into the mix.
    https://secure.billhop.com/r/b5ccd
    You get your first £250 bill payment fee free if you join using the code.

  4. Graham says:

    O/T I’ve just picked up that BA changed the definition of Eligible Flights for earning status. It used to include codeshare flights with a BA code but it now has to be a BA operated flight. I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere. Just wondered if anyone has experience of this.

    • I really hope that isn’t true I’ve booked a roundabout route to Alicante for Easter just 2 get the 4 flights to go with our ex EU to Canberra in the summer for BA Silver.

    • AndyR says:

      Where have you read that? Please post a link.

      I just logged into my BAEC account and the definition is the same as it has always been:

      Eligible flights
      Eligible flights are defined as those flights marketed or operated by British Airways and those flights marketed and operated by Iberia.

      ‘Marketed’ means the flight will have a BA flight number (in your itinerary or on your ticket).
      ‘Operated’ means the aircraft that you travel on is a British Airways aircraft (including franchises and BACityflyer).
      ‘Marketed and operated by Iberia’ means the flight will have an IB flight number and the aircraft you travel on is an Iberia aircraft (including franchises).
      Reward bookings and agency or industry discounted bookings are not eligible.

      • Graham says:

        If you go to the Exec Club link on the ba home page, then go – Tiers & benefits – About Tier Points – How many points do I need for each tier, you get the following
        “Eligible British Airways flights are:

        British Airways operated flights, including franchises and BA CityFlyer.
        British Airways operated flights, including franchises and BA CityFlyer.
        Flights operated by Iberia, included franchises, with an IB flight number.”

        Also, in the “Recognition” section of the EC T&Cs, the reference to codeshare flights has been removed.

        I do hope it in an error, but it looks suspiciously deliberate having been changed in 2 places

  5. I’m guessing that with all these cards closing it would be a good idea for me to get the SPG card sooner rather than later?

  6. “Middle-aged”

  7. Does anyone have a Lloyds Avios card that expires after August 2018? I heard rumours that they were going to let the current batch expire and then switch to something more basic.

    • hiugo says:

      just been sent one with a 2022 expiry

      • Expiry date doesn’t mean anything though, we’ve seen that before with MBNA.

    • Irrelevant. My DC card was to expire way after it was culled

      • Cate ⛄ says:

        Perhaps there is a way. My Hilton Barclaycard was due to expire November this year but the security code on the back wore off. In January I requested a replacement and the new card now says 2022. May be another way to prolong a card’s life if/before a culling starts?

        • You saying that eg if an existing HH card expires next month Barclaycard wouldn’t send a replacement?

        • But card expiry date doesn’t bear any relation to the contractual relationship the card company has – we know from MBNA that they’ve still cancelled cards when they were within expiry date.

        • Cate ⛄ says:

          What I’m saying is that when I requested a replacement Hilton Barclay card the expiry date on the new replacement card had moved from November 2018 to November 2022. It had effectively moved the expiry date on two years on a card which is now closed.

          There is nothing we can do about culling. But if they decided not to cull and let it run out naturally I’ve just been gifted two extra years.

        • Cate ⛄ says:

          Sorry gentleman, scrub the dates in the top as I’ve just checked it.

          Ordered replacement card in January which was due to run out November 2018. The replacement card which arrived now says valid from 01/18 to 2021.

          I hope that makes sense..

  8. Mikee says:

    Signed up and received acceptance this morning. Plan is to spend £7k topping-up my Revolut £ account and burn though that over the next 12 months through conversion to $$ and Euros on my foreign trips. Lloyds also gave me 29 months 0% APR on new purchases and am hoping the Revolut top-up registers as a normal purchase rather than a financial transaction so I can take advantage of what would be an interest-free loan (my previous Revolut £ top-ups using Virgin Black Visa and Barclaycard Hilton Visa have all registered as normal purchases rather than financial transactions and has helped me earn miles/trigger the Hilton Free Night voucher).

    I’m assuming that spending the £7k straight away will trigger the vouchers immediately so that I don’t risk loosing out if they suddenly pull the benefits. Any suggestions on whether I should stagger the £7k across multiple transactions to avoid the transactions being declined by either Lloyds or Revolut?

    • Graeme says:

      Do Revolut top ups count as purchases and are fee free on the Lloyds Amex? I believe the Mastercard and visa are classed as purchases (the exception being on the IHG card as some have reported).

      I need to top up soon so this could be useful ..

    • Memesweeper says:

      Topping up another account earns no Avios according to the T&Cs. Good chance it will work though!

  9. Chelseafi says:

    O/T Amex Plat referral MP, I referred friend who applied and was accepted last Sat (6 days ago) but still this morning no referral points added to my account. This morning I referred OH and was accepted straight away, checked account this afternoon and I have 18k, question how long does it usually take for points to hit account? I’m hoping around 6 days so I know these are from 1st referral and I should get another 18k in next week or so. Thanks

    • johnny_c-l says:

      Normally for me referral points arrive a few days after application but this week I had some arrive a couple of days after the card had arrived.

    • Maybe the 18k you is for the referral of your friend whilst your partners referral hasnt landed yet.

  10. What’s the general feeing about the Lloyds card? I’ve got some spends coming up in April, council tax, car tax and a few others, am wondering whether to trigger BAPP 2 4 1 or Lloyds upgrade.

  11. eggsalid says:

    Slightly OT – not sure if people have spotted this already but just applied and the Amex Gold Companion CC is currently a 5k bonus on £500 in first three months (as opposed to the old 3k bonus)

    • JamesB says:

      It has been discussed a few times in comments.

    • Craig Strickland says:

      Same deal for Platinum.

    • Jonnyenglish says:

      I hit the £500 target spend pretty swiftly but I have now been told by their customer service dept that I have to wait until the three month anniversary of successfully applying for the Gold CCC before the points will be awarded. Normally all other Amex target spend bonuses are awarded as soon as the target is hit so I’m not sure if that was correct advice or not.

      • mark2 says:

        For the Platinum equivalent my wife received the MR points on reaching the target, but making us wait for the 90 days would not be too much of a surprise to reduce churning.

    • Is this targeted? No banner when I log onto my account, and live chat just told me there is no active offer…

  12. JamesB says:

    OT: New Virgin ISA launched yesterday through 31 May. 8000 FC miles for 6 consecutive monthly minimum payments of £150 or £5000 lump sum. They reserve right to withdraw miles if cancelled within 12 months.
    https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/va/

  13. Steve Smith says:

    I went for the choice cards rather than Avios 18 months ago as I don’t stay away or fly enough to make the most of Avios. I am expecting trend shortly and my interest free period ends in July. Time for a proper Amex then!!!

  14. Nicholas says:

    I had hoped this card would continue as just a MasterCard only offer! Albeit much lower earning but better than nothing. That will be a real shame if this will just become a standard Lloyds MasterCard.

  15. Albert says:

    Applied on the telephone, was easy enough – the dude said they hadn’t received any information that it would be discontinued (this obviously contradicts the statement in the article) and furthermore that if it is discontinued the product wouldn’t be withdrawn from existing customers, just closed to new applicants…

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