Bits: changes to the little-known TSB Avios credit cards, Heathrow Rewards bonus, IHG ‘UK staycations’ 20% discount

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News in brief:

Changes to the lesser-spotted TSB Avios credit cards

New HFP readers may not know that TSB used to issue two Avios credit cards.

When TSB separated from Lloyds, part of the divorce proceedings involved custody of the Avios contract.  TSB ended up retaining the right to issue an Avios credit card, but it was weaker than the Lloyds Avios Rewards card.  Unsurprisingly, it was pulled from the market soon after.

Existing cardholders have retained their cards.  However, with American Express pulling all of its licensing deals, the American Express element of the TSB Avios package is ending on 27th September.

In addition, the TSB Premier Avios credit card – which offered a companion voucher – is being closed completely from the same date. 

Going forward:

TSB Avios credit card holders will only have a Mastercard product, not an Amex

Premier card holders will be moved to the standard card

The earning rate will be a poor 0.2 Avios per £1 on UK spend and the slightly better – albeit with a 3% FX fee – 0.4 Avios per £1 on overseas spend

What is the best alternative?

If you still have the TSB Avios credit cards, I recommend you switch to the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard (representative APR 18.9% variable).

The earning rate on this card isn’t great either, but it is the best Avios Visa or Mastercard available unless you are wealthy enough to qualify for HSBC Premier.  You earn 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £8 spent – calculated on a ‘per transaction’ basis, so small transactions are penalised.  You are still likely to come out ahead on UK spending.

There is currently a sign-up bonus of 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios) on one specific version of the Tesco Clubcard Mastercardsee here for details.  There is no annual fee.

If you are happy to walk away from Avios, you can’t beat the new Virgin Atlantic MastercardThe free card has a 5,000 mile bonus and offers a whopping 0.75 miles per £1 – almost 4x what the TSB Avios card earns!  The annual fee card has a 15,000 mile bonus and offers 1.5 miles per £1.

TSB Avios credit card closing

TSB Avios credit card changes

More on the Heathrow Rewards 50% / 100% bonuses

Yesterday I ran a fairly complex article showing how you could redeem your Amex Membership Rewards points for 1p each this week.

I caveated the original article with a few risk factors about timings.  It seems I was too  cautious because a few people tried out my scheme yesterday and it worked perfectly.  From our comments:

“Just did this having not even created an Emirates account before. MR to Emirates, Emirates to Heathrow and Heathrow to redeemed shopping vouchers all went off without a hitch. The bonus Heathrow points from the Emirates transfer posted instantly too!”

IHG launches UK staycations promotion

We recently covered IHG’s special Manchester offer (click here) which gets you 20% off weekend breaks in the city until the end of the year.

A similar offer has now been rolled out for the rest of the UK.

Book via this link between now and 17th September and you will (apparently) save 20% on stays at all IHG hotels in the UK and Ireland.  I say ‘apparently’ because I was struggling to see much improvement on the examples I checked yesterday, but it is worth a look.  This offer is good for stays until 30th September, unlike the Manchester offer which is good until 31st December.

(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. Nate1309 says:

    OT how long from the £10k BAPP spend does the voucher appear in BAEC? TIA

  2. OT:
    Is there a way I can get Hilton Mauritius to price in £ rather than €?
    I am relying on platinum insurance and my understanding is the hotel needs to be booked with Amex too?
    So annoying coz otherwise I will have paid with Lloyd’s to avoid 3% fx fees.

    • It doesn’t have to be all booked on Amex – all that happens is you invalidate the hotel related parts. If your flight is delayed and you booked that you still get the £200 (AFAIK).

  3. William Avery says:

    Anyone got the new Lloyds Avios card yet?

    2) I know the companion voucher still applies for existing pax that have reached the spending limit but it is difficult to find out whether it has been applied online. Usually posted on Avios after September (in my case) but that will probably be closed by then?

    Got a felling a lot of people will be complaining when vouchers mysteriously disappear…

    • lev441 says:

      Nothing has been announced yet regarding the Lloyds avios card and nothing has changed for current cardholders…

      The latest t’s & c’s sent to cardholders last month had nothing in there suggesting the change would be imminent – although we can all assume it will change at some point in the future.

    • Mikeact says:

      Go into your Avios account on the AerLingus site, you’ll find it listed as usual.

      • I meant with the Avios.com website which is where mine post. I have to wait until the anniversary usually rather than when I’ve hit the target.

  4. Does anyone get an error when trying to add their EK account to their Amex account to do a points transfer?
    I have checked names, addresses, etc. all match but just get a generic error that it could not be added at this time.

    • Quick call should solve that.

    • Cinimo says:

      I managed to add an EK account by just including the numbers (not the EK prefix) without any spaces. Transfer was instant, as was transfer to Heathrow rewards (if that is what you are planning).

  5. pauldb says:

    OT: BA announce flights to PIT (Pittsburgh) from April 2019 (4 per week).

    • That’s good to know as we often use 2 4 1 and upgrade vouchers to fly CW to the eastern US en route to the Caribbean. Which UK airport will these flights depart from? (Still hoping that one day BA will reintroduce some long haul routes from MAN).

      • Years ago I flew LHR-PIT-SAT on BA. No idea what it’s like as a destination though!

  6. Robman says:

    Quick car rental off-topic. Need to book a rental car in the USA for a week. I find that if I say that I am a US resident, the car rental is £400, if I say that I am UK resident the rental becomes over £600.
    What would be the impact on me, if I signed up for the rental as a US resident? Would I get away with it or would I be putting myself in a bad legal situation, if something happened to the car. What are people’s experiences?

    • Not sure if this is the reason for the price difference in your case, but a ,lot of US rental companies seem to require foreign residents to buy vehicle insurance with the rental. Check to see what’s included with the booking in both cases. I assume it’s because they don’t want foreign visitors having a bump then flying off home where it would be very difficult to chase them for the repair costs. Sometimes you can just get CDW instead of fully comprehensive cover which costs less.

      • Robman says:

        thanks Anna, thats helpful and I’ll try to compare whats included or not included. With the Amex Platinum card giving the excess insurance, I’d be hoping that I’d be ok. I’m not sure that they would check the billing address on the credit card is in the US?

        • Bagoly says:

          Usually even cheaper if you say Australian Resident – the difference is all about what insurance is included.
          Independent Excess Insurance covers the most egregious pricing, but does not cover the main insurance element, so as I have nothing that does cover the main element, I do not book using “Australian terms”.

          I am less sure about the reason.
          It may be just based on norms per country as to what to include.
          If based on E.g. UK law mandating certain inclusion, it’s somewhat odd for contractual basis to be country of residence rather than country of service.

    • I also don’t see how you can rent the vehicle as a US resident as they will want your home address, for the rental and to make sure it matches the billing address on your credit card.

    • pauldb says:

      If there’s no loyalty scheme factor, I’ve often booked through orbitz or Expedia.com simply because (in case) you then never have to declare you residency. And it’s never proved a problem. Make sure you have adequate insurance – the US rate may have less cover.

    • Robman – try autoslash for the best rental prices.

      • Robman says:

        thanks Alex. That also gave me a very similar rate to being resident in the USA.
        If I have an Amex Platinum card with the excess insurance, do I need to take the CDW cover that is offered on the site?

        • Simon says:

          auto slash often give no insurance in my experience so excess insurance won’t be enough. By the time you have added their (autoslash/priceline) cover, the prices could be similar to booking in UK?

        • pauldb says:

          Amex Plat has full insurance cover, not just excess insurance, so no you don’t need to pay for CDW.

    • Mikee says:

      US residents are quoted rates without the additional insurance such as CDW and SLI. This is because many US credit cards include this insurance coverage as part of their benefits package.
      Selecting a non US resident option automatically adds the additional insurance coverage as it’s assumed those people require coverage.
      I’ve always chosen the US resident option as I have either had an Amex Platinum charge card which includes car rental coverage or I have purchased an annual car rental excess policy which provides the appropriate cover. There’s never been any issue for me with entering a non US address whilst receiving the US resident rental rate.

      • Ian MacKenzie says:

        We’ve just come back from holiday in Florida.
        Because of bad thunderstorms throughout middle Florida our flight Orlando to Key West was cancelled. Forecast for next day was no better so decided to hire a car and drive Orlando to Key West.
        I had tested the one way hire Key West to Miami in the UK before travelling and it seemed pretty cheap.
        When booking in Orlando, the one way charge was around USD $ 100 until I put in UK residency and the one way charge dropped off (!! ??).
        Also Dollar hire rate included all insurances – worked out at GBP £58 for both one-day hires MCO-Key West and Key West-MIA.
        (Avis had a surcharge of USD $40-50 for insurances)

  7. raz0r says:

    OT: Has anyone purchased Avios for Iberia using the recent Spanish Groupon offer? Wondering how long it takes to tranfer to IB Plus account as needed the extra points to book flight.

  8. “You earn 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £8 spent – calculated on a ‘per transaction’ basis, so small transactions are penalised. You are still likely to come out ahead on UK spending”

    with the headline Tesco rate of 0.3 avios per £1 converting into something like 0.03 avios per £1 when using it for everyday spending … the TSB 0.2 avios is considerably better than Tesco for everyday spending !

  9. Clive says:

    New SPG/Marriott programme goes live 18th Aug. Sure we will have a post in the morning

  10. Martin says:

    TSB wrote to me earlier in the week to tell me about these changes. They then wrote to me again today to tell me specifically that my Amex card would be ceasing. That would be fine, but I closed my TSB Avios cards over a year ago.

  11. Benylin says:

    OT: Sorry new to tbis so bare with my amateur question. I have a Gold Charge card, now going to upgrade to Platinum via the popular link. I will then hit the spending amount pretty quickly, and also refer a few people. Then I want to cancel asap to reduce the annual fee charge.
    1) will I lose all my amex points immediately? Or is there a grace period for holding the points in your account before you are forced to spend them.
    2) if I open a BA Amex via self refer before I close, can I keep my Amex points (in Amex currency not Avios)?

    I want to leave in Amex points format to retain flexibility.

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