Lloyds starts to close its Duo and Avios Rewards Amex cards – what should you do?

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Lloyds Bank is sending out letters to holders of the legacy Lloyds Duo Avios credit cards announcing that the cards are closing in 2-3 months time.  The exact date was not given.

This is the first stage of a process.  Letters will be following to holders of the Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express and Mastercard double pack.

The Lloyds Duo Avios American Express and Mastercard package will be replaced with a new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard.  There will be no American Express element.

I have been told that existing Lloyds Avios Rewards Amex and Mastercard holders will be moved to the same product although, until we see that letter, this isn’t certain.  My understanding is that, for Lloyds Avios Rewards cardholders:

  • the upgrade voucher is dead (you will be allowed to earn one for your current card year)
  • there will no longer be an annual fee
  • there will be foreign exchange fees

However, this is an article for another day when we see the first of the letters.  Today I want to focus on how the changes impact holders of the Lloyds Duo Avios credit cards.

This is the earnings rate on the new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard:

0.4 Avios per £1 you spend in the UK

0.8 Avios per £1 you spend outside the UK

0.4 Avios per £1 transferred on a balance transfer

Because the Mastercard element of the old Duo Avios cards was so poor, this actually represents an improvement.  You currently get 0.2 Avios per £1 on the Mastercard in the UK and 0.4 Avios per £1 elsewhere.

The big drop is on the balance transfer rate, which was previously 1.5 Avios per £1.  A lot of readers did exceptionally well from this offer, because Lloyds would often have periods when there was no balance transfer fee.  You could move a balance for free from another credit card, pick up 1500 Avios per £1000, and then immediately pay off the amount before any noticeable interest was incurred!

Based on the leaked information we saw recently, I would expect that holders of a Club Lloyds current account will earn an extra 0.1 Avios per £1 (0.2 Avios per £1 for foreign transactions).  This takes you up to 0.5 Avios per £1 for UK spending and 1 Avios per £1 for foreign spending.  For this to kick in, you must have had a Club Lloyds current account for at least six months.

And if you had the £50 fee premium version of the Lloyds Duo Avios card?

I don’t know.  I haven’t heard from a reader who had that version.  I would imagine that the premium card is being scrapped and that everyone is being moved to the free version outlined above.  This would mean the end of the 2-4-1 voucher, although that is not a major loss as it was restricted to Economy travel.  This is only an educated guess at this stage.

Lloyds Avios Duo credit cards closing

Is the card worth keeping as a Mastercard?

If you want to earn Avios, yes.  It is more generous than the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard (0.3 Avios per £1).  The HSBC Premier cards are better (0.5 Avios per £1 on the free card, 1 per £1 on the paid card) but HSBC Premier has tough income and asset criteria and requires you to have a current account with them.

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

What is the best replacement American Express card?

If you have been using the American Express element of the Lloyds Duo Avios cards for your daily spending, you will need a replacement.  Assuming that you want to keep earning Avios, here are your FIVE options ranked in order of sign-up bonus:

American Express Platinum    Sign-up bonus:  30,000 Amex Membership Rewards points = 30,000 Avios

(£450 per year, earns 1 Avios per £1, my Amex Platinum review)

British Airways Premium Plus American Express   Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Avios

(£195 per year, earns 1.5 Avios per £1, representative APR 76.0% variable including £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, my BA Premium Plus review)

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold   Sign-up bonus:  20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points = 20,000 Avios

(free, earns 1 Avios per £1 with a 10000 point bonus for spending £15000 in a year, representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit, my Amex Gold review)

Starwood SPG Amex   Sign-up bonus:  30,000 points = 10,000 Avios

(£75 per year, earns 1 Avios per £1 jumping to 1.25 Avios per £1 if you convert in chunks of 60,000 points, representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, my Starwood Amex review)

Amex Rewards Credit Card   Sign-up bonus:  0 – 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points = 0 – 10,000 Avios

(free, earns 1 Avios per £1, APR and sign-up bonus depends on which of the three versions you get, my Amex Rewards review)

In my view, these are the best two options:

British Airways Premium Plus American Express – the No 1 attraction is the 2-4-1 voucher that you receive for spending £10,000 each year. This is valid on Avios redemptions in ALL classes and saves you, for eg, 150,000 Avios on two Club World peak day tickets to San Francisco. Coupled with a high earnings rate, all serious Avios collectors should have one of these.

(If you travel solo, though, ignore it as the 2-4-1 has no value to you.  Similarly, if you cannot spend £10,000 per year on the Amex to trigger the voucher then look elsewhere and save £195.  You also need to be certain that you can generate enough Avios per year to use the 241 voucher effectively – although reading HFP will make that easier!)

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – this card offers the most generous sign-up bonus for a free card.  You receive 20,000 Amex points for signing up (=20,000 Avios) and there is no fee for Year 1 (£140 thereafter).  You also receive two Lounge Club airport lounge passes among other benefits.

These cards work well if you fall into a specific niche:

British Airways American Express – the free BA Amex has a decent (for a free card) rate of 1 Avios per £1. However, do not get this card if you are planning to spend the £20,000 required to earn the 2-4-1 voucher – this article explains why the free BA American Express card can be a bad deal.

American Express Platinum – you should consider applying for this card if you think you can get value from the travel benefits.  Focus on the 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus, the Priority Pass for airline lounge access, Eurostar lounge access, the Starwood hotels Gold card (which also gets you Marriott Gold following the merger), Hilton Honors Gold, Shangri-La Jade, Melia Rewards Gold and the Radisson Rewards Gold cards.  Many people find that they end up keeping the card despite their initial intentions because of the value of the travel insurance, lounge access and other perks.  For day to day spending, 1 point (= 1 Avios) per £1 is a bit of a joke considering the annual fee.

Starwood SPG American Express – the day-to-day earnings rate of 3 points (= 1 Avios) per £1 isn’t bad and you get the flexibility to convert to 40+ different airlines as well as using your points for Starwood or Marriott hotels.  You also get an enhanced conversion rate of 1.25 Avios per £1 when you convert in chunks of 60,000 points.  The sign-up bonus is 30,000 points, which converts to 10,000 Avios.  The £75 annual fee is refunded pro-rata if you cancel.  For long term use, this card would be exceptional if it was free but the £75 fee curtails its value.

Amex Rewards Credit Cardthis is the only ‘free for life’ Amex card which earns Membership Rewards points.  You get 1 point per £1 and these convert 1:1 into Avios BUT you can also use them for other airline schemes or transfers to Hilton, Radisson and SPG / Marriott.  This card is better than the free British Airways American Express if you won’t spend £20,000 to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher because, whilst both are free and earn 1 Avios per £1, Amex Rewards gives you alternative reward options.  The downside of the Amex Rewards Credit Card is that holding it stops you getting a sign-up bonus if you take out an Amex Gold or Amex Platinum card.

Don’t forget that our directory of all UK airline and hotel credit cards can be found here.

(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. Mikeact says:

    A shame they’re going, but inevitable.

  2. Lev441 says:

    Another one bites the dust!! It really is becoming a bit of a bloodbath, can only really blame the interchange fee cap and although a British idea, it has really damaged the choice of rewards cards out there. This years shop small is going to become pretty useless!

    Luckily my card is coming up for renewal this month so will be able to push through another £7k before the closure…

  3. So based on the above, do we have 3 months at most to earn the upgrade voucher? Have 3 3k spend left but should be doable if I have 3 months…

    • If your new card year starts before your current card dies you can earn one next year too.

      • Jenny Fletcher says:

        Okay thanks! Was going to move my spend from amex gold to Lloyds amex rewards, but won’t if there’s no rush. My card renews in Feb, so two vouchers is optimistic!

      • Rob,
        Could you clarify.
        Forinstance, my earnings year ends September 15th (already achieved £7K & voucher for 17/18). The annual fee appears each year on October 11th statement. Does this mean that I have between September 15th and October 10th to spend £7K and rarn a further voucher?

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Yes, correct. My year was June-June, fee charged in July. Spending between 15/6 and whenever last month I hit £7k was all that was needed to trigger the voucher.

        • It isn’t clear.

    • Richard Follows says:

      how do you see how much you have left to spend.

  4. Claire says:

    How do you see how much you have spent on the LLoyds Avios cards? Can you access that info online or do you have to calculate it yourself / call them & ask?

    • I couldn’t find an easy way…so totalled up credits (easier than debits) plus outstanding balance to find total spend

      • Claire says:

        Would be easier if they had a spend bar like BA Amex (although it runs a few days behind) I think I will give them a call, find out how much I have to spend and get it spent, its going to be about 2.5k – thanks 🙂

        • Very antiquated IT systems in lloyds. Even their website is awful. This all the compo amounts when avios didn’t post. Some folks here earned 100s…they just can deal with the complexity of avios. And am sure they are glad to be rid of it. They must have got 1000s of complaint calls past couple of years.
          I was hoping MBNA would take on their avios part, but no such luck.

      • Genghis says:

        Probably easiest to add up all amounts actually paid off + outstanding balance.
        That way avoid counting refunds.

    • Calculate yourself from your card anniversary date.

      • Yes, I have a spreadsheet where I enter all the spend info at least on a weekly basis. If I am close to triggering then I do it more often. Same with 241 voucher and sign up bonuses.

  5. Oh Matron! says:

    As per my comment above, Tandem have the same deal, only their app doesn’t suck donkey spheroids.

  6. No. Gold CC in same family as plat. Need to cancel and wait six months. Why not refer for the SPG if you don’t already have it?

    • Thank you
      Can i self-refer myself to the SPG Card?

      How does this work in practice? email myself the referral link? If successful, I get the SPG card with 30,000 SPG points, converted to 10,000 avios

      and also 18,000 membership reward points?

      • Genghis says:

        Yes. Just copy and paste your link into a new browser and apply. 18k Membership Reward points +33k new scheme Marriott points.

      • Genghis says:

        Yes. Just copy and paste your link into a new browser and apply. 18k Membership Reward points +33k new scheme Marriott points.

  7. Jake Mcloughlin says:

    O/T: 2 quick questions.

    Me and my family want to boost our Avios balance. We are all part of the same BA household account.

    1: Can we individually and simultaneously obtain the sign up bonus for the BA prem plus, Amex gold and SPG Amex? (Fairly certain we can but want to check)

    2: Can we transfer the Amex membership rewards and SPG reward points to our BA accounts even though we are all part of the same household account? If so, how?

    • 1. Yes.
      2. Yes. By putting via the respective websites and by entering your BA number…

      • Jake Mcloughlin says:

        Thanks. Is step 2 really that easy.

        No need to go via Avios to move into household connected accounts?

        • Why would you need to go to avios. You retain your own BA account despite joining a household (it would be better named as a BA household pool)

    • Lev441 says:

      Yes and yes.

      The memberships rewards portal on the amex site has a page where you need to link the baec number and once you do that you can transfer over the points in increments of 1,000 (I think from memory).

      The SPG points will transfer over to your spg account once per month. Similarly, you will have to log in, provide some details to link your existing account and then request the points to transfer over. Remember that you’d get a bonus of 5k avios on every 60k spg points you transfer over..

    • Yes and yes

  8. Agreed

    • guesswho2000 says:

      How long it lasts remains to be seen though, it’s an obvious loss leader, but for what I don’t know, since MBNA stopped offering loans a long time ago, just credit cards now, to my knowledge. Unless it’s got something to do with Lloyds reeling customers in.

      • George says:

        How can we get a Horizon card if we never had an MBNA card? Regretting not applying when it all was about to be killed off!

        • You can’t, but the Tandem card gives the same benefits although possibly with a lower credit limit.

  9. Charlie T. says:

    Is it weird to be sentimental about credit cards?! The Lloyds Duo pack was my first credit card when I started work and has been in my wallet ever since for no particularly good reason (although the facts that it has a decent limit and that Lloyd’s wanted me to do a whole new application to get the Avios Reward card rather than just switching the existing cards are probably something to do with it). Was long enough ago that it came with Air Miles as the sign up bonus to start me off on this hobby. Can’t see me keeping the new card in preference to e.g. a cash back card though. Farewell old friend!

    • Yes it is weird, but keeping a card open for a long time is good for your credit reports. If you have lots of long standing accounts then one individual one doesn’t matter as much

    • Not at all. I still carry my old Amex Gold as it was my first charge/credit card. It’s been 4 years since I upgraded to Platinum now.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Haha I still have my first, it was an old Capital One Premier card, with the tiger on the front, somewhere. A mind blowing £200 credit limit and 29.9% APR, every 18 year old’s dream. It’s long since cancelled, but I’ve still got it somewhere!

      • Genghis says:

        My wife keeps her 12 year old Capital One card (no benefits, only a few hundred limit) as it’s the only card that I don’t manage. If she wants to buy me a surprise, she uses that so I can’t guess what it might be.

      • Genghis says:

        My wife still wants to keep her 12 year old Capital One card (no benefits, only a few hundred limit) for the times she wants to buy me a surprise as it’s the only card I don’t manage

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          My wife did that – and then forgot to pay the bill when it came in and we got hit with a £12 charge and interest. I was less than happy.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          £12 is a bargain, I remember I had mine before that particular ruling, when overlimit and missed payment fees were ~£35! I never got charged one, god knows how in my reckless teenage years!

  10. Nicholas says:

    So disappointed the 0% FX benefit is going! I really hope Lloyds keeps this benefit on the new card…

  11. krys_k says:

    The migration from avois.com to BAEC was pretty damaging as the previous set up meant that if like me you had three people in a family account any individual could use all three of the upgrade vouchers. After the migration that vouchers were linked to the person who earned them. So I went from three vouchers to one. And now it seems from one to zero. This was for me in my circumstances the best card as I had three J flights every year. I will miss the card and in time will bore people about the good old days of this here hobby.

    • lev441 says:

      You can still book flights in other peoples name using the voucher….

      • Planning to try this out soon…fingers crossed!

        • Had a nightmare trying to do this a few months ago. Eventually Avios let me do it but they tried to flog it off as this is an exception.

      • Darren says:

        Really, so I could gift the voucher and not fly myself?

        • Yep, you’d just need to make the booking – it’s a much better voucher than the BA 241!

      • lev441 says:

        @craig – there’s not a restriction in the t’s and c’s which say otherwise?! I’ve done it before online using a voucher in my dads name so not sure why they made a fuss!

        • In the TCs

          11.THE CARDHOLDER MUST TRAVEL ON ANY BOOKING MADE USING AN UPGRADE VOUCHER.

          I have one the expires at the end of this month and will go unused as a change of plan sees us on a Caribbean cruise rather than Koh Samui. Was planning to use it HKG-LBA.

          Shame I can’t use it for someone else.

        • Joseph Curtis says:

          @xcalx

          The terms indeed state that, but the Avios website doesn’t follow this rule. I booked an upgraded flight just the other day under a different name.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Nothing’s changed with my Avios.com account. I’m also Aerclub (for the 250 free Avios which never posted), which I think has kept it alive, but all my vouchers are still there, and my Lloyds Avios post there every month. Not sure if I’ll be able to move the vouchers to BAEC like everyone else (assume not), but I was able to pull the remaining IB+ Avios from the recent promo into the account.

      • Same here. I was hoping that the vouchers would move so that I could use the BAEC household avios with them. I’ve 2 vouchers in my name but avios split across 2 accounts

      • Callum says:

        As far as I’m aware, they’ve never said they would ever move to BA for anyone, nor do they plan to move any in the future.

        While your Avios may move, the vouchers will always remain with Avios and you will have to call them to book once the website is taken down.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Maybe not the vouchers…but given they were planning to move all your Avios to BAEC, they’d have to pull those from somewhere, and there was a possibility I’d’ve been able to use my entire HHA balance to book using the vouchers, rather than my own.

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