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Lloyds starts to close its Lloyds Duo Avios and Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express cards

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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?

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.

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.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Comments (212)

  • M says:

    OT but Lloyds Voucher related:
    Might not be the best use of the upgrade voucher but can it be used on the intra-Europe flights?

    • Lev441 says:

      It needs to be a BA flight, but the starting point doesn’t need to be the uk like the amex 2 41 voucher..

    • KevMc says:

      I think the T’s & C’s state that it must be used to originate or end in the UK

      • Vivian says:

        Not necessarily. I used mine last month to book one-way DUB-LHR-HKG.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Nope, I use mine HKG-LHR-HKG

        • KevMc says:

          Those two flights fit the criteria I said – first one ends in the UK and the second one starts in the UK…

        • guesswho2000 says:

          You’re right, my mistake, but my point remains, the can be used on flights not including the UK, I could use them in the SIN-SYD leg, except that’s more hassle than it’s worth, given that I don’t live in NSW.

      • Alan says:

        No they don’t – however needs to be on a BA service so there’s precious (except for some in the Bahamas, etc?) that don’t start or end in the UK…

    • pauldb says:

      Assuming you mean BA flights LON-XXX or vv, yes you can (no partners). I’ve used most of mine this way and the saving of 8000-20000 avios is still good return on the voucher’s cost (and flying CE can open up more availability). However the £ value you get for it is only whatever you’d pay for CE over ET: try and book flights/times where you at least get a decent meal onboard and an outstation lounge.

  • J says:

    My Shop Small excitement is waning by the month. No more splitting bills across seven cards.

  • Soloflyer1977 says:

    My annual fee is due tomorrow and I have an interest free period until the end of 2019…I wonder how that will pan out

  • Mikeact says:

    A shame they’re going, but inevitable.

  • 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…

  • Jenny says:

    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…

    • Rob says:

      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!

      • zark says:

        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.

        • Rob says:

          It isn’t clear.

    • Richard Follows says:

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

  • 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?

    • DaveL says:

      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 🙂

        • Polly says:

          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.

    • Walty says:

      Calculate yourself from your card anniversary date.

      • meta says:

        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.

  • Oh Matron! says:

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

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