Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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? – May 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. Apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (212)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Doug says:

    I assume any upgrade voucher that has been issued is safe beyond the card closure?

  • pommy ray says:

    strange I got a changing your terms and conditions in July effective 21 Sept 2018. no mention or removing anything more to do with admin fees etc. annual fee and no currency fees was on there. most odd given what could be around the corner!

  • jtz says:

    Sorry posted this again here, because I think its more appropriate…

    Hi all,
    I’m currently still on my Amex gold charge card and was contemplating upgrading to plat and doing some cross referrals for churning….except, I don’t have enough spend….
    my hopes were definitely to get the spg and move all MR to spg, currently have approx 60k MR and then take advantage of a nice Maldives spg hotel before the merger….but now that’s kind of gone, I’m not sure what to do….OH moved all his MR . to hilton before he referred me and has approx 170k…I’d love to use that in Rangali or the new resort due to open in 2019…
    I’m not really avios rich either 20k and doubt we would put a lot of value on redeeming them for business or first, unless the miles opportunity was really easy and worth the numbers (90k iberia, I would have done, but no routes that appealed, so stuck to 18k, but waiting for 9k) probably use them for last minute RFS

    My bucket list destinations are the far east including Bali, and of course Maldives….
    Really confused on what I should aim for, ideas would be great….I think if I got a bit risky…I can try some MS…(without OH knowing!)

    • Genghis says:

      Researching destinations is a really fun thing. I keep a spreadsheet of places my wife and I would like to go. When we then come across a nugget of information – sights, hotels, restaurants, bars etc (from reading STTM, FT travel, facebook, insta etc), I add to it to the list. I then look at the list when I’m thinking about specific trips I’d like to do.

      My advice is to work out what you want to do first and then work out how you’re going to get there. Thinking I’ve got X number of points and I can do this and this with them isn’t really how I want to do my travelling.

      So perhaps think about where in Asia you want to go, what you want to experience, and then look at nearby hotels / airlinks etc and then strategise your points earning to achieve that.

      • jtz says:

        Thanks Genghis, I do the exact same thing on evernote and pinterest and my blog….except, I have too many destinations now that I’d love to go to, some are short trips, some are longer and some are just super epic adventures (I’d put Maldives in that one)

        Thing is though, because I don’t have many points I wanna max what I have got out….I just spent the last couple of hours researching RFS and some destinations look pretty good points v cash price on some weekends.

        • Genghis says:

          Like I said, who cares if the “value” on points to Frankfurt, for example, is great, who would want to go there for a weekend break?

        • RussellH says:

          There are many, many, far worse places for a weekend break than Frankfurt, but if it does not appeal, Mainz is just a short rail journey from the airport, only a little further than Frankfurt in fact, and is an excellent place for a stay of a few days.
          The Hyatt was certainly excellent when I stayed there, great location on the bank of the Rhine and the most amazing breakfast buffet I have seen anywhere.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I’d go there for some decent beer & a sausage or two, do they go in for Winter markets by any chance?

          Only a weekend, mind 🙂

    • mike says:

      just on that subject as you mention it, I think this ” bonanza” that has all the blogs going crazy of booking any category 8 spg/Marriott hotel for 60k Marriott points from 18 august is going to turn out to be a unicorn. happy to be corrected on this, by rob or anyone else, but what I have read does not give me any indication that spg’s current program, which guarantees points can be used if a standard room is available, will continue. therefore, if I were a cat 8 hotel, I would simply not make points booking available to book until 1st jan, when the same room will cost circa 85k rather than 60k points.

      • jtz says:

        I think its no longer available now….or unless you have the sufficient amount of points already in your spg account and not waiting for amex transfers

    • the real harry1 says:

      So you’re saying no IB 90K routes appealed, ie any route of your choice out of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines, plus some 30 affiliated airlines?

      You must be very picky.

      • Mikeact says:

        +1 Dead easy, absolutely no problem for us to use up the lot.

      • jtz says:

        Hey Harry,
        I looked at the routes Rob suggested in the articles, this was during the time it was assumed they could only be used on iberia, those did not appeal….if you mean on BA, then yes! There are far too many that appeal!

        • jtz says:

          oh…or that you can’t cancel on partner airlines….that was the breaker

  • Darren says:


    When transferring SPG to Avios can this be done direct from the Amex SPG account or does it have to be from the SPG members acc only?

  • Nigel says:

    Just spoken to Lloyds, person on the phone said it they were informed in detail of the changes.

    The key thing is the ‘7k Challenge’ as I call. So the person said spend on the new card will be included towards the 7k UNTIL 2nd Feb 2019. Therefore Jan/Feb 2010 will be the deadline for the final vouchers.

    • Darren says:


    • Jenny says:

      Great news. Thanks for the update.

    • KevMc says:

      That’d be great if that’s the case, as my new card year starts at the end of November

      • pauldb says:

        I’m not sure you can take comfort there. The window of opportunity may apply to those in their new year who have paid their annual fee, but if you are post-changes in November and don’t pay the fee you could be excluded from the extension. Potentially.

  • Nick says:

    How to do you know if you have earned a voucher ? From my calculations from repayments made to the card I have spent more than 7k few weeks ago but have no voucher.

    • Anna says:

      It normally gets added when they generate the statement for the next month, so it can be a few weeks before you see it. You can always give them a ring and ask them to confirm it’s been issued.

    • Octopus says:

      I unexpectedly found a newly issued voucher valid from end of July in my Avios account. I had stopped using the cards as I did not want to trigger the voucher yet! Based on statement repayments I had a further £120 to spend before reaching the £7k minimum, so unless they excluded refunded amounts I’m not sure why the voucher was issued ????

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Both Mrs Yorkieflyer and I had the same, voucher issued just short of the 7k, quite annoying. I wonder where the voucher will sit in future, BAEC or Avios account closed linked to Aer Lingus. Then will be able to us BAEC household Avios when redeeming the Lloyd s voucher???

  • Linda says:

    With the reward voucher for the £7k spend, Nigel wonder if they will put that in writing, as things promised over the phone have no validity.

    I have spoken with Avios and they said the site will close to UK by the end of November all vouchers and Avios will transfer to BAEC to use as per conditions as well as your 2-4-1.

    I am also hoping to use another voucher as have a car to pay for anytime which will take me over the £7k threshold.

    I tried at Heathrow to upgrade the Lloyds upgrade voucher and they said no way, I could do it with cash but not Avios, he said the system would not let him upgrade to First as it would have ben two steps it was all coded in the ticket system he let me look at on his screen .

    • Mikeact says:

      Have you found a friendly garage that will take around £7k on your card ?

      • Roberto says:

        Can you not pay with a curve debit card linked to the Lloyds card in the background?

        The 20p or whatever the garage pays for a debit card transaction is inconsequential..

      • Mark2 says:

        I paid £8,000 on SPG card.

      • Pid says:

        I bought a new car using two IHG cards and getting two free hotel nights 🙂

  • Stephen says:

    What I find interesting about the current credit card landscape is that, with the Virgin Premium Mastercard on the market, there is not a single Amex card that gives a higher return, and most of them are worse.

    If you want Avios then the BAPP matches it, at 1.5/£, but most others are all stuck at 1 point/£. The main exception to this is the Starwood card, if you transfer in blocks of 60,000 (nee 20,000) points. But that is still only 1.25/£.

    There are obviously other benefits to collecting MR points vs. Virgin points, but it seems strange that non-capped Amex cards are being beaten, for long-term spending, by a capped Mastercard.

    • Rob says:

      The only uncapped Amex cards are Gold, Platinum, Green and Amex Rewards. Difficult to compare a £160 card with free ones though.

      ARGUABLY the most valuable card on the market is the one we generally ignore – Amex Rewards. 1 point per £1, transferable to lots of people, and free for ever. It is only because having this stops you churning Gold and Plat that we don’t push it more.

      Other cards only get more valuable if you spend enough to defray the fee. And then you have to factor in the spend target vouchers ….

      • BJ says:

        Any thoughts as to why amex do not allow us to refer these rewards credit cards?

      • Wongster says:

        Amex Rewards is not free for ever though, only the first year……

        • Rob says:

          Amex Rewards Credit Card (the Blue one, not Amex Gold) is free for life

      • Stephen says:

        I wasn’t trying to compare free vs. fee paying cards, but there aren’t any MR Amex cards that give more than 1 pt/£, fee or no fee. The Platinum card being the obvious candidate for a higher rate given the fee (as you mention in you review).

        As you point out, and I had forgotten, the cards with higher earning rates (BAPP and, indirectly, Starwood) are subject to interchange caps, making it even more noteworthy, and proof that the caps aren’t preventing good deals for the consumer.

        Does Gold still offer 1.5 points for an initial period on supermarket spend?

        • Genghis says:

          Arguably the Amex Gold is 1.6 MR/£ (not counting any sign ups) on the first £15k spend pa.

    • Rob says:

      The key issue is really Virgin’s limited route network. It also has smaller premium cabins so getting more than 2 seats per flight in Upper is harder.

      The big question is what happens when Air France and KLM join as Flying Club partner in 9 months or so. If the pricing is reasonable then, literally, the whole world opens up to you (with a change of plane in Paris or Amsterdam). We can’t be sure how this work out though.

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