The HFP comments section has been filled over the weekend with people who are confused about what has happened to their Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express card in the last few days.
As we covered in the past, Lloyds Bank is in the process of converting all existing Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express and Mastercard cards to a new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard. It comes in the light green colour pictured below.
The key features of the new card are:
- the upgrade voucher is dead
- there will no longer be an annual fee, saving £24 (your old fee will be refunded pro-rata)
- there will be foreign exchange fees of 3%
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 Avios Rewards 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 balance transfer option is a great deal when Lloyds runs its occasional ‘no fee’ promotions. You move as much money as you can, pay it off the same day and pocket a big pile of Avios!
Lloyds has been writing to some, but by no means all, cardholders over the last couple of months giving them the required 60 days notice of the changes.
This being Lloyds, of course, things have not gone to plan.
This is what seems to have happened:
Most (all, according to the call centre, but this is not true) Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express cards have been cancelled in the last few days
Whether or not you have had the letter giving you the legally required notice, many people have had their American Express card shut down
Your existing Mastercard and Amex may have started to incur foreign exchange charges
Lloyds has switched over the benefits of your existing Mastercard without replacing it. A new card will follow in a few weeks, but it appears the terms have already changed. Many readers are reporting 3% foreign exchange fees showing up online for overseas transactions made in the last week or so.
Your existing Mastercard is now earning Avios at the new higher rate of 0.4 Avios per £1
The fee refund on your existing card should be showing on your Lloyds online account as well as the number of the new Mastercard you haven’t received yet
Many readers who are currently travelling have been taken by surprise by this switch. There are two problems:
People who HAD received the letter from Lloyds Bank were assuming that their existing terms and conditions (ie no FX fees) applied until they received their new-look Mastercard. This appears to NOT be the case. The letter did NOT have a switchover date on it so there was no way that people could have known when FX charging and the Amex closure were due to kick in.
Many people whose Amex cards have been closed have not received the letter at all, which means that Lloyds Bank is not legally allowed to switch them over. Comments yesterday on HFP suggest that telephone agents at Lloyds can even see that you have not received your letter as it would be showing on your file if sent.
I’m not sure what the next steps are from here, except to say that:
Be wary of leaving the house with just your Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express card, as it may not work
Be very wary of spending outside the UK on your existing Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard, because you may well incur FX fees
If you do incur FX fees for transactions on your old Mastercard, get on the phone to Lloyds Bank and insist on a refund
If you have not received the ’60 days notice’ letter from Lloyds Bank and your American Express card is dead and/or your Mastercard has started to incur FX fees, consider making a formal complaint against Lloyds Bank for breach of contract
Keep an eye on your letterbox for your new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard over the next few weeks
Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add to what we know so far.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)