Has Lloyds closed your Avios Rewards Amex card – and imposed FX fees – without telling you?

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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.

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Comments

  1. If you click on the view my statement tab on your online account, you should see when your account was transferred over to the new card.

    I have a “statement” from April which reads “April 2019 – balance transferred from XXXX to new card XXXX”

    Bit odd that they transferred me over already as I thought it had to be 60 day notice before they could, which should have brought me to the end of May!

    • They do have to give you 60 days’ notice, it’s mentioned in the article!

    • Lady London says:

      Make sure you advise them promptly that as you haven’t received notice from them as required by the terms and conditions, you are not accepting the changes. Otherwise you will be deemed to have accepted them.

  2. Justin says:

    I rang the 0800 number that was on the letter they sent in March. The person I spoke to initially had no idea what I was on about, but eventually agreed to refund the transaction fee for a USD purchase made on 15 May (‘as a gesture of good will’). She confirmed that all transactions after the date would be on the new earning rate. She said she couldn’t help me with the Avios that I’d missed out on but suggested I ring the 0345 number on the back of the card. The guy there was a bit more helpful. He said he would have a word with the Avios team and put me on hold. After 15 minutes of waiting I had an existential crisis and decided 400 or so missing Avios wasn’t worth the hassle (and whatever calling an 0345 number from a mobile costs).

    • lev441 says:

      03 numbers are like dialing a 01 or 02 number from a mobile so no extra incurred costs!

  3. Nick_C says:

    Rob, are you trying to get a statement from Lloyds?

    • You’ll get any one of a number of stories depending on who you speak to…😂

    • No, because my experience of dealing with Lloyds is that I am wasting my time 🙂

      You may remember the great Lloyds Avios data leak last year, when literally hundreds of Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cardholders suddenly found, in the same week, charges from cloned credit cards used in the USA appearing on their statements – but Lloyds claimed it was all a coincidence and that no data leak had occurred ….

      • Lady London says:

        Wow. I bet the regulator would be interested in that one.

        • Unlikely. The story got into a few newspapers after I ran it and still nothing happened.

  4. the_real_a says:

    I phoned on Friday to understand when the cards would be swapped over as i wanted to avoid the Fx fee on an upcoming trip. Firstly the first agent had no clue what was being talked about – the second agent told they had already moved over in February… I explained this was not true. They then told me to call Avios (!). I escalated to a manager who told me that they sent the letter giving 60 days notice but the switchover could happen “at any time after that”. I explained this wasn’t an acceptable explanation – until reading the comments this morning i didn’t think any financial organisation would make a commercial decisions to operate in this way. I then raised a complaint, the agent told me specifically that Fx fees would not be charged at any time when using the old card. Only at the point of using the new card would the new earnings rates and fx fees kick in. I was bunged £25 for them to close the complaint… Guess all that was baloney!

  5. Speedbird676 says:

    Reading all of the comments, and my own experience, the only thing that is certain is… Lloyds have absolutely no idea what they are doing!

  6. I got the letter back in March, I made one purchase yesterday and one today (around 5 minutes ago before posting this) with my Lloyd’s Amex both worked however both transactions where online ones.

  7. The Lord says:

    Handy that my new Barclaycard arrived this weekend as an overseas spend alternative!

  8. n1david says:

    I’ve received a letter in the post this morning which states

    “Two months ago we let you know about changes we’re making to your credit card account and loyalty scheme terms and conditions. As of the date of this letter, we have made those changes.

    The letter is dated 15 May which means I guess that the US$4k charge I put through on Friday 17 May will incur an FX charge.

    The letter states that my new Mastercard should be with me within the next two weeks.

  9. George K says:

    No letter, and so far both cards working well. I’ve actually triggered another voucher… again.. and it seems like I won’t be able to use any..

  10. Graham says:

    I had been told the change would only happen ‘at the end of my card year’ so was expecting it in September. I’ve just had a £10 refund today.
    I’m going abroad in a few weeks so had been expecting to use this no-FX fee card so will need to depend on my curve card only.

    On the other hand, I am very very happy to get more avois for my unavoidably non-Amex spend and even opened a Club Lloyd’s account to boost the avios in preparation.

    • That is complete nonsense. If the changes were being done at the end of the card year they wouldn’t be refunding pro-rata fees.

  11. Chris says:

    Are people making the most of miles on balance transfers before their account is migrated? Do you get miles at the Amex or Mastercard rate? Just arranged a big spend but it went through at the Mastercard rate for me. Disappointing but certainly better than nothing!

    (No letter and no switch for me…)

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