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. I just (10 days ago) got replacements for both my Lloyds Avoid cards that I lost a week before.

    No mention of the Amex card being cancelled, but I have had a couple of security check holds on transactions, which is annoying.

  2. Nigel says:

    Got the letters today but my Amex card still works! Oh Lloyds….

    • Nigel says:

      Further update:

      Looks like my amex has now been charged for foreign transaction fees from last week (was in Israel). Phoned up and got the fees credited.

  3. David says:

    I got the same “15th May” letter today, and just rang Lloyds. The agent sounded totally confused to be honest, but the upshot seemed to be my Amex would keep working at the 1.25 avios and 0% FX rate for up to 30 days after 15th May.

    Trying my luck, I asked when the enhanced earnings for Club Lloyds customers would kick in, given I opened my Club Lloyds account in February. I got put on hold and passed to 2 different departments, before being passed to one that was closed and then being cut off. Customer service masterclass…

  4. Will T says:

    Ever so slightly OT: my parents have held the Lloyds duo cards for a long time but they have never received an upgrade voucher. I cannot see the vouchers on Avios.com or their duo Lloyd’s account. Reading through comments, I can see reports that Avios.com CS might be able to see the vouchers from their end OR alternatively parents could have an old duo pack that doesn’t get upgrade vouchers. Is there a way to tell which card (old duo cards or upgrade duo cards) they have without calling CS?

    • If they don’t pay a fee, they have the old cards and there is no voucher. If they are paying £24 then there is a voucher if they spend enough – BA can see it on their BAEC account (their Avios account will be closed).

  5. My Lloyds Amex was working fine until Saturday night, though had a declined transaction yesterday so presumably has now stopped working. If that is the case though it seems odd that it happened over the weekend.

    We have been in Spain. Fortunately though we’d stopped using the MasterCard in favour of Curve and Tandem.

    I did get the 60 day letter, and had expected to receive the replacement MasterCard prior to this trip so was a little surprised I hadn’t received it, nor a confirmed date for the old cards to cease working.

  6. I received my 2-month notice letter in March, dated 8th March. My card anniversary date is 10th May. I just reread the letter, and I surprisingly noticed that my annual spend from 10/05/2019 to 09/05/2020 will count towards a new upgrade voucher, despite the fact that the account number on my online banking has already been updated to the new MC (haven’t received yet)! It’s specifically written on the second page of the letter under “When your card extras will end”, that “The annual spend on your card will still count towards any Cabin Upgrade Vouchers until 9 May 2020.” I guess I’ll keep this card just until I get that upgrade voucher then 😀

    • Lucky you! I noticed the same but when I received my letter, I already hit the spending target. No second upgrade voucher for me. 🙁

  7. Robert says:

    If it’s Lloyd’s fault that I get my Amex declined and have to use my MC, I’m going to demand 1.25 Avios per £1 on my MC transactions instead of 0.25!

    • Good luck with that I’m going to demand some fx fees that have appeared while I’m still in Portugal and Amex was accepted yesterday although expect problems with that before I’m back 🤔

  8. Just got back from a weekend away and my Lloyd’s Amex worked perfectly

    • Same here…

      • I just returned from holiday too, and while the transactions seemed to go through fine, I’ve now been charged a number of ‘NON-STERLING TRANSACTIO’ fees at 2.95%. Guess I’ll have to contact them to complain.

  9. Hardik says:

    This was a Bloody Good product (if I exclude the appalling Lloyds customer service). £24 for this upgrade voucher was worth every penny – I used 2 of them along with 110,000 avios for long haul redemption in business and premier economy – 2 adults and 1 infant. Damn good deal, saved me over 80,000 points!! that is £800 of return on £24 of investment. Not to mention 0 fx and 1.25 avios rate.

    • Yep. I’m going to miss it. It worked really well for me.

      Did a usd tx on my Amex the other day. Not checked online banking yet but will later as was planning on putting ~$1500 usd on it this weekend. Received my letter back in March time but also got new cards only last month and they took the £24 for the account.

    • +1

  10. Simon says:

    Weirdly, I received replacement AMEX/MC cards (as my existing ones were due to expire in June) and in the same postal delivery, a letter from Lloyds saying my new Mastercard was on its way. Very confusing!

  11. Helen says:

    Just back from a few days in Europe where I used the cards a lot. I don’t seem to have been charged any foreign transaction fees. I have also received my new cards AMEX & MC (my existing ones are valid until the end of June 2019) and those for my husband who is a supplementary cardholder. No mention of them being withdrawn.

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