I would like to claim that this story was the work of our crack team of investigative journalists, but I actually owe it to reader Jack. He posted it in the comments last night whilst I was on the way to the Hilton Honors Bastille gig with a note saying ‘erm, Rob, you should look at this’!
We have known for some time that the American Express element of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card was living on borrowed time. Amex has cancelled all of its licensing deals with other banks. . The Lloyds Avios Rewards card was withdrawn from the market for new applicants a couple of months ago.
By mistake, I imagine, the terms and conditions of the new Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card have been posted online. Take a look here. If the link is dead, it is because Lloyds has taken down the page after seeing this article ….
This is what is going to happen:
The American Express element is dead. The card will be a pure Mastercard or Visa – I assume a Mastercard.
The upgrade voucher seems dead. It appears that you will no longer get an upgrade voucher for spending £7,000 per year on the card.
There may be no annual fee – it is not mentioned in the new T&Cs
You may start paying FX fees. There is no mention in the new T&Cs that they are waived.
Here are the earning rates for the new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard:
0.4 Avios per £1 spent in the UK
0.8 Avios per £1 spent outside the UK
0.4 Avios per £1 on balance transfers (but presumably there is a fee attached to these)
One implication of how the rules are written, although it isn’t fully clear, is that Avios will be earned in multiples of £5. Your actual earning will be less than 0.4 Avios per £1. Any purchase under £5 will earn nothing. All other purchases will be rounded down to the nearest £5. (The other implication of the wording is that only your total monthly spending is rounded down to the nearest £5, which clearly makes no real difference to what you earn.)
Here is an interesting quirk:
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.
Going forward, with the closure of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme, you will manage your Lloyds credit card account via www.ba.com/lloyds. This page is not yet live.
When are these changes kicking in?
As the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards are closed to new applicants, there is no doubt that these changes are for existing cardholders. I assume that you will receive an email shortly from Lloyds announcing the closing date for the existing cards.
What do I think of the changes?
Frankly, compared to the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards (details here) this will be a very poor product.
The free Virgin Mastercard offers 0.75 Virgin Atlantic miles per £1. Lloyds is offering you 0.4 Avios instead.
The paid Virgin Atlantic Mastercard offers a whopping 1.5 miles per £1, almost 4x what Lloyds is offering.
The Virgin cards also have the ‘241’ offer, albeit only in Economy unless you have Virgin status. The new Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards appear to have nothing. The assumed loss of the upgrade voucher is particularly poor as this was a real boon, especially for solo travellers.
On the upside, assuming there is no annual fee, it will be more generous than the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard (which, note, currently offers 2400 Avios as a sign-up bonus via 1000 free Clubcard points). It was a little embarrassing that you earned more Avios on the FREE Tesco Clubcard Mastercard (0.3 Avios per £1) than on the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard (0.25 Avios per £1) …..!
Of course, if you qualify for it, the HSBC Premier Mastercard (free to Premier current account holders) pays 0.5 Avios per £1. The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard offers 1 Avios per £1.
It is roughly equal to the free IHG Rewards Club Mastercard which gets you 1 IHG point per £1 which I value at 0.4p. I also value 0.4 Avios per £1 via Lloyds at 0.4p. The IHG card does give you Gold status in IHG Rewards Club as an extra perk, however.
For clarity ….
I can’t be 100% certain that the terms outlined above are fully correct. It is possible, for example, that the upgrade voucher may be retained but just isn’t mentioned in the terms and conditions …. but that would be odd. Similarly, it is possible that FX transactions will remain free. We need to wait for Lloyds to make the full announcement.
You can read the new T&C’s on the Lloyds website here.
In case you’re wondering, I have no idea if Lloyds intends to open up the card to new applicants or not. Based on my recent conversations with Avios, it isn’t happening in the short term.
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