Yet another airline reward card bites the dust this week as Lloyds bank start their notifications for the changes that are coming to the Lloyds AVIOS credit card. What does this mean for you however, and it is it good or bad news?
The current Lloyds AVIOS credit card
AMEX and Mastercard duo
The current Lloyds AVIOS credit card a combined AMEX and Mastercard on one account. This is a great way to ensure that you can always earn AVIOS, even in locations that don’t accept AMEX. Admittedly, the rate for the Mastercard is pretty paltry in comparison to the AMEX but something is better than nothing.
For every £1 spent on AMEX, you earn 1.25 AVIOS, but on the Mastercard you have to spend £5 to earn the same amount.
When you spend £7,000 in a year, you earn an upgrade ticket to upgrade one class. We used this for a trip to Stockholm and it wasn’t the easiest to redeem, so I won’t lose sleep over its loss.
The voucher is pretty restrictive in use, as it allows two people to upgrade one way, or one person to upgrade a return flight. Great news for singletons but not so useful for happy couples!
The voucher allows you to upgrade from Economy to World Traveller Plus, or World Traveller Plus to Club. Sadly, there’s no option to upgrade from Club to First, but this perk has disappeared with the new cards. It never compared favourably with the British airways companion voucher in any case.
Free foreign exchange
Finally the current cards offer free foreign exchange.
These benefits are not free, but the modest annual fee of £24 is probably recoverable by taking advantage of the free foreign exchange if you travel overseas regularly.
Lloyds Duo Retirement approaches
So, now these cards are gradually being phased out, thanks to the EU’s change in credit card legislation. So, how do their replacements compare?
The NEW Lloyds AVIOS credit card
|Old Lloyd’s AVIOS cards||New Lloyd’s AVIOS cards|
|Free foreign exchange||Yes||No – 2.95% Fee|
|Upgrade voucher||Yes, after spending £7,000 per annum||No|
|Mastercard earnings rate||1.25 for every £5||2 for every £5|
|AMEX earnings rate||1.25 for every £1||Not applicable|
Comparing the old with the new cards
Although the Mastercard earnings rate has improved, this card is unlikely to persuade you to cancel your GOLD AMEX or British Airways American Express cards. However, if you want a back up card, for those occasions when a vendor does not accept AMEX, then this could be a useful option, offering a slightly higher earnings rate than previously.
The card’s ancillary benefits have clearly been eroded, however for those desperate for AVIOS, this card is an improvement.
On the other hand, the Virgin Atlantic free card offers an earnings rate of 0.75 Flying Miles per £1. On that basis, this card looks particularly unattractive, but I’ve already covered some of the issues that we have with collecting Virgin Flying Miles in the UK.
Whilst these cards are stingy on benefits, given the ever receding number of airline credit cards in the UK, they offer a valuable back up for those concerned about their inability to use AMEX.
This is especially the case if you wish to collect AVIOS, as Virgin’s recent offering may look more attractive, but it is harder to earn substantial Virgin Flying Miles. It is harder yet to redeem Flying Miles, unless you happen to be a frequent transatlantic flyer.
What do do you think?
Of course, it’s not all about me. What do you think of these new cards and which would you opt for? AVIOS or Flying Miles?