UPDATE: These cards are no longer available to new applicants online, you CAN still apply over the phone or in-branch. See this article for more information.
Previously, I have explored the different loyalty programs that all use Avios as their currency of choice but function entirely separately. Two of those are the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) housed on the BA website and Avios.com which is a fully standalone site.
The product that I am going to look at today is the Avios.com answer to the British Airways Premium Plus (BAPP) card. But does it do enough for a place in your wallet – permanent or otherwise? This is our analysis of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card.
There is currently NO sign-up bonus being offered on this card. Until recently there was 4,500 Avios available if you were referred by an existing cardholder. This has now been removed. This is no great loss, however, as the IT backend was extremely flaky and it would often take weeks for the referral email did arrive. Assuming it did arrive, Lloyds imposed draconian rules over who was eligible for the bonus. Customers who had previously held any card product across the Lloyds were deemed to be ineligible.
Nevertheless, it is unusual for a rewards credit card not to carry any formal form of sign-up bonus. There is a welcome offer of sorts though. For the first 6 months, cardholders will earn double miles on all purchases. I’ll provide some further details on this benefit shortly.
Day to day earnings rate
Currently, this ‘card’ comes as a double pack – with both an American Express card and a MasterCard.
The American Express card earns an excellent 1.25 Avios per £1 spent. This is bettered (marginally) only by the BAPP which earns 1.5 Avios per £1. Remember though that that card carries a much heftier annual fee.
The MasterCard component earns 1.25 Avios for every £5 spent on the card or 0.25 Avios per £1.
These cards carry a £24 annual fee. This is an impressively low annual fee given the other perks I will elaborate on momentarily.
The representative APR on this card is 23.7% variable, based on a £24 annual fee and a credit limit of £1,200.
- Double miles on all Amex card purchases for the first 6 months – this a nice little extra. If you were to max it out, it is worth a potential 15,000 bonus Avios. This is because you are capped at £2,500 of eligible spend per month (£2,500 x extra 1.25 Avios x 6 months = 15,000 Avios).
- No foreign transaction fees – this is the most impressive feature of this card. In case you missed it a couple of weeks back, we ran a piece on the best card to use abroad. In that article, the Lloyds card ranked highly even among the specialist ‘no fees abroad’ cards, with no fees charged when you spend abroad. Add to that the ability to earn Avios at your regular rate and this card really is a strong performer.
- Upgrade vouchers when you spend £7,000 – Lloyds’ alternative to the BA 2-4-1 voucher. Let’s be clear about the important differences though:
– This voucher is earned once you spend £7,000 in a card membership year – spend from both the Amex and the MasterCard counts towards the voucher.
– Maximum of one voucher earned each year.
– Travel must be booked within 12 months from the voucher being issued – you can travel after that date.
– The voucher allows one person to book a return ticket using Avios in a higher cabin while but only pay the Avios required for the class below that e.g. fly in Club World while only paying the Avios required for World Traveller Plus. Alternatively, you can use the voucher to ‘upgrade’ two people one way.
– The voucher cannot be used to upgrade from Club World to First.
– It also cannot be used on flights from London City Aiport (Flights on the Babybus are an exception, I believe).
Finally, a really key point is that the voucher is non-refundable. Once you make a booking, even if you are within the cancellation period, you will receive a refund of your Avios + taxes but not your voucher! This for me is a real disappointment.
Is this card a viable alternative to the BAPP?
That depends on who’s asking. A major plus for this card is its appeal to the solo traveller. The BA 2-4-1 voucher might be a great perk, but it’s of little use to someone who usually travels alone and doesn’t need a free companion ticket!
It almost matches the BAPP earnings rate and also offers the no fees on foreign spending perk. Admittedly, there is no generous 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus but I’d say in terms of ongoing use, it gives the BAPP a real run for its money. At just £24 a year you may find it’s a real steal.
Confession time: I have never applied for this card. Why? I’m not 100% sure in truth. I tend to use a combination of Curve and Revolut (and Supercard before that died) when travelling abroad.
There is also the issue of Lloyds’ IT systems which seem to be distinctly hit and miss. I know friends who have had the cards for years without an issue, but also some who relate horror stories of Avios not transferring as they should month after month.
Overall, I think this card is a real winner. Provided you have a chunk of foreign expenditure to put on this card each year, I don’t think it would be difficult to justify the fee. In fact, even if you wanted a high-earning Avios card but baulk at the BAPP card’s £195 fee, this card is a good alternative, even solely for domestic use.
Disclaimer: The above information is intended solely as a helpful guide to the relevant products on the market and their various features. You should always conduct your own research as the recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial requirements.