Differences between Lloyds Bank and TSB Bank Avios.com credit cards

As part of the break up of ‘Lloyds TSB’ into two different banks, the Avios.com scheme credit cards have now been available under both brands for a period.

TSB Bank and Lloyds Bank logos

Today the Avios credit card offering from Lloyds Bank has been differentiated from that of TSB Bank – differentiated in terms of rewards, earning rates and annual fees!

Remember the Avios.com scheme is a separate (third) loyatly scheme using Avios points, in addition to the British Airways and Iberia frequent flyer programmes.

Subjct to a couple of rules, people can move their Avios points between their own accounts in each of the three separate schemes. Unlike the other two, the Avios.com scheme is currently only active in the UK and recently launched in South Africa.

The (re)creation of TSB Bank

It should be said that the two banks discussed are not yet actually under different ownership. An IPO is planned for TSB Bank in 2014. The split has been required by the European Comission to increase banking competition in the UK. You can find informaiton about the state of affairs and what is happening on the dedicated bank site.

While the branding has changed and beheind the scences division has clearly been going on, until now people have commented that they both had essentially an identical suite of products to offer you.

The new UK credit card line up for the Avios.com scheme:

Lloyds Bank and TSB Bank Avios.com credit cards

Lloyds Bank Premier Avios Rewards Credit Card

£140 annual fee
Amex Card: 1.5 Avios per £1 (doubled for first 6 months)
Mastercard: 1.5 Avios per £5
Flight Upgrade Voucher: When you spend £5,000 in one year.
Companion Voucher: When you spend £12,000 in one year.
No foreign transaction fees.

Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card

£24 annual fee
Amex Card: 1.25 Avios per £1 (doubled for first 6 months)
Mastercard: 1.25 Avios per £5
Flight Upgrade Voucher: When you spend £7000 in one year.
No foreign transaction fees.

TSB Bank Premier Avios Credit Card

£50 annual fee
Amex Card: 1.25 Avios per £1
Mastercard: 1.25 Avios per £5
Companion Voucher: When you spend £12,000 in one year.
Double Avios on Foreign Spend

TSB Bank Avios Credit Card

no annual fee
Amex Card: 1 Avios per £1
Mastercard: 1 Avios per £5
Double Avios on Foreign Spend

So, are the cards any better than they used to be:

All four offerings come as a combined Amex + Mastercard combo pair and the Mastercard is still terrible.

The free Tesco credit card pays 1 Clubcard point per £4 spend. 250 Clubcard points convert to 600 Avios, therefore you are getting 0.6 Avios per pound with the Tesco creditcard vs 0.2, 0.25, 0.3 per pound with these cards.(And there is a joining bonus of 1000 Clubcard points > 2400 Avios if you let someone refer you – and I’m happy to refer anyone for the Tesco card!)

The TSB cards offer double points on foreign spend which would make their cards pay 0.4 and 0.5 Avios per foreign spend pound. Still less than 0.6 with the Tesco card and still paying foreign usage fees.

The Lloyds Bank double points promotion for the first 6 months only applies to the Amex cards.However, depending upon the value you place on your Avios points, the lack of foreign useage fees with the Lloyds Bank cards could easily having a 0.2 or 0.25 Avios per £ paying non-Amex card (especialy if your transactions are not being reclaimed from expenses). That is IF (and this is the question) the card offerings justify the annual fee charged for the cards.

Turning our attention to the Amex side of the offers:

The 1 Avios per £ on the basic (free) TSB card should be discounted immediatly. That leaves the three paid cards under consideration. And here personal spending and travel plans / objectives become much more relevant. So lets look at the perks first:

Companion ticket vouchers (when using Avios points for flights): Unlike the companion tickets offered with the BA branded cards issued by Amex themselves (which allow bookings to be made in any cabin – Club, First, etc), all the Avios.com scheme cards restrict companion tickets to economy class redemption bookings. When you consider that long haul economy class redemptions are not considered a great use of Avios due to high fees, etc. and that shorthaul bunsiness class should certainly not be overly valued, this limits the perk.

Interestingly the T&C online right now for the companion tickets appear to limit the TSB card to BA flight bookings, but new Lloyds Bank offerings appear to allow it to be used on British Airways, Flybe, Aer Lingus, Monarch, American Airlines, Air Malta and Aurigny bookings.

Avios Upgrade Vouchers: The Lloyds Bank cards offer Avios upgrade vouchers, with the T&C saying that these:
– Can only be used with full Avios redemptions (not part cash-part Avios, etc)
– Can be applied to 2 one-ways or a single return.
– Can be used with British Airways mainline flights only, codeshare flights and all flights from London City Airport are excluded.
– Can only be used for a single cabin upgrade from World Traveller to World Traveller Plus, or from World Traveller Plus to Club World. Interestingly CW to First is not mentioned!

So looking at the three Avios.com card offerings we have left you will need to consider these against your own travel objectives.
Personally, I have legacy (no longer available to new applicants) cards that offer me 2.5 Avios per £, and I don’t make use of companion vouchers. So, the most appealing aspects I’m left with to consider on the Lloyds cards are the lack of foreign usage fees and the double points on the Amex for the first 6 months.
Keep in mind what other cards are available, including the BA Premier Plus card (I can probably set you up with a referal – although check the cashback), the Amex Gold and Platinum charge cards (referrals available) – the platinum is expensive but gets you OneWorld Sapphire status (lounge access) – and also consider the free Tesco card as your non-Amex card. (again referrals available – and 2400 bonus Avios come with it).There is only £21 cashback on the Lloyds cards right now.

Warning: Terms and Conditions may be in a state of flux while being updated on the sites. Cashback might well appear for the TSB cards over time (there is none right now). E&OE on everything written above, personal opinoin only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *