Lloyds TSB is upping the rewards for new customers on its Airmiles Duo card. You can now earn points ten times as quick during the first three months to exchange for flights.

Spending £750 on everyday purchases in that time will be enough for a free return flight from London to Paris, while £1,500 gets you to Barcelona and back for nothing (see the Credit Card Rewards guide).

If you apply for the Duo card by the end of June via Lloyds after which you'll get an American Express (Amex) and a Mastercard, hence the card name, if you're accepted you earn one point for every £1 spent on the Amex in the first three months.

You earn one point per £10 at other times, which is the standard rate for existing cardholders. There is a spending cap of £1,500 on the offer, after which you earn points as usual.

If you apply via Airmiles.co.uk you'll get a different offer: the long-standing 1,500-mile voucher when you spend £10, though you must also book a hotel via Airmiles to use the bonus.

New Lloyds offer

So, if you apply via Lloyds:

  • Spending £750 in the first three months, rather than the usual £7,500, gets you a free return trip from London to Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris or destination of similar distance to the UK, as you need 750 Airmiles.

  • Spending £1,500 in the first three months, rather than the usual £15,000, gets you a free return trip from London to Barcelona, Rome, Madrid or destination of similar distance, as you need 1,500 Airmiles.

Charges covered

Unlike most airline frequent flyer schemes, you do not pay extra for tax and charges as the points cover the full costs. Most Airmiles rewards give you a seat on a British Airways (BA) flight.

As research by MoneySavingExpert.com shows one Airmile is equivalent to 0.865% cashback on average (see the Credit Card Rewards guide), this represents an 8.65% cashback rate for the first three months.

This is more than the top introductory cashback offer of 5% for three months on the Amex Platinum card, though this is not a like-for-like comparison (see the Top Cashback cards guide).

You only get one point per £50 spent on the Mastercard so avoid using that.

Airmiles.co.uk 1,500 miles bonus

You'll get a 1,500 reward if you apply via the Airmiles website by the end of June and spend £10 on the Amex by the end of August. This is enough for a return trip to Barcelona.

The outbound leg of any trip you book using the bonus must be completed by the end of February next year or the bonus expires.

The big restriction with this deal is you have to book a hotel via Airmiles. MoneySavers' reports suggest these hotels are often expensive, while there can be little choice for some destinations.

In contrast, apply via Lloyds and there's no time limit on when you can use the points, other than the fact miles expire after two years if you don't collect any in that time.

Which offer is best?

It depends on how much you're likely to spend or when you want to travel.

  • When are you travelling? If you don't plan on travelling by next February, the 1,500 bonus offer is pointless, so apply via Lloyds.

  • How much will you spend? If you apply via Lloyds and spend £500 a month on the Amex in the first three months you'll have collected the 1,500 miles you'd get via the Airmiles.co.uk voucher. You'd still be 150 points down but without the voucher restrictions.

Other flight rewards cards

The British Airways Amex card pays one BA frequent flyer mile for each £1 you spend. Each mile is worth 0.7%, according to MSE research (see the Credit Card Rewards guide).

Also, spend over £20,000 in a year, and you get one companion ticket when booking a flight. However, you have to pay airline taxes and charges when booking a flight using the BA frequent flyer scheme (see the Cheap Flights guide).

There are only a limited number of Airmiles or frequent flyer seats on any flight so book early to ensure a place.

Don't spend on any reward card just to earn points as that could get you into debt. And as with any cashback or reward card, always pay the balance off or the interest earned will dwarf any benefits.

Further reading/Key links

Earn while you spend: Top Cashback cards, Cashback websites, Credit Card Rewards
Cut costs: Cheap Flights