UK card issuer Lloyds TSB has clinched a
lucrative new partnership with Airmiles, the UK travel loyalty
scheme, and has also signed a new agreement with MasterCard under
which Lloyds TSB will issue the bulk of its credit card portfolio
on the MasterCard network. The bank’s deal with Airmiles ends the
long-running association between the loyalty scheme and NatWest,
which until now offered the scheme through its credit card
portfolio. Airmiles, now in its 19th year, is the UK’s
longest-running and most popular loyalty scheme, with around 8
million members.

From June 2007, Lloyds TSB, which serves around 15 million
retail customers in the UK, will become Airmiles’ official
financial services partner and will have exclusive rights to offer
Airmiles to its customers. As an incentive to new and existing
customers, Lloyds TSB will double the Airmiles earn rate offered by
NatWest. The first Lloyds TSB product offering Airmiles will be the
new Duo card account, which incorporates one rate, one PIN and two
credit cards on the American Express and MasterCard networks.
Lloyds TSB is already one of the largest MasterCard issuers in the
UK and its new agreement with the payment network will double the
number of MasterCard-branded credit cards in issue over the next
year.

NatWest has launched a new credit card loyalty travel reward
scheme to replace its Airmiles partnership, which allows
cardholders to redeem points for flights via online travel websites
ebookers and budget airline easyJet. The scheme is available only
to existing NatWest customers who collected Airmiles, and is free
to customers who spend more than £1,000 ($2,000) per month. Other
customers will be charged £3 per month.

Commenting on its deal with Airmiles, Colin Walsh, director of
credit cards at Lloyds TSB, said: “Airmiles is the most
sought-after loyalty scheme and this partnership gives us the
opportunity to reward our 16 million customers for doing business
with us. By working together we aim to attract new customers and
provide a wider range of benefits for our existing
customers.”

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