How to use the upgrade voucher with the Lloyds Avios Rewards card

(EDIT:  This article was updated in September 2014 to reflect changes in how the vouchers work)

One of the perks of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards (my full review of the card is here) is the upgrade voucher.

On the £24 version of the card, you receive an upgrade voucher for spending £7,000.  On the £150 Premier version of the card, you receive a voucher for spending £5,000 – this lower target does not by itself justify the fee on the Premier card!

If you are a typically a solo traveller, the upgrade voucher may be more useful to you than the 2-4-1 voucher issued with the British Airways American Express card.

When I wrote about the upgrade voucher last November, I had some unanswered questions about how they worked.  As the cards were only launched last Autumn, we didn’t have any practical proof of what happened.

Reader Zark has just managed to earn and redeem his first upgrade voucher so we now know a bit more about them.

Lloyds Avios Rewards 2

When you have earned a voucher, it will appear in your avios.com account.

From mid-2014 you need to redeem the voucher online – you can no longer redeem by phone

There does NOT need to be Avios availability in the orginal booking class, only the upgraded booking class.  Our guinea pig proved this by booking two business class seats on a European flight where no economy seats were available.  

(This is an important point.  Upgrade vouchers often require availability to be showing in both the base and upgraded categories.  This does NOT happen here.  In effect, what the voucher effectively does is let you book an Avios reward seat for the price of a reward seat one class lower.)

The voucher lets you upgrade (or get a discount on) one return flight or two one-way flights.  If you want to upgrade two one-way flights, they MUST be done in the same booking with both passengers travelling together.  You CANNOT upgrade one one-way flight now and another flight next month as the voucher expires as soon as it is used once.

(A HFP reader who just wanted to upgrade one flight, one way was able to do this by ringing the Avios call centre.  It used up his entire voucher but it was about to expire anyway!)

Whilst the voucher is only valid for 12 months, you only need to BOOK within this period.  Our guinea pig proved this by booking for mid 2015, way after the expiry date of his voucher.

There are some important insights here.  The key one is that there does not need to be availability in both classes, only the one you want to book in.   The knowledge that you do not have to travel within the 12 month validity period is also important.

This makes the Lloyds Avios Rewards card look more attractive.  If I spend £7000, I can effectively save 20,000 Avios on a Club World ticket to New York for example. This is a decent return.  For a family of three, you could use a BA Amex 2-4-1 for two people and then use a Lloyds Avios Rewards voucher to get a discount on the third person.

Note that you cannot use the voucher to redeem for a First Class seat. The highest possible class is Club World or Club Europe.

It is a pity that Lloyds didn’t do a better job of explaining how these vouchers worked eight months ago when they launched …..

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Sounds similar setup to the Black Virgin Amex, (But you get 2x PE vouchers if you spend £10k per year)

  2. Do you have to pay the extra taxes as well when upgrading ?

    • Nice of them to tell me I’d been awarded the voucher on the 1st May.

      The Ts&Cs state you’ll be informed by letter approx 4 weeks after it is applied to the account. It’s apparently been sitting there for 10 weeks and I’ve heard nothing.

      The Ts&Cs also say it can only be used online, but when you click on it, it says you can only use it by phoning the 0844 number.

      • Avios have a number for calling from abroad – use that to avoid paying premium rates for 0844…

      • Lady London says:

        I thought only offering 08.. numbers and other numbers charged at a higher rate as the only way of contacting a company, has been or is very soon to be made illegal? I have noticed a couple of companies I always used saynoto0870 dot com to find ‘real’ non-surcharged landline numbers for, are now displaying regular numbers on their materials and websites instead of their formerly overcharged ones.

        • david flacks says:

          They’re changing for some institutions/companies but not all.

          BA Exec Club block calls to their 0191 local number from UK landline and mobiles, and I’m pretty sure Avios do the same to their 01925 warrington number as well. Cost me £7 last time I called them.

          Skype does work to the local number but the quality is usually horrible.

          • Try putting 141 before the number – that withholds called ID for that call and is normally sufficient to get you past the usual ‘no UK calls’ block :)

          • david flacks says:

            Nice one. Must remember to give that a try.

          • In answer to another query I used the 01925 number and was on for over 50 minutes it cost £4.65 . Linda

    • Yes. Full Ts&Cs below.

      1. YOU WILL EARN ONE UPGRADE VOUCHER IF YOU SPEND A MINIMUM OF £7,000 ON YOUR LLOYDS BANK AVIOS REWARDS CREDIT CARD IN A CALENDAR YEAR. THE £7,000 SPEND THRESHOLD EXCLUDES CASH WITHDRAWALS, BALANCE TRANSFERS, REFUNDED PURCHASES, INTEREST, FEES AND OTHER CHARGES. 2. YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED BY LETTER IF YOU HAVE QUALIFIED FOR AN UPGRADE VOUCHER APPROX. 4 WEEKS AFTER IT IS APPLIED TO YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNT. 3. UPGRADE VOUCHERS ARE LIMITED TO ONE PER CALENDAR YEAR. 4 NEW BOOKINGS MADE USING THE UPGRADE VOUCHER MUST BE BOOKED ONLINE AT AVIOS.COM. CUSTOMERS WISHING TO USE THE VOUCHER TO UPGRADE AN ELIGIBLE EXISTING BOOKING CAN DO SO BY TELEPHONING 0844 4933399 5. ONLY BOOKINGS PAID FOR USING FULL AVIOS ARE ELIGIBLE TO BE UPGRADED USING THE VOUCHER. 6. THE UPGRADE VOUCHER WILL BE VALID FOR 12 MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF ISSUE. YOUR BOOKING MUST BE MADE WITHIN THE 12 MONTH PERIOD, AFTER WHICH TIME THE VOUCHER WILL EXPIRE AND WILL NOT BE REPLACED OR EXTENDED. 7. UPGRADE VOUCHERS CAN BE USED TO UPGRADE EITHER 2 ONE WAY FLIGHTS OR 1 RETURN JOURNEY BOOKED ON A BRITISH AIRWAYS MAIN LINE SERVICE, EXCLUDING FLIGHTS FROM LONDON CITY AIRPORT. BA CODESHARE FLIGHTS ARE EXCLUDED. 8. USING AN UPGRADE VOUCHER ENABLES CUSTOMERS TO UPGRADE BY ONE CABIN CLASS AS FOLLOWS: FROM EURO TRAVELLER TO CLUB EUROPE;FROM WORLD TRAVELLER TO WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS; OR FROM WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS TO CLUB WORLD. BOOKINGS CANNOT BE UPGRADED TO A FIRST CLASS CABIN. 9. AIRLINE TAXES, FEES AND CARRIER CHARGES OR REWARD FLIGHT SAVER (RFS) MUST BE PAID ON ALL TICKETS BOOKED. CUSTOMERS WHO UPGRADE THEIR JOURNEY USING THE UPGRADE VOUCHER WILL HAVE TO PAY THE INCREASE IN AIRLINE TAXES, FEES AND CARRIER CHARGES OR INCREASED REWARD FLIGHT SAVER COST APPLICABLE TO THE CABIN THAT THE UPGRADE APPLIES TO.10 RFS IS AVAILABLE TO AVIOS MEMBERS WHO HAVE COLLECTED 1 AVIOS IN THE PRECEDING 12 MONTHS AND WHO BOOK AN ELIGIBLE REWARD FLIGHT. RFS ENABLES THE MEMBER TO PAY A CASH PRICE OF £35 PER PERSON ON A QUALIFYING FLIGHT IN ECONOMY CLASS. THE PRICE QUOTED FOR RFS IS CORRECT AT THE TIME OF GOING TO PRINT BUT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.11. THE CARDHOLDER MUST TRAVEL ON ANY BOOKING MADE USING AN UPGRADE VOUCHER.12. UPGRADE VOUCHERS CANNOT BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH ANY OTHER OFFER AND ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE AND NON-REFUNDABLE.13. BOOKINGS MADE USING AN UPGRADE VOUCHER ARE SUBJECT TO AVIOS TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND ARE STRICTLY SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY WHICH MAY BE VERY LIMITED OR NOT AVAILABLE ON SOME ROUTES AT CERTAIN TIMES ESPECIALLY DURING PEAK PERIODS.14. NEITHER LLOYDS BANK NOR AVIOS GROUP (AGL) LTD CAN GUARANTEE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO USE AN UPGRADE VOUCHER ON A PARTICULAR FLIGHT.15. (AGL) RESERVE THE RIGHT TO WITHDRAW OR AMEND THIS OFFER UPON PROVIDING REASONABLE NOTICE.16. (AGL) CANNOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROBLEMS ARISING FROM COMPUTER MALFUNCTIONS, VIRUSES, BUGS OR OTHER SUCH CAUSES WHICH MAY PREVENT YOU FROM TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS OFFER. FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS ON AVIOS.COM/LLOYDSBANK

    • Yes you would, although the big jump is WT to WT Plus as the APD jumps up. Only increase between WTP and Club World would be if BA has a different fuel surcharge.

  3. Are existing cardholders eligible for the upgrade voucher or is this restricted to new applicants.

  4. I can confirm that you cannot use the upgrade voucher to upgrade economy tickets booked in the recent Avios sale. And you do pay the taxes associated with the higher class.

  5. Can you use the voucher for a one-way redemption starting outside the UK (e.g. NYC – LON)?

  6. Interesting that the £7000 spend has to be within 1 calendar year, according to the terms above … perhaps I won’t apply for this card until Dec / Jan now, instead of Sept as I had planned.

    I can’t imagine though that if I spend £6k by December and another £1k in Jan, that they’d withhold the voucher … would they?!

    Perhaps they meant, “within a consecutive 12 month period”.

    • That’s a really good point! For a lot of people (myself included), it would mean that it’s not worth applying for the card after August, or maybe September at a push.

      However, for anybody who is good at manufactured spending, it does offer the opportunity to earn two vouchers either side of New Year.

    • That does sound crazy, but then this is Lloyds we are talking about. I will do some digging.

      Someone must know though, as the cards were launched in October! Those who have triggered a voucher must know if the spend counted from 2013 or if it only started in 2014.

      • Raffles,
        I’m pretty certain the voucher was triggered after 6 months £7K spend between November 2013 & March 2014. I say I am pretty sure because my November/December spend was below what my spend was towards the end of March, but I think they wrote to me the day the £7K spend was triggered dating back to November.

      • We got the rewards card in November and all spending counted from then.

  7. I have also just redeemed my 1st upgrade voucher, we qualified in May but didn’t get any e- mail informing us of this. Had to ring up to check, the agent hadn’t ever redeemed one of these vouchers before, so had to put me on hold for a long time to clarify hat had to be done.
    I had been checking availability for some time as I knew we must be getting close with our spending. I knew there only had to be availability in the class you wanted to travel, we couldn’t get Club out only WT+ but managed Club back, have never flown BA before so it will be an experience in itself. It cost 150,000 avios and £1033 in taxes. I also took out a Lloyds Reward card when we had reached the £7,000 spend, so am nearly qualified for another voucher. We have cancelled OH card, we will also use the card for our forthcoming trip in Usa.
    We have booked Calgary for next May just out of the voucher year expiry on the new 787 Dreamliner, I was surprised how small the cabins are compared tot he 346 we normally fly with Virgin. I could choose my seats straight away, (haven’t yet) for a cost of £200, still thinking about this one. It was very easy to book once the agent knew what to do and they didn’t charge me any extra for booking over the phone or cc charges, the booking was available in MMB on BA straight away, anybody want any more info please ask . LInda

    • Linda, just to clarify…… you use “we” and “our” in your post. Spending £7000 gets you 2 vouchers so were you able to use both vouchers on one leg (i.e. you and your partner) ? or I have I mis-understood.

  8. squills says:

    3Vs feedback: tried a load in small batches at T yesterday and nearly all of them failed to activate, we had checkout girl & supervisor trying their best but the system is rubbish. Got 4, about 20 went in the bin.

    • Are you one of the lucky ones that can pay a council tax bill with them, or have you found a sneaky way to monetise them?

      It’s really frustrating, I used to have totally foolproof way of churning them until a few months ago. Nothing to do with a change made by 3v, just a change in my personal circumstances. The fact that they are still rarer than hen’s teeth suggests that others can still use them! I still buy them when I do see them – It’s amazing how quickly you can get through them for normal internet shopping.

      • Without wishing to give too much away, my method for getting through a chunk of 3vs at a time was based on very similar principles….

    • Lady London says:

      Being less flush with funds right now I can happily report I bought 2 yesterday without problems :-)

  9. squills says:

    Council tax has stopped (Cornwall) but still OK for OVO, TV licence, Southwestwater, Sky, a few more. Plus now there are no charges for grocery click & collect, that potentially becomes helpful.

    • Daventry say they take them and I paid my April & May bills with 3V, but the latest payments wouldn’t go through. When I finally got a reply (average wait for a reply to an email from Dav district council is about 3 weeks), they say they still accept them and I can do it over the phone. I was trying to save them the time and effort of processing the payments bit by bit, in the hope that they may be able to get round to emails a bit quicker, plus I don’t have time during the day to be ringing up and paying my council tax.

      Just tried to buy the Lego movie from Blinkbox with a 3V card and got all kinds of error messages about incorrect address, yet they still took 3 payments.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Raffles, why do you think there’s a general requirement to have redemption availability in the base cabin and the higher cabin for BA upgrades? That’s not the case for any BA upgrades I’ve done through standard Cash+Avios redemptions (or cash +BA Miles in the old days) in the past.

    • If you want to, for example, pay for a World Traveller Plus ticket and immediately upgrade it with Avios to Club World, there needs to be a WTP ticket for sale – even if you won’t be sitting in it. BA won’t book you into Club World directly and charge you the World Traveller Plus fare + some Avios if WTP is sold out.

      • Jonathan says:

        Ah yes, I agree with that but that wasn’t what I thought you wrote in your main piece. I can’t check fully right now as I’m just boarding in ORD but thought your original piece said there had to be Avios (i.e. redemption) availability in the lower class whereas it’s just revenue availability so that it knows how to price the base fare.

  11. Do you need to still have the Lloyds cards at the time you redeem the voucher, or can you cancel the cards before the £24 is due a second time and still use the voucher within the year expiry date?

    • david flacks says:

      As the voucher is deposited into the Avios account (I can see mine now) they won’t take it away if you cancel the card.

      But to be honest I’m keeping mine for the zero charges on foreign currency spend. I’ve done a couple of test transactions and got incredibly close to that day’s forex rate for USD transactions on the AMEX. (plus I get the AVIOS).

      • Thanks for the info! Not sure I spend enough in foreign currency to make the Avios earned worth the £24 over just using the free Halifax Clarity Card, which is also fee-free.

        • david flacks says:

          True but the amount of avios I get compensates for the fee over the clarity which earns nothing. It’s nice to have at least 2 cards if not 3 on a long trip to the states as usually one gets blocked.

          • There are other advantages too – Amex don’t offer DCC so you don’t get “helpful” shop assistants making the choice to pay in £ for you, then getting ripped off with a poor exchange rate.

            Plus it’s another Amex (or two if you have an additional cardholder) for Foursquare offers – I’ve more than made the annual fee back on that alone this year!

  12. Hi JPR ,
    Sorry been out for the day, so only replying now, just one upgrade voucher was available so you can upgrade 2x one way up to Club or 1 x return up to club. We also have a 2-4-1 to use but that’s a different story. LInda

    • Sorry but can you just clarify again what you are saying… You were able to use 1 upgrade voucher to upgrade one leg of a trip for yourself and your partner? In other words the voucher in your name was ok to split and use to upgrade another passenger?

      • We actually used it for the return whole trip for one of us, but yes you can use it for two people one way. This would have worked out the same Avios to be used as we were doing the return so we just did it that way for convenience. It was actually my husbands voucher but as we had a household account they let me book it all and didn’t need to speak to him. One other point I did online chat a few weeks before booking and they will check your account to see if the voucher has gone through. Ours had although they could see it and I couldn’t.
        I also asked if any Club became available on the way out could we upgrade again with miles and they said yes, but not sure if this would be the case.
        I am still very new to all this on Avios and BA only been collecting for less than a year having been only flying VIrgin for the last 15 years, but as their rewards seats have become very scarce, we were having trouble using our collection of miles so decided to give BA a go.

        • Thank you for your detailed reply. Its very good to know that the voucher can be used to upgrade 2 people one way as it opens the possibility of using avios + voucher for a couple flying one way, and a redemption with another airline in business on the return – very handy given how hard it is to find business class seats for avios.
          Regarding your point about Virgin – I have recently found the opposite and seem to see more availability with them than BA, and am accordingly moving more miles to flying club than executive club!

  13. Is the upgrade voucher for the next available class or one class higher on the specific flight?
    To Moscow, BA operates on some flight a 4 class cabin but not on all flights…

    Would you be upgraded from economy to business (as the flight is in Europe) or to premium economy (but what on flights that don’t have premium economy)?

    I m not sure I would be able to use the voucher on a long haul flight given the lack of availability in C so I am interested to know whether the voucher would be worth at least 10 or 20 K miles (I could always redeem it on a Moscow flight) saving 20K miles for 7000 £ (plus the 1,25 miles and the lack of FX would be reasonable value

    • 99% sure it would be one class based on what that particular flight was offering. You would need business class reward availability to book a business class seat though, you just don’t also need WT Plus availability as well.

  14. As far as I Know you can only upgrade one class at a time. WT to WT+ or WT+ to Club.

    • david flacks says:

      I posted the full Ts&Cs from the Avios voucher near the top of this thread. (Sorry it was all in caps, blame Avios)

      8. USING AN UPGRADE VOUCHER ENABLES CUSTOMERS TO UPGRADE BY ONE CABIN CLASS AS FOLLOWS: FROM EURO TRAVELLER TO CLUB EUROPE;FROM WORLD TRAVELLER TO WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS; OR FROM WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS TO CLUB WORLD. BOOKINGS CANNOT BE UPGRADED TO A FIRST CLASS CABIN

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