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