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 …..
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
The following offers will end soon:
- 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
- 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
- 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
- 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)
Here are the top current deals:
British Airways American Express
10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard
The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending: