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

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(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.)

Comments (46)

  • 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.

    • Fenny says:

      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.

  • 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.

    • Rob says:

      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.

        • Rob says:

          The original comment was meant to be a vague one about upgrades instruments in general, I wasn’t specifically pointing out that one.

  • Godot says:

    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).

      • Godot says:

        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.

          • Olly says:

            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!

  • Linda says:

    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

    • oliuk says:

      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?

      • Linda says:

        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.

        • oliuk says:

          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!

  • jac says:

    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

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • Linda says:

    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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