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Avios changes – is the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card now more valuable?

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The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards (my full review of the card is here) have not been hugely successful since they were launched by avios.com.  The poor customer service offered by Lloyds has disguised the fact that cards do have good reasons to hold them.

The lack of foreign exchange fees on the cards is almost unique in the UK credit card industry saving you 3% on every transaction you make on the card outside the UK.  What is GENUINELY unique is that you also earn Avios points on those transactions.  No other card in the UK offers zero foreign exchange fees AND rewards.

That isn’t what this article is about, though.  It is about one of the other perks of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards – 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 an upgrade 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.

The vouchers are not, in fact, ‘upgrade vouchers’.  What they do is allow you to book a redemption in World Traveller Plus, Club World or (for short-haul) Club Europe for the Avios points of the class immediately below.

There does NOT need to be Avios availability in the lower booking class, only in the class you will be flying in.

The voucher lets you upgrade 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.

Whilst the voucher is only valid for 12 months, you only need to BOOK within this period.

How many Avios can you save?

At present, the mileage benefit from using the voucher is limited.  Taking London to San Francisco as an example, it would only save you 25,000 Avios points.  That is the difference between a Club World and World Traveller Plus return redemption.

Let’s remind ourselves of the new BA redemption chart from April 28th:

Redemption chart 2

California is Zone 6.

Off-peak, the Lloyds voucher would now save you 60,000 Avios points return.  A Club World redemption would be 125,000 Avios whilst World Traveller Plus is reduced to 65,000.

At peak times, the voucher would save you 50,000 Avios points return.  A Club World redemption would be 150,000 Avios whilst World Traveller Plus is 100,000.

Whilst best suited to a solo traveller, the Lloyds voucher would also make a decent dent in the Avios points required for a couple when used for 2 x one-way tickets on the same flight.

There is no rush to go out and get the Lloyds Avios Rewards card – you might as well focus on maximising sign-up bonuses and booking what you can before April 28th.  Once we get past that date, however, I may start to give the Lloyds card more coverage.

In particular, one thing we need to think about is this – for a couple, does it now make more sense in some scenarios to have two Lloyds Avios Rewards cards than one BA Premium Plus Amex card?  This is a topic to which I will return.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (109)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Peaceful Waters says:

    “No other card in the UK offers zero foreign exchange fees AND rewards.”

    The Halifax Clarity Credit Card pays qualifying current account holders an additional £5 a month if they spend £300 or more on the credit card in the statement month.

    • Polly says:

      I think he means a card where you can earn avios also, within that context. We know there are olther cards out there. The Lloyds card would therefore be more valuable. And the spend doesn’t have to be all on amex either. Which is even better….

      One more thing, I wonder if you did pay for the Premier card at £150 fee, earned your upgrade voucher, bank it in your avios account, could you then downgrade to the cheaper £24 card! There’s a thought. This will definitely give amex a run for its money.

      • Rob says:

        No, Lloyds does not offer pro-rata fee refunds so there would be no point in downgrading.

      • Rob says:

        On the £500 credit limit Aquacard will give you, it is effectively nothing 🙂

      • Dave B says:

        You can get Aqua to increase the credit limit every 6 months , so -0.5% fees on FX.
        Always handy to have more than one FX card.

  • Polly says:

    And could we use that upgrade voucher to fly ex EU, with no APD, instead of being tied to LHR etc. with it’s high taxes….we need to check the t and c s Rob to see if the flight must commence in the UK … very interesting this will turn out to be….

    • Joe says:

      Booked one of these last week, flight doesn’t have to start in UK (did a one way back) but you have to book it through the call centre

  • Frankdjs says:

    Just a hint about using the voucher. If you call Avios, you can also use to upgrade two people on a 1 way from the UK. Used it to upgrade two from LHR to MIA to Club. Smooth process, but it is not clear from the site you can also do this, but not available online.

  • Tim says:

    “If you want to upgrade two one-way flights, they MUST be done in the same booking with both passengers travelling together.”

    This is still couple-centric thinking. My understanding is that the booking can be for two separate one-way flights for one person made at the same time. (A return is an instance of this).

    • Polly says:

      Yes Tim, I asked avios about this, and they said you can use it to upgrade two people in the one direction if you like, or one person a RETURN upgrade. So useful for solo or couple, actually.

    • Rob says:

      A return for one person, yes. Two one-way flights which are not linked together (ie LHR-JFK, LHR-DXB)? Not sure how that could be done.

      • Polly says:

        No it’s for a couple again! Being both upgraded in the one direction to club, on same ticketing, and say travelling back WT. Which is still a nice treat, maybe once or twice a year, if you can earn them quite near each other, time wise as you point out later.

        My one big question is, can they originate in the EU, or must they start in the UKA like the 241. That would be a huge plus!

  • Mark B says:

    Is the free Lloyds card also free of foreign exchange fees ?

    • JQ says:

      There is no free Lloyds Avios card; or rather there was, but this has forex fees and you can’t apply for it any more (but it might still be available from TSB?)

    • Rob says:

      You mean the old ‘Lloyds TSB’ card? No.

      • Mark B says:

        I mean the dual free Lloyds Avios earning card, I took it out about 18 months ago for the sign up promotion of bonus avios that had to be spent on a flight and accommodation. I don’t recall it having anything to do with TSB

        • Paul says:

          That is the old Duo card which does charge exchange fees.

          The bank was called Lloyds TSB before they spun off TSB. I think you joined around the time they rebranded so you may have a lloyds bank card from before they relaunched the scheme.

          • markb says:

            Yes it was the duo card, thanks for the clarification

          • Imbruce says:

            I got the same Lloyds TSB card just before they seperated TSB off. 20k bonus points was good. I will close it now as I don’t use it, Perfer Diamond Club.
            Aqua Credit card is for people with a poor credit score it also charges 34% interest similar to Vanquis card apparently they help u build your credit rating.

          • John says:

            To be fair to Aqua, if you use the card properly the interest rate drops 5% each of the following three years (and apparently the majority of cardholders benefit from this).

            Also the credit limits run to £3000 and are regularly reviewed. Obviously you only pay interest if you don’t clear the balance each month.

            It’s perfectly possible to run Aqua like a debit card, using free faster payments from a current account to clear any Aqua balance, whilst saving the 3% foreign fee.

            One word of caution for prospective applicants: not all the cards are fx free.

  • AviosNewbie says:

    Is this upgrade voucher annual on this card? so like the 2-4-1, is it possible to accummulate two vouchers at a time?

    • Rob says:

      Good question. Technically you could earn two in a 12 month period (one at the end of a card year and one early in the next card year). Whether the Avios booking system lets you redeem two at once, I don’t know.

  • James67 says:

    Many thanks Rob, this was a fantastic post 🙂 It will keep my avios habit alive for a while yet. Actually offpeak to Asia would cost me less than I am currently paying. Will apply for one in April when council tax becomess due as that wjll get £2400 on it right away.

    • Polly says:

      James, do you get charged a fee when you use your visa credit card… Guess we have to weigh up the cost benefit of being charged fees. Ultimate aim is that club upgrade. Agree with you, it gives us many more options, that plus Iberia, we shall survive this devaluation!

      • James67 says:

        Don’t know yet Polly, will be first I pay by cc since moving to Edinburgh last year, currently paying by dd. Given I’m in avios poverty now (100 remaining after recent four flight remption spree) it will certainly be worth it to me.

  • MMc says:

    Rob
    I currently use the Halifax card abroad as it has no fees on transactions and only a v small rate, almost no fees, on taking cash out. Does this offer the same benefit?
    Thank you

    • Polly says:

      No, it’s not an avios earner.

    • Rob says:

      I am pretty sure there is a cash advance fee – it is worse than Halifax Clarity for that (and of course the Lloyds card has the £24 fee). The Avios earned on foreign purchases may outweight cash advance fees though.

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