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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.

  • mark2 says:

    CORRECTION: the ‘Everyday Offers’ only works if you have a Lloyds Bank current account.

  • Rob says:

    At £800 you are ‘quits’ on the £24 fee compared to using a normal credit card. Compared with, say, the Post Office or Halifax cards, you need to spend around £2,000 abroad for it to be better. £2,000 would earn you 2,500 Avios which covers the £24 fee. Avios earned from further foreign spend is therefore bonus.

    Of course, if you’re willing the pay the £24 fee simply to get your hands on the upgrade voucher then you can ignore the calculation above.

  • RT says:

    Is it possible to churn and earn with these cards?

    • mark2 says:

      A couple can invite each other and get 9000 Avios each.

    • Rob says:

      No. Lloyds have even been known to refuse a bonus on the Avios cards to people who had the old Air Miles cards six years ago, even though that was a totally different product.

  • RT says:

    Actually – the £140 card offers a companion voucher too on £12k spend?! I never knew that!!!!

    • mark2 says:

      but economy only, so take care that the £140 charge plus taxes and fees does not exceed the cash fare.

    • Rob says:

      Upside – usable on Eurostar, Aer Lingus etc as well as BA
      Downside – economy only

      • RT says:

        Is it possible to use the 241 on Econ then use the upgrade voucher to upgrade to Premium?

        • Rob says:

          No, because the upgrade voucher is NOT an upgrade voucher. That is what they call it, but in reality what happens is that they sell you a ticket in the higher class for the miles of the lower class. Will not therefore combine.

  • BigAl says:

    A few queries:

    1. Does anyone know the answer to Polly’s question about whether the upgrade vouchers can be used for BA flights ex-UK? The T&Cs specifically exclude ex-LCY, which to me implies it needs to be from LHR or LGW, but does anyone know for sure?

    2. Has anyone compared the actual exchange rates of this card against eg BAPP to make sure their don’t have a stealth fee? 0% foreign transaction fees may not seem so great if the exchange rate’s 2% higher…

    3. I take it that the website is generally a bit more budget than Amex in that it doesn’t show you how far you have progressed towards reaching your target etc? (I realise you can do this manually but just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing a trick).

    4. Interesting about the companion voucher for the £140 – surely makes it a better option than keeping BAPP..?!

    Thanks!

    • mark2 says:

      re point 1 the exclusion of LCY implies to me that any other start point is allowed, but get it in writing from Lloyds if this is important to you;
      re point 3: a lot more budget from my experience;
      re point 4, the companion voucher can only be used in Economy.

      • Mick says:

        I think the caveate here is the Ex EU question …. This would defo be a deal maker/breaker for me …. Ide like to know the actual routes allowed on other airlines including aer lingus …. Think I shall call them after work.

        • Polly says:

          I have been through their t and c s today like a fine needle, and cannot find any exclusion re ex EU. It’s not even mentioned, so I think this is fairly naive avios collecting here. All very basic. And you have to go through avios, not BA. The fact that their companion ticket is allowed ONLY for Economy might work after the changes end of April. They seem to not be aware of the ins and outs that we can actually achieve, with a bit of planning, as we HforP are used to doing. Their SOLO upgrade to CLUB is definitely worth pursuing though, If flying alone. My hubby can use this for work trips, so just fine for us. Otherwise the only companion ticket to aim for in the business is the amex 241. So oyou need a few 1000 more avios, but at least we can fly First. The Ex EU is definitely the underlying question here! Then we can start planning….

          • jason says:

            Hi Polly

            Excuse my ignorance, but why is Ex EU so important for these flights?

          • Polly says:

            We don’t have to pay APD, on ex EU flights. eg ex BRU to SYD minimal taxes, just RFS to get to BRU, usually save a £300 to £400 in taxes. Which you can then spend in Brussles enjoying a European city each end of the flight, instead of paying it to her majesty’s gov! Just check out some previous articles of raffles which shows how we can save. Also recently a BA sale had flights to HNL. Hawaii ex Dub for around £1200 instead of over 2k from LHR, so it’s a big part of avios flight planning.

          • jason says:

            Thought it might be APD, but couldn’t see how that would tie into a BA flight redemption.
            I’m looking to get to our destination, the most luxurious way and the most direct way, with 2 young children. Adding 4 flights, on, wouldn’t go down too well. However I see your point in your circumstances.

          • Mark says:

            I think there is some confusion here. The upgrade vouchers can only be used with BA, hence the question of whether you can use them ex-EU is a definite no (flights to London aside).

            It is the companion voucher that can be used on limited other airlines, but that is economy only.

    • Rob says:

      The FX rate always goes off the MasterCard / Visa / Amex interbank rate so no problems with that.

  • richie says:

    whatch that this actually posts though. it didnt for us

  • Martin says:

    I’ve got a grump on about this card.

    I applied and got declined and have no idea why. As far as I know I have a perfect credit history, and managed to get an Amex Platinum without them even doing the “we’ll think about it” bit, but Lloyds dont want to love me, whcih is fine, as its now mutual :o(

    Humph.

    • Matthew says:

      I think Raffles has said in the past that they have a history of declining people with perfect credit scores. Some companies don’t accept you if you pay off your balance in full each month, simply as they wont make money from you with no interest charges being levied. Maybe you have quite a number of cards already? I’m not sure what is classed as normal but including the ‘double pack’ cards, I have 8 which is prob enough! I may need to ditch one before my next application.

      • mark2 says:

        I have just got one of these cards although I have paid off all of my credit cards in full by direct debit. I am now retired and have very little income but I have been granted cards by Amex, Barclaycard, Tesco and Lloyds in the last few weeks. I only wanted the welcome bonuses but they did not know that.

    • Blenz101 says:

      If I had to guess, your current lines of available credit VS declared annual income are not something Lloyds wish to risk extending further.

      If Amex (plus others) have already given you generous limit(s) then you could see why another bank would be hesitant to offer you even more – the computer won’t be considering that you are only in it for the miles.

      Reduce some existing limits down and try again in 6 months.

      • Martin says:

        I only have 2 cards, one is the plat and one is BA which I reduced the limit on to £3000, a fraction of what they gave me. I guess I need to accept that not everyone falls for my charms. “Leave it, son, they’re not worth it” as they might say on Albert Square.

    • MattK says:

      I’ve applied for the Hilton Barclaycard and been rejected every time (March 2013, October, 2013, January 2015). At the time of the first application I only had one other credit card. I’ve never been turned down for any Amex or other credit card.

      I have no idea what their approval process is but I clearly don’t meet their requirements somehow, I presume Lloyds may have a similar picky process.

    • Matt says:

      Lloyds use current account information to assess applications so it is notoriously difficult to get accepted for their products if you don’t have a current account with them. Still possible but the bar is much higher.

      • Jason says:

        My wife was accepted instantly last week and we bank with HSBC.

      • JQ says:

        Well it’s more like Lloyds are too stingy to pay Experian when existing customers apply, so they automatically accept most of their own customers, while non-customers need to meet an unknown set of criteria before Lloyds will even bother to credit check them.

        • joe says:

          To give Lloyds credit, they actually called me to discuss my application as there was some inconcistency. We cleared it up over the phone and a human made the decision to accept me.

          The credit card company I work for rejected me with ‘ computer says no ‘. Oh well.

          • Rob says:

            My wife constantly fails to get Amex Gold yet they are happy to accept her for credit cards – and she earns the sort of money that you would expect from a senior City banker. There is no logic to these things.

  • Bob says:

    Don’t forget the foursquare offers and amex connect, just got £10 duty free perfume etc and £10 back from £30 Dixons duty free, £10 back for spending £50 in House of Fraser etc etc etc if you work it you’re soon quids in (up) cheers

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