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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.

  • David says:

    I have had this card for over a year now and must say that I have been very happy with it. There is talk in this article of poor customer service, but I have had no significant issues. The fee-free use abroad works well and the upgrade voucher was applied to my account promptly on reaching the target. Yes you do have to monitor your progress on a bit of paper adding up your statements, but this isn’t a problem. The MasterCard earning rate is disappointing, and I tend to avoid using it.

    I am looking forward to spending my first voucher. I was considering spending it just before the Avios changes were announced, and on reviewing the old and new redemption tables soon realised I was better off waiting until May. For those who don’t have a massive avios balance and tend to redeem once every couple of years for (what is now determined as an “off-peak”) long haul trip I’m not sure the advice to spend before May is the best way forward if you already have this card. The only concern would be whether or not redemption availability remains good, but I personally think that once the dust settles availability should improve over what there was previously, based on at least two CW seats being available for every flight.

    As for use of the voucher from outside the UK, you would need to check with Avios. If possible I suspect this would only be able to be booked (and upgraded) over the telephone. Even if possible I’m not sure the tax savings are really worth the extra hassle though; not to mention the risk of the positioning flight being delayed causing the long-haul connecting flight to be missed. Of course you may view this risk differently.

  • Joe says:

    As I put above, I used this voucher for a cw ow for two adults from pos to lgw but this had to be done over the phone as you cannot do one ways on the phone. At £24 per year, feel it’s worth it even if you end up using it on a club Europe sector

    • Mark says:

      It’s not just the £24 though, but the requirement to spend £7K that might otherwise be put to use earning sign-up bonuses elsewhere.

      In principle I’m tempted to go for it alongside the BAPP 2for1. Taking our overseas spend into account I think we could meet the spend target for one of each in a year. However whether we’d be able to amass enough avios to put both to good use without paying a high price for top-ups is another matter.

      With a referral bonus (if we qualify having had Airmiles cards previously) and double avios on the Amex in the first six months it is probably worth giving it a go for year at least. Hmm, definitely one to go and mull over….

      • Jason says:

        The double Avios for the first 6 months makes it very attractive, that’s even before the upgrade voucher is taken into account.
        Regards preferring to choose Lloyd’s account holders for applications, would that include business account holders as well?

      • Polly says:

        Mark, Could you not rotate the plat and the BAPP every year, one referring the other, alternate years, def worth it, we do that, plus tesco clubcard and just manage to get the amount needed. ESP now with the plat, adding supplementaries at 10k each, quite a lot of avios to be had right now in the next coupe of weeks. Am right in the middle of this plan at the mo… Worth a thought. We pay as many bills etc with amex to up the numbers etc. thanks for the info.

        • Mark says:

          Yes, that’s given me some ideas… presumably no issue with retaining an unused 2for1 when downgrading a BAPP to the standard blue card?

          Thanks.

  • Polly says:

    Mark, 8.58 pm. I get your point about the voucher. What I am asking is, if we can use it on BA departing from a Low APD point outside the UK, ie departing from BRU. And yes always the risk of a positioning flight delayed, thus the plan to stay overnight each end of the trip, and enjoy a mini city break out and back. If anyone knows if it can be used in this way, that would be great.

    • Mark says:

      Good point. I suspect the only way to really find out would be to try it…. you would of course have to shell the extra avios for the leg back to London as well as getting yourself to the start point when upgrading an outbound. Even if it is possible that would substantially eat into the tax saving, especially when considering the hassle of doing it and the disruption risk.

      Inbound you’d presumably have to use the avios for the onward flight to Europe even if you don’t turn up for it.

  • Andi says:

    the Lloyds Upgrade Voucher and 241… do i have to use these with Avios points booking or can i use them in anyway with BAEC?

    • Mark says:

      No. They can only be used for Avios bookings via avios.com (although the points can easily be transferred from BA). You can’t use them for cash bookings.

  • Mark says:

    OK. Card applied for. I didn’t see any option to add a companion card holder though as part of the application process. I assume that is possible later on?

    • Jason says:

      I have to say LLoyds is now much more efficient, now that TSB has been jettisoned.
      Did an application for my wife last Wednesday, accepted immediately, PIN arrived yesterday.
      Didn’t see anywhere to put her Avios account number or a supplementary card.
      This compares to, 18 months ago applying for a similar card, accepted immediately but she had to visit a Lloyd’s branch ( I can’t remember why but now TSB branch) 4 times, taking 45 mins each time, they did 3 credit checks,( without our knowledge) and accepted her for a platinum card as well, which she didn’t apply for.
      3 months later I emailed Lloyd’s when no card( or Avios bonus) had appeared and they compensated her £130 for the inconvenience and for the fact the Avios bonus offer had now finished.
      The 2 applications are a world apart!

      • mark2 says:

        It sounds as if you did not get the 9000 Avios for inviting each other which causes a small delay?

        • Jason says:

          I thought it better to wait for a second card, in 6 months, as I don’t want to initiate the double Avios bonus( if it’s still available)on the 2nd card until the first card’s double Avios bonus has expired.
          I did a referral via Raffles.
          I can only put just under £7k through the card, in the first 6 months, as I want to try and trigger the vouchers together.

  • AndyGWP says:

    So…. is there anywhere on the Lloyds site where you can keep track of how far off your voucher you are?? 🙂

    Also, where does your voucher ‘appear’ when it’s been earned? 🙂

    • David says:

      There is no “tracker”, but it isn’t really a hassle to keep a note of your spend each month. Just add up the total spend since the annual fee was charged and if/when it reaches £7000 then the voucher should be issued fairly soon after.

      The voucher is added to your avios.com account, and shows in the “vouchers” section of your account.

      • AndyGWP says:

        Agreed, was just being lazy and couldn’t be bothered go through 6 months worth of statements 🙂

        Looks like I’m £400 short 🙂

  • Roger says:

    Don’t sneer too loudly at the supposed £500 limit given by Aqua.

    FWIW my limit is £3,200. Not as much as on some other cards but interesting enough to use outside the UK earning 0.5% rebate and making a Faster Payment if necessary to keep within the limit.

  • Alan says:

    Nice article, Rob – agree of definite interest going forward given the need only to have availability in the upgraded class (likely CW for most aiming for max value). Also having a year to hit the £7k is reasonably generous. Definitely going to investigate this one!

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