(EDIT: the comments below suggest that this example may have been a freak IT error. That said, if your voucher is expiring and as there is no fee for cancelling a redemption within 24 hours, there is still no risk in trying it if you want.)
The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card comes with an annual upgrade voucher.
Triggered when you have spent £7,000, it allows you to book two one-way flights (either both for yourself or for you and another person) for the Avios of the next cheapest class.
You cannot use it in First Class. You can, however, use it to book a Club World ticket for the Avios of World Traveller Plus or a World Traveller Plus ticket for the Avios of World Traveller.
My full review of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card is here if you want to find out more.
There are some quirks attached to the voucher:
The Avios website says that the voucher is triggered after £7,000 spend in a CALENDAR year. This is bull. It is based on spend in your CREDIT CARD year based on the date you opened your Lloyds Avios card.
If you are flying on an aircraft without World Traveller Plus, you now have to pay the notional cost of WTP anyway. In the past, you would be charged World Traveller mileage if you booked a Club World flight without World Traveller Plus – which is often the case on mid-haul routes such as Amman, Beirut etc. This was obviously an excellent deal.
Linked to the above point, on the upside you can now use the voucher on the one-class London City to New York JFK service. You are charged World Traveller Plus mileage even though the aircraft has no World Traveller Plus or World Traveller seats.
You cannot use the voucher on BA CityFlyer services from London City, or any of the regional airports where BA CityFlyer operates weekend services.
And …. the one we are looking at today …. if you book a redemption using the upgrade voucher and cancel it, you lose the voucher.
A long-term reader came a cropper with this recently. He had booked a flight using his Lloyds Avios credit card upgrade voucher but decided to rebook using a cash ticket on an excellent fare found in the current Qatar Airways sale.
He expected to lose his upgrade voucher. He was right.
He expected to get his Avios back. He was partially right …..
He received a refund for the full Avios cost of this flight, not the reduced cost. He had booked a one-way Club World flight for 62,500 Avios points but had only been charged 40,000 Avios points (the World Traveller Plus price). He received 62,500 Avios back and so had made 22,500 Avios points profit.
(I have seen screenshots to verify this but I am not reproducing them as they would compromise the person involved.)
There is no guarantee that this works for everyone. However:
if you have a Lloyds Avios upgrade voucher which will otherwise expire unused, and
given that BA lets you cancel a redemption booking within 24 hours without charging any cancellation fee
…. you have nothing to lose by trying this.
Ignoring Australia, as you’d never find the seats, the most lucrative option would be to book a return Avios flight in Club World on an OFF-PEAK DATE to somewhere in Zone 8, say Santiago. I say ‘off-peak’ becaue the gap between Club World and World Traveller Plus pricing is bigger on off-peak dates as you can see in the chart in this article.
Club World return to Zone 8 off-peak = 175,000 Avios return
World Traveller Plus return to Zone 8 off-peak = 91,000 Avios return
If you booked a return to Santiago in Club World for 91,000 Avios plus taxes, using a Lloyds Avios upgrade voucher, and then cancelled – for no fee if you do it within 24 hours – you may get 175,000 Avios back. You would have swapped your upgrade voucher for 84,000 free Avios.
Or you might not.
This could have been a freak result for our reader. It could have been an IT error. Or it could just work for anyone.
Be clear though. You are 100% certain to lose your upgrade voucher if you do this so don’t try it unless you won’t use it. And don’t blame me if it fails!
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:
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 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 Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
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 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:
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
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.