Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

If you have a Lloyds Avios credit card upgrade voucher expiring, you could try this …..

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(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? – July 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our July 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

Nectar American Express

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

30,000 points 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 the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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 Gold

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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (90)

  • The Original Nick. says:

    Very interesting Rob. My voucher expires in October so I’ve some time to consider this.

  • Rob says:

    The Lloyds upgrade voucher expiry date.
    Is that date a “book by” date, or a “book and fly by” date?

    • Kathryn says:

      It’s book by. I’ve just used mine which expires at the end of May for a booking in July.

  • Jonathan says:

    Wouldn’t you conceivably gain more doing this with a peak flight? Rather than off peak as demonstrated with the example.

    • JamesB says:

      No, the difference between avios required for WTP and CW is greater for offpeak dates than peak dates therefore the benefit on the former is greater.

  • Jonathan says:

    Vouchers with a 2-4-1 BAPP voucher? Getting 2x club world for avios cost of 1 WTP?

  • Mark says:

    I don’t think you can book a one way flight for just one person with this voucher? Im pretty sure it restricts you to 2x people one way or 1x person return. Am I mistaken?

    • Yuff says:

      Rob’s example was for a return 😉

    • Callum says:

      I’m pretty sure you can. My itinerary is a bit complicated but it looks like it should be a one way to me (HKG-LON stopover – SCL). The agent asked if I wanted to book the return if that means anything.

      • Alan says:

        You definitely can – you can either book return for one person, two singles for two, or one single for one – it’s just with the last option you’re giving up part of the voucher value, but they’re not going to force you to make use of it. BA 241 voucher also allows one-way bookings but they have to leave from the UK, with the Lloyds one there is no such restriction.

    • the_real_a says:

      You can if your phone up

  • JamesB says:

    It’s likely this is not freak and is the reason the voucher is not returned, in effect you get avios in lieu of the voucher.. If an AY sale comes around soon I plan to cancel a flight to BKK in September which used a voucher so I would be able to comfirm or otherwise. However, I fear now that if avios get a lot of hassle as a result of this post tbey might change the rules. It seems unlikely that there will be a huge number of unused vouchers but the can of worms could be opened with people like me and other readers cancelling reservations to take advantage of exEU sales on QR or exUK sales on AY. Doing so is worthwhike because we get the combined benefit of avios on the cancelled voucher plus avios earned on the revenue flight. This is a good post but I fear it is one that might result in an avios emhancement that we may regret.

  • Nigel says:

    Any similar techniques that could be used for an expiring BAPP 241 voucher?

  • Wally1976 says:

    As someone who can only ever use the upgrade vouchers for CE I’m tempted to try this as there seems far more to gain than what I might lose! If I do (later on today) I’ll report back. Thanks for the tip Rob. If true it might make the Lloyd’s card worth keeping beyond the first year for me.

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