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.

Lloyds Avios Rewards 2

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? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 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.

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:

American Express Business Gold card

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

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (91)

  • Callum says:

    These vouchers seem to be manually processed by Avios – I’d imagine this was more a case of whoever processed the refund not looking at it properly.

  • Anna says:

    OT on the Hilton Honours Visa – I’ve had an email inviting me to apply, but the free night voucher is only valid for 6 months which might not be long enough for me. It says in the Ts & Cs that it takes 6 – 8 weeks to issue the certificate; does the validity period state as soon as it’s triggered by the £750 spend, or the date it’s issued? The extra 6 – 8 weeks would make a difference.

    • D says:

      Not sure on the validity period but my experience (and I think I saw similar comments a while ago) is that it took far less than 6-8 weeks for them to issue the certificate.

    • Alan says:

      Valid for 6/12 from issue date – the email you receive clearly states the expiry date on it.

  • Jake says:

    Something similar happened to me when redeeming the Virgin Flying Club upgrade voucher from the Black credit card.

    Booked 2 PE return tickets paying economy points (40k) and upgrading with the voucher. Issues with Virgin’s new systems meant that the tickets couldn’t be issued. After a few days, Virgin took the full PE worth of points from my account (70k), issued the tickets then manually credited the points back. A few days later, they credited another 70k to my account.

    I’m putting this down to human error but have ring fenced the points in case they take them back! But at the moment I’ve got free flights (plus taxes) and 30k free points so I’m a happy bunny!

    • Leo says:

      Virgin have a nasty habit of catching up after their mistakes. Just last week they took 6000 miles off me – which I knew was correct – but it took them over 6 months to work it out. This was at least the second time this has happened to me.

  • Brian says:

    I’ve cancelled two of these vouchers before and always received back the miles I actually spent, alas. So it seems to be a one-off case of human error – good for the person involved!

  • Mike says:

    From the comments this seems like a one off “bank error in customer’s favour” rather than policy.

    Similarly, I once got F tier points on a J>F GUF2 upgrade due to BA ticketing issues.

  • Kevin says:

    I cancelled and re-booked an avios booking with lloyds voucher and managed to get the voucher applied to the new booking. Again not meant to happen so looks like depends on who you talk to.

    • Brian says:

      When I cancelled my last flight, I was told that I could have the voucher applied to a new booking, so it does seem that this is possible – but if you just cancel (rather than change) your booking, then it gets lost.

      • Rashad says:

        this does not make sense and as I am currently in a situation when I need to cancel zone 6 booking and need to make a new Zone 4 and I was told that I will loose my voucher, in fact I have tried 3 different agents in case one them would be “nice” to allow me – but hey this did not work for me

  • Talay says:

    OT re BA Amex 241

    I have a 241 expiring next week and have no use for it. Is there any use it can be put to ?

    • Polly says:

      Only thing we have done is a CE return 2 day trip into EU, hope you do get to use it…but that’s good if we could extend the Lloyds voucher by just changing a flight…useful.

      • Brian says:

        Only good if you know the change date at the time, since you have to pay the change fee of £35. So not really much use for just prolonging the life, unless you know for a fact that you will be able to use it later. I don’t think you can change the destination, either – just the date.

        • Rashad says:

          Avios agent told me that apparently you can change the destination as far as it is in the same Zone (like for example Zone 6 you can change DXB to DOH or ABU)

  • Will says:

    Tried that previously, tracked then got denied. Good offer though Th.