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)

  • Alan says:

    No dice on a booking made and cancelled this morning

  • Confused says:

    I was caught out a week ago by the off-peak WTP->CW upgrade avios price being greater than the peak upgrade price. LGW-OAK in July, out is off-peak, inward is peak. We upgraded the return, overnight, for 50 000 at the time of booking, but did not have enough avios to do the outward.

    Thanks to many tips here I built up my avios to 50 500, and seeing renewed award availability for the outward flight tried to upgrade, only to be told that because the outward date was off-peak, the upgrade was 60 000, not 50 000 as I had expected.

    Fortunately I remembered that I had just enough Iberia and Amex points to get up to 60 000 and completed the upgrade.

    What then did surprise me was the the number of avios and tier points earned has also gone up. Previously we were getting the lowest possible points for WTP in both directions. Now we are getting WTP in one direction and CW in the other.

    “Manage my Booking” says “Club World” in both directions, but T class (WTP I believe) in one direction and U class (is there oen?) in the other.

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      MMB lies a lot and BA posts incorrectly sometimes. You should get the points it stated before the upgrades but either or both legs could post at the increased value. Don’t hold your breath for it though 🙁

  • Omar says:

    As much as I wouldn’t mind fleecing BA out of some Avios, this seems unethical and based not that I would not pull something like this.

  • JamesB says:

    OT query: is the priority pass that comes with amex platinum standalone or does it need to be presented in conjunction with the charge card?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You don’t need to show the Platinum but most of the time they will match the name on the PP vs the boarding pass and the AMEX card needs to active still for the PP to work

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks, now just have to hope it arrives with the post today.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Even if it doesn’t they should be able to tell you your details so you can load the PP app up on your phone

          • Alan says:

            Indeed, I don’t even carry the card now, I just use the app.

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks folks, Poly mentioned this to me before too. Who do I call, amex or priority pass customer service? The PP cards have not arrived so I’ll give it a go.

  • Mark says:

    I have never received my Lloyds upgrade voucher, despite having spent the required amount. Do I contact Avios or Lloyds to sort this out?

    • krys_k says:

      Good question. In my experience the customer service of each refers you to the other when there’s a particularly fruity problem. I’d contact Avios and have a copy of your statement ready to send to them showing spend. In my experience Avios customer service is quite good (as an aside, Amex has the best, BA the worst, and Lloyds well above BA but well below Avios).

    • Alan says:

      Assuming you’ve been receiving your points OK each month (ie that Avios haven’t set up a new account for you) and that there is no voucher showing in your Avios.com account, then I’d get on to Lloyds. They’re the ones that know how much you have spent on the card (even if they don’t have a tracker and their agents don’t know!) and therefore they are the ones that need to trigger the voucher.

    • Richard says:

      Yes, Lloyds. I had the same situation, took about a month but they gave me £200 compensation for the delay …. and then another voucher turned up a few months later (with no additional spend!).

  • Lumma says:

    OT but related to Lloyds and this card, but while using the eligibility checker on the Lloyds site, I get 80% chance of acceptance with “it looks like you’d be accepted for one of our cards”. On applying about a month ago, I got turned down for it.

    I was wondering if there’s any real point to these things, I get the same result on the Halifax site as well and their clarity card could come in handy but don’t want to risk another rejection. I have opened two other credit cards (ihg and mbna) and two current accounts (Tesco and co-op) but none of these were instead of my main first direct account.

    Would it be advisable to hold back for a while on any new applications? I’m also close to the time that I can reapply for amex gold

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Should have sent them a letter asking to reconsider.

      Worked for me I just noted I always pay my bills, Never Defaulted, All cards paid off monthly and was a Lloyds customer with a healthy balance and all that would show on my credit file if they manually checked. Still a faff but this card is a keeper while the AMEX lasts so worth it.

      • Lumma says:

        Might be worth a shot. As far as I can work out, this is the best card for me, over the free BA amex which I currently use. Would hit the target for the upgrade voucher easily.

        Think I’ll apply for the gold amex, hit the spend for the bonus, then try again with Lloyds.

        Thanks for the info

        • Anon says:

          Check you haven’t got any dormant accounts. My OH, the main earner, got turned down because he had a really old credit card account, it had zero balance but he’d never officially closed it. I got accepted even as a lower earner.

          • Callum says:

            That should only matter if their total credit limit is too high. I have a dormant account (tried to close it 3 times!) and have never had a problem. At least it’s increasing my average account age!

    • the_real_a says:

      LLyods appears to be unique that is uses its own data heavily when considering credit applications. It also appears to be risk adverse, as LLyods gave me a £1k credit limit compared with MBNA a month later that gave £30k

    • Callum says:

      Yes there’s a point to them – an 80% chance of acceptance means there was a 1 in 5 chance you’ll be rejected, so it’s not that surprising. If Lloyds rejected you then there’s a decent chance Halifax will too.

      I was rejected when I first applied so I opened a Lloyds current account. 6 months later I got an instant acceptance (same with the Clarity).

      • Lumma says:

        The thing I don’t get with it is that it’s using their data, so I can’t see why it shouldn’t be more accurate than saying using the checker on say money supermarket.

        Other sites that have their in house eligibility checkers tend to to be you a simple yes/no then say you can apply subject to a final credit check.

        Strangely, I am eligible for both creation’s IHG cards this way, but not the asda one.

        • callum says:

          I don’t know whether it’s more accurate or not (it depends how they built it) but I vaguely recall reading that the credit reference agencies supplying the data made them make it a bit more rudimentary than the full check – otherwise it would just be a way of cheating the system and never getting “failed” searches on your report. This was back when it was quite rare to have a checker, so I don’t know if it’s still the same now.

          I don’t think they always say yes/no, most I’ve done have been something like “it’s likely you’ll be accepted”. Weirdly I got a quote through a third party (I think the MSE Credit Club) which said I have guaranteed acceptance for a Virgin credit card. I then did the checker on the Virgin website and that said I’m unlikely to get it (or possibly even I would definitely not get it). I went back to MSE and applied and got the instant acceptance.

          Assuming I was right about the credit agencies still hobbling the system, it would be much better if they didn’t, but I can certainly see why they would.

  • N says:

    £100 off £500 spend at BA.com in my BAPP

  • the_real_a says:

    I am on my third voucher now: Some observations… 1) Any telephone booking appears to be processed as a manual deduction of points. Hence the agent can do “whatever” you persuade them to do. After tagging on domestic connections to the PNR at each end, and 40 minutes on the line they are very “helpful” to get rid of you. 2) Your final destination can be changed, provided it is in the same zone as the original.

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