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BA American Express 2-4-1 Voucher Discussion

BA American Express 2-4-1 Voucher Discussion

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Old Oct 7, 20, 8:27 am   -   Wikipost
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British Airways American Express Companion Voucher (2-4-1) Discussion and Wiki Thread



Summary

The British Airways American Express Companion Voucher entitles you to receive a second seat for a companion on the same flight as you and in the same cabin when you make a reward booking on a British Airways mainline flight with a BA prefixed flight number (but not on flights operated by franchisee, codeshare or alliance airlines). All youíll have to pay is the taxes, fees and charges for you and your companionís tickets.

The voucher is easy and straightforward to use. You as the cardholder may book a redemption ticket, paid for entirely in Avios, and you take a travel companion with you at no additional Avios cost. The usual taxes, fees and surcharges apply to both passengers, which must be paid for by the card holder.

Standard Voucher Terms and Conditions
  • The voucher is valid for travel on BA operated flights with BA prefix only
  • Valid towards return flights only, with the journey originating from and returning to your country of membership (with the exception of vouchers issued in the UK which may also be used for one-way travel)
  • Taxes, fees and surcharges apply to both the companion and the travelling Cardmember. The card holder will pay the cash supplement assessed for themselves and all others in the booking, using the credit card associated with the voucher
  • For Premium Plus Cardmembers who have two or more valid vouchers in their account, combining two vouchers within a single booking is permitted, subject to redemption availability. This allows the travelling Cardmember to take three travel companions, paying the Avios price for two passengers. Taxes, fees and charges must be paid for all four passengers. A maximum of two vouchers can be used towards any single booking
  • The Cardmember can travel without the companion, however the companion cannot travel without the Cardmember
  • The Cardmember cannot cancel the companionís ticket to get the companion voucher back and still fly. In order to get the voucher back, the whole booking must be cancelled and re-booked for yourself, provided there is redemption availability
  • Cancelling a redemption booking does not guarantee the seat(s) will be released back into the award inventory
  • If the booking is cancelled at least 24 hours before the first flight, the Avios, taxes and fees will be refunded, plus the companion voucher. Generally the voucher and Avios will be refunded quite quickly, with the monetary components taking a few days longer. A cancellation fee will apply unless you are a BAEC GGL card holder
  • Tickets booked by phone need to be booked at least 48 hours in advance
  • Cardmembers must have accrued the Target within a 12-month period ending each year on the anniversary of their Promotion Commencement Date. Spend from the previous anniversary year will not be carried over
  • Spend towards the Voucher must be charged to the account before the anniversary date. Any spend on the Card made before the anniversary date but not charged to the account until after the anniversary date will not be counted
  • Companion Vouchers cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion (This is the formal line, but in reality it can be used with GUF2 and Jokers)
  • If you (as the Cardmember who earned the Companion Voucher) are part of a BA Household Account, then both you and your companion must be members of the Household Account, or be on the 'Friends and Family' list that is attached to it
  • One Companion Voucher per main Cardmember per year

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the British Airways American Express Companion Voucher?
A: The British Airways American Express Companion Voucher entitles you to receive a second seat for a companion on the same flight as you and in the same cabin when you make a reward booking on a British Airways mainline flight with a BA prefixed flight number (but not on flights operated by franchisee, codeshare or alliance airlines). All youíll have to pay is the taxes, fees and charges for you and your companionís tickets.

Q: How do I qualify for the British Airways American Express Companion Voucher?
A: To qualify for your British Airways American Express Companion Voucher, you must reach the required spend threshold for your card, as shown below, within a 12-month period ending on the anniversary of the date of issue of your BA/AMEX Card. Please note that required spend does not include cash withdrawals, interest, balance transfers and fees.
  • Classic: £20,000
  • Premium Plus: £10,000
Once you have reached the required spend threshold for your Card, you will automatically be sent your British Airways American Express Companion Voucher. Please note you are only entitled to one Companion Voucher per 12-month period, and required spend collected in one 12-month period cannot be carried over into the next 12-month period.

Q: Iíve hit my spend. When will the voucher show up?
A: Once you hit the target, you will receive an email congratulating you on the award of your voucher. It will show up quite prominently on your BAEC account home page after logging in. American Express directly states once a Card Member qualifies, we compile a list of eligible Card Members (monthly) and send it to British Airways (can take 3-5 days). British Airways advises the Card Member of their e-voucher / Companion Ticket via mail within 10-15 days.

The e-voucher / Companion Ticket shows online for a period of time to redeem, when the Card Member logs onto their Executive Club (Avios) account at ba.com.




Q: How long is the voucher valid for?
A: When the voucher is earned following a £10,000 spend on the BA Premium Plus American Express card, the voucher is valid for 24 months. When the voucher is earned following a £20,000 spend on the BA Classic American Express card, it is valid for 12 months. You must have booked and completed the whole of your outbound travel by the date the voucherís validity expires, and it cannot be extended under any circumstances. The longer validity of the Premium Plus voucher is often cited as a very good reason to pay the £195 card fee.

Q:How do I get the most value from my voucher?
A: There is potential for you to save a substantial amount of Avios using the voucher, but its value to you is something only you can define. But in short, using the voucher for redemptions in First or Club World will maximise its value, as these naturally incur the highest redemption spend and will therefore save you the most Avios.

Q: Can I use the voucher and part-pay with Avios?
A: The ticket itself must be paid for entirely with Avios. Taxes, surcharges and fees (the "cash component" of the ticket composed of these fees, which are charged on standard redemptions in any event) must be paid for using an American Express card, although not necessarily a British Airways one (this is stated in the Terms and Conditions, but any Amex works)

Q: How do I pay the taxes, surcharges and fees?
A: An American Express card must be used to settle the taxes, surcharges and fees for both passengers. The Terms and Conditions state you must use the same American Express card that the voucher was earned on to settle this payment, but in practice any American Express card can be used. You may not use a Visa, MasterCard or other payment form to settle these fees.

Q: Can I book an open-jaw trip using the voucher?
A: You can, but you will need to call BA. For the trip to be valid, the length of the surface sector must be shorter than either of the flown journeys. If you want to fly from LHR to AAA and from BBB back to LHR, then the LHR-AAA and BBB-LHR distances must both be greater than the distance between AAA and BBB.

Q: Can I book my outbound flight at 355 days and call back to add the return booking?
A: Yes, but you will need to call BA. Once availability shows, you can call to add the return leg Ė the BA policy is to waive the £35 change fee per passenger if the return was beyond the booking window when you booked the outbound, i.e. that you booked your outbound leg when seats became available at T-355.

For example: If you booked your outbound at T-355 and called later to add the return leg the change fee would be waived. If you booked your outbound at T-50 and then booked the return for T-60 a few days later, the fee will not be waived.Important update, posted by cbagent on 12 Feb 2018:

If adding the return sector to an existing one-way Amex 241 where the inbound dates were out of range at time of booking, it is now possible to book the flights online as a new one way Avios booking then call BA UK office when open.

Half of the Avios on this new booking will then be refunded to reflect Amex voucher use. The benefit of this is that there is no need to try calling open BA office in the early hours of the morning and the downside is the itinerary will be ticketed as two one way bookings. In addition the Avios balance must be high enough to take a debit of double the required Avios albeit for a relatively short time. May be of use for some people. Note: you are strongly advised not to use this new method of booking two separate one ways if going to the US/Canada. When booking as two separate bookings and having the 2-4-1 applied across both is that taxes/charges/fees are not recalculated when the voucher is applied across to the second booking. Sometimes this will work out well for you (bookings exHKG for example), but for exUS or exCA bookings it is not recommended at all since exUS/CA taxes/fees/charges are very high. As an example, using the two separate bookings method on a LHR-JFK booking in J or F for two people would cost you about £480 more that the old method of calling and adding the inbound to an existing booking. Please see post 965 here for more information.


Q: As redemption seats are released at midnight GMT, what is the best way to secure them? There is no guarantee they will be available when the BA office opens in the morning!
A: Call a BA office that is open at midnight GMT. You will then be able to make the booking without waiting for your local office to open. Depending on timezone, Japan, Hong Kong and even the USA are frequently contacted for this purpose.

Q: I made a one-way booking using a voucher and have already completed the travel on that booking. Can I now add an inbound flight to the booking to make use of the voucher?
A: No.

Q: Does cancelling my BA American Express card mean I will lose the voucher? Does downgrading my BA American Express Premium Plus card to the Classic card mean I will lose my voucher?
A: No. Contrary to what American Express will tell you, you will keep the voucher if you cancel the card entirely, and similarly your voucher will retain its two year validity if you downgrade from the Premium Plus card to the Classic Card. Remember though that you will need to pay the taxes and fees on an American Express card, so it may be worth asking to downgrade the Premium Plus to the Classic card for this purpose if you donít hold another Amex.

Q: If I cancel my 2-4-1 booking, will I get the voucher back?
A: Yes, the voucher will appear in your BAEC some time after cancellation along with your Avios. The voucher will retain the same expiry date.

Q: If I cancel my BA Amex after making a 2-4-1 booking, and later cancel the booking, will I get the voucher back?
A: Collective forum experience would lend us to believe that in this situation you would receive the voucher back, as the voucher is credited to your BAEC account and there would be no way for it to know that you had subsequently cancelled your card. The expiry date of the voucher will remain the same.

Q: There is one redemption seat available on the route I want. If I use the voucher, will it book a second seat for me automatically?
A: No. The voucher makes use of existing availability, so to book travel for two passengers there must be a minimum of two redemption seats available on the flight.

Q: Availability on BA is really poor. Can I book a codeshare flight?
A: No. The terms of the voucher state that the booking is restricted to BA metal. You should be able to secure availability at T-355 days, as BA release two Club World seats for all flights at this point.

Q: Can I use a Gold Upgrade for Two voucher in conjunction with my voucher?
A: Yes. You will need to call BA to make the booking.

Q: Can I use a Joker in conjunction with my voucher?
A: Yes. You will need to call BA to make the booking.

Q: Can I fly mixed class bookings using the voucher?
A: Yes, however all companions on the booking must fly the same cabin. This means you could fly First outbound and Club World inbound together using the voucher, but you cannot have one passenger in Club World and another in World Traveller Plus on the same leg of the booking.

Q: Can I book myself on one flight and my companion on the next flight?
A: No. You must fly on the same flights, in the same cabin. This also applies to all four passengers if the booking has been made by a Premium Plus Cardmember using two vouchers in the same booking.

Q: Iíve booked in Club World and seats in First have opened up. Can I rebook in First?
A: Yes. You will need to call BA to do this, and the standard BA change fee of £35 will apply along with the Avios difference between cabins.

Q: I booked two regular redemption seats in Club World. Can I retrospectively apply the voucher to my booking and get half the Avios back?
A: No. You will need to cancel and rebook, as you need to apply the voucher at the time of booking. As per standard redemption procedures, there is no guarantee the seats will be re-released for you to book, so cancellation is at your own risk.

Q: Iíve read lots of stories that those travelling on 2-4-1 vouchers are prioritised for downgrades. Should I be worried?
A: Downgrades are very infrequent and while there are stories of this happening, you shouldnít worry that this will happen to you. BA have a number of strategies for overbooking situations and the likelihood of your flight being overbooked, let alone you receiving a downgrade or being denied boarding, is very low.

Q: Can I use a Lloyds Upgrade Voucher in conjunction with my 2-4-1?
A: No. The two vouchers are mutually exclusive.

Q: What is the best strategy to use the voucher and get the flights I want?
A: Flexibility. Being open to arrival airport, dates, and booking as far in advance as possible will all help your chances of booking the trip you want. Travelling midweek and during school term time will also lend itself to more availability.

Q: Can I make a 2-4-1 booking before the voucher expires, but actually fly after the voucher's expiry date?
A: Sort of. In short, you must book and fly the outbound leg before the expiry date. Your return leg(s) can take place after the voucher's expiry date passes.

Q: Do I have to return during the lifetime of the voucher?
A: Although your outbound journey must be completed before the voucher expires, you are free to return any time afterwards (within the limit of the validity of the ticket, which is normally one year from the date of outbound travel).

Q: I have a joint card with someone else, but the voucher has been issued in their name instead of mine, even though I did most of the spending on the card.
A: The voucher is issued in the name of the main Cardmember, regardless of who spends the most on the card.

Q: My Companion can no longer travel with me. Can I amend the name of my Companion on my 2-4-1 booking?
A: No. You will need to cancel the booking in its entirety, wait for the voucher and Avios to re-appear in your account, and create a new booking using the new Companion's details. There is no guarantee that the previous redemption seats you were booked into will reappear in the inventory, so this is at your own risk.

Q: I am a member of a Household Account. What are the rules around my companion travelling with me when this is the case?
A: The voucher terms state that, where you (as the Cardmember who earned the 2-4-1 voucher) are already part of a BA Household Account, the cardmember who travels with you must also be a member of the same Household Account. This is because Members of a Household Account cannot redeem their Avios for anyone outside the Household Account (members of the Family and Friends List are within the Household Account for these purposes). If this is problematic, there are a few ways to resolve this issue:
  • Add your companion to your Household Account. It should be noted that Household Accounts can have a maximum of seven members at any one time, and can only be changed every six months. Your companion must also live at the same address as you for this to be an option.
  • Add your companion to your Household Account's Family and Friends List. Once you have a Household Account, you can create a list of family and friends, so you can spend your Avios on people outside the group and, most importantly, on people who do not share the same address as you. You can nominate up to five people on your Family and Friends List, and you can access your Family and Friends list after you have logged into your online Executive Club account at ba.com. From here you can easily add individuals to your list Ė simply follow the on-screen instructions.
  • You withdraw from your Household Account. You may wish to note that Household Accounts can only be changed every six months.

Q: If I upgrade my Amex from the Classic to the Premium Plus card before earning the voucher, does my spend count towards a £10,000 target or the old £20,000 target?
A: Your spend will count towards the Premium Plus target of £10,000.

Q: I've earned my voucher on the Premium Plus card. If I subsequently downgrade the card, does it retain its two-year validity?
A: Yes. At the point the voucher appears in your BAEC account, the validity and expiry date will not change.

Q: I want to use two vouchers at the same time for four people to travel together. Can I book this on ba.com?
A: Yes. If you are holding two valid vouchers earned using a Premium Plus card, you can use two vouchers to book for four people travelling together (including yourself), paying the Avios for two people and the taxes, fees and charges for four. If you want to book this on ba.com, you must check for availability for four passengers.


Questions?

This Wiki answers most commonly asked questions about the Voucher, but is not by any means an exhaustive list. Do post in the thread if you have any other questions or queries.



Related topics
Community experiences using companion vouchers

ENDS
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Old Dec 7, 17, 11:22 am
  #406  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 1,249
The rules say you have to pay for your booking with the original Amex but in practice people find they can use any Amex. I don't think BA can even tell whether an Amex card number is the same one that triggered the voucher. Not sure about the specifics of your situation trying to make a change but not having the original card, sorry. Maybe try again but don't mention anything about cancellation?

They may well want the last digits of the original card just to confirm that you are same person who made the booking. If you no longer even have the number available you may indeed struggle to make any change.

Last edited by fruitcage; Dec 7, 17 at 11:34 am
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Old Dec 7, 17, 11:46 am
  #407  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by RockyRobin View Post
i am currently just under £1,900 off a 2-4-1 (deadline 11th May) on the Standard BA Amex card. Should I apply for an Amex Platinum so I can swap my spend over to it as soon as I hit the £20k?

Then cancel the current card when I hit £20k?

Having read this thread though I am a little concerned as to how feasible it is to use these vouchers. This issue of having to book the outbound without the inbound sounds ridiculous.

im assuming New York might be an easier destination?
once you hit the 20k and bag your vouchers, then there is nothing stopping you moving your spend onto the Amex Plat. technically you should keep your BA Amex to avoid losing the voucher (if you cancel the BA Amex, they will say you will lose the voucher), but in practise i don't think it happens. didn't happen to me anyway.

There is generally enough availability around as long as dates are flexible. you only need to book outbound without the inbound if you're looking at T-355. Else within that, you book outbound and inbound as normal


New York generally has good availability.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 4:10 pm
  #408  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Iím trying to book a BA 2-4-1, LHR to HKG return. I would like to do LHR-HKG economy and HKG-LHR business.
If I load up availability as two separate one-way flights, it comes to just over £500 taxes. But if I book it as a return, the flights come to over £800 taxes. I cannot work out why this is. Does anyone have any thoughts? I want to minimise cost and was hoping that by booking business from just HKG (less taxes) it would achieve this. Very confused!
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Old Dec 7, 17, 4:16 pm
  #409  
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Originally Posted by mhuk01 View Post
If I load up availability as two separate one-way flights, it comes to just over £500 taxes. But if I book it as a return, the flights come to over £800 taxes. I cannot work out why this is. Does anyone have any thoughts?
If you price LHR-HKG or LHR-HKG-LHR, taxes, fees and charges are calculated for a ticket issued in the UK. If you price HKG-LHR, the TFC are calculated for a ticket issued in Hong Kong, and the TFC figure is then subject to a regulatory cap. This is why there's a difference between pricing two one-ways or one round-trip.

If you want to use a 2-4-1 for both halves of the trip, you have to make one booking starting at LHR, so you will be asked to pay the higher figure.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 4:21 pm
  #410  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
If you price LHR-HKG or LHR-HKG-LHR, taxes, fees and charges are calculated for a ticket issued in the UK. If you price HKG-LHR, the TFC are calculated for a ticket issued in Hong Kong, and the TFC figure is then subject to a regulatory cap. This is why there's a difference between pricing two one-ways or one round-trip.

If you want to use a 2-4-1 for both halves of the trip, you have to make one booking starting at LHR, so you will be asked to pay the higher figure.
That's a shame. So presumably no chance for the lower taxes if I book the LHR-HKG then call up to get the HKG-LHR added?
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Old Dec 7, 17, 4:29 pm
  #411  
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Originally Posted by mhuk01 View Post
That's a shame. So presumably no chance for the lower taxes if I book the LHR-HKG then call up to get the HKG-LHR added?
No, because the new ticket will still be issued in the UK with the UK TFC figure. I believe that you can't get the figure for a HK-issued ticket unless you make a separate booking so that that ticket is issued in HK, but if you do that then you can't use the 2-4-1 in relation to that separate booking.
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Old Dec 12, 17, 6:13 pm
  #412  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Cape Town
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I know it states vouchers can take once received on BAEC's side to be added to the account within 10-15 days, however it seems the norm is 2-5 days. I am waiting on a companion voucher for 8 days since Amex confirmed it was sent to BAEC, and frankly giving me some sleepless nights now as i really need to snag the 2 last redemption seats on the perfect dates. Anyone know of a way to expedite the process and if 8+ days is the norm ?

I swear anyone who takes those two ET redemption seats on the LGW-SVQ sector outbound on the 5th July and back on the 9th , i will hunt you down and kill your first born.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 4:12 am
  #413  
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I have 2k left on my spending target and need to make a booking. What would happen if I charge a product for 2k (which is on waiting so no messing around with refunds) then cancel it after a month. I will hit the 2k target within the next 8-10 weeks anyway but the Avios seats are open now.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 4:30 am
  #414  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: London
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Originally Posted by RockyRobin View Post
i am currently just under £1,900 off a 2-4-1 (deadline 11th May) on the Standard BA Amex card. Should I apply for an Amex Platinum so I can swap my spend over to it as soon as I hit the £20k?

Then cancel the current card when I hit £20k?

Having read this thread though I am a little concerned as to how feasible it is to use these vouchers. This issue of having to book the outbound without the inbound sounds ridiculous.

im assuming New York might be an easier destination?
https://www.headforpoints.com/2016/0...-express-card/ - RockyRobin, you might find this makes a case of why you'd have been better off with the paid for card. One thing to note is that if you have the Premium Plus card the 2-4-1 voucher has a 2 year life, rather than a 1. This would be a benefit if you're concerned about how easy it is to use a 2-4-1. My understanding is if you choose to upgrade now, you'd get the voucher immediately as you've already spent over 10K. Once the voucher arrives you could cancel the card and shift your spending immediately to the new card. With the new card you might consider getting the Amex Gold first, and then upgrading to Platinum if you wish.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 5:25 am
  #415  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
I have 2k left on my spending target and need to make a booking. What would happen if I charge a product for 2k (which is on waiting so no messing around with refunds) then cancel it after a month. I will hit the 2k target within the next 8-10 weeks anyway but the Avios seats are open now.
I think you mean ordering something which is currently out of stock?.... this may not work at all if the merchant doesn't charge your card until the item is actually in stock for dispatch . and that does seem to be the approach taken by most large / reputable online retailers.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 7:21 am
  #416  
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Originally Posted by fruitcage View Post
I think you mean ordering something which is currently out of stock?.... this may not work at all if the merchant doesn't charge your card until the item is actually in stock for dispatch . and that does seem to be the approach taken by most large / reputable online retailers.
Nope. I am looking at a hight priced item which is currently on waiting list. They charge your card for the deposit straightaway which is refundable. I guess I could leave the deposit pending till I achieve 2k more in spending but would rather not.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 7:38 am
  #417  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Nope. I am looking at a hight priced item which is currently on waiting list. They charge your card for the deposit straightaway which is refundable. I guess I could leave the deposit pending till I achieve 2k more in spending but would rather not.
That should work, but be careful. If you get the refund in your next membership year, it will act as a negative for the new year's spending target. For example if you spend 2k then get a 2k refund after the year end, then you will need to spend either 12k or 22k in the next year (depending which card you have).
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Old Dec 14, 17, 9:58 am
  #418  
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Originally Posted by fruitcage View Post
That should work, but be careful. If you get the refund in your next membership year, it will act as a negative for the new year's spending target. For example if you spend 2k then get a 2k refund after the year end, then you will need to spend either 12k or 22k in the next year (depending which card you have).
Ideally I want to avoid paying any interest on it so I will charge it on say 1st and wait till the 14th to get the voucher activated and cancel the transaction by the 20th so it doesn't need to be paid when the statement is generated.

In this type of case what would BA/Amex do? Since I would have had the voucher and used it for a flight later in the year but I am say £1,500 off the spending target to earn it.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 10:16 am
  #419  
 
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Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
In this type of case what would BA/Amex do?
I haven't tried it but I am pretty sure the answer is "nothing at all". Once the voucher is issued, I don't believe they ever cancel or claw back, much less try to charge for flights already flown.
I could see a risk if someone took this idea too far though - If you made dozens of transactions and then got them all cancelled or refunded, I can imagine that might raise an 'unusual activity' flag somewhere in Amex's security systems, with who-knows-what consequences.
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Old Dec 15, 17, 1:27 am
  #420  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I very much doubt Amex will do anything reclaim the voucher. The only risk is that somehow the reversal is flagged and they black-mark you.

On other cards where you earn a MR bonus for certain spend, the bonus is linked to the particular transaction that crosses the line. If you reverse that transaction the bonus will also be reversed, so the general advice is to make your dummy transaction us to £9,990 (or whatever the threshold) and then cross the line with a genuine transaction you won't reverse. Whether the trigger operates similarly for the BA 241 we don't know, but you might do it this way to possibly avoid a black mark.

Or you can micro-manage it a bit more carefully: buy a £2k refundable airline ticket (to £9,990 perhaps, +£10 genuine). In a month's time, before you have to pay off the card and once you have another £1k of real spend (£9k genuine), buy a £1k ticket and cancel the £2k ticket. Then in the following month, after another £1k of genuine spend (£10k genuine), cancel the £1k ticket. You'll never have to pay off the tickets and you'll always stay above the £10k line. But make sure the refund is in your current card year, and pick an airline with no canx fee (not BA's £35).
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