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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 Sep 27, 18, 9:24 pm   -   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: A common practice on the forum is to use this tool and 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.


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 Apr 25, 17, 11:24 pm
  #61  
 
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
No, both parties must travel on the same itinerary, both outbound and inbound. However, the companion can skip the return flight and the voucher holder can still take that flight -----but the companion cannot take the return flight without the voucher holder
But if you know before booking that that will be the case, you'd be better off just booking using the 2-4-1 outbound and the then book a single ticket for the return rather than pay all the fees and taxes for the second person on the 2-4-1.
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Old Apr 26, 17, 4:34 am
  #62  
 
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The voucher is in my OH's name, but we would prefer to pay the taxes with an AMEX in my name, as it is an open jaw itinerary it will need to be booked over the phone, will this be possible?
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Old Apr 26, 17, 10:53 am
  #63  
 
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Pay with any Amex

Originally Posted by BrianDromey View Post
The voucher is in my OH's name, but we would prefer to pay the taxes with an AMEX in my name, as it is an open jaw itinerary it will need to be booked over the phone, will this be possible?
Yes, it doesn't even need to be a BA AMEX, any Amex will do, even those issued by MBNA.
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Old Apr 26, 17, 11:05 am
  #64  
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Sorry, have only got around to posting on this thread, thanks for the guide obduro
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Old Apr 26, 17, 12:06 pm
  #65  
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
Sorry, have only got around to posting on this thread, thanks for the guide obduro
Stressful week or did somebody else post on your behalf at 12.58 on 24/4?

I do agree it is a great guide.

Question. You can use a 241 voucher alongside an avios booking for additional passengers so that all parties travel on the same PNR. I assume the same applies if you use 2 vouchers to allow 4+ people to travel on the same PNR. However, can you mix a 241 voucher booking with a cash/revenue booking on the same PNR?

If so, when using the 241 can the voucher holder be the revenue passenger? Technically they are still on the same PNR. (I don't think so but would be grateful for confirmation.)
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Old Apr 26, 17, 12:11 pm
  #66  
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I had forgot about that post

Oh well, didn't say thanks for the guide first time but at least I did second time
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Old Apr 26, 17, 12:15 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
Question. You can use a 241 voucher alongside an avios booking for additional passengers so that all parties travel on the same PNR. I assume the same applies if you use 2 vouchers to allow 4+ people to travel on the same PNR. However, can you mix a 241 voucher booking with a cash/revenue booking on the same PNR?
From first principles, I think that the answer to this must be no. This is because on each flight in the booking, all the passengers in the booking must be booked into the same booking class on that flight.

However, if 2 pax are booked into (say) U class using the 2-4-1, and 2 more pax are travelling on a cash fare in the same cabin, the latter two will be booked into one of J, C, D, R or I classes - so they cannot be on the same booking as the U class passengers.
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Old Apr 26, 17, 3:04 pm
  #68  
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Wasn't it also the case that you can't mix cash and avios booking on the same PNR for that exact reason?

And separately - thank you for all the thanks! Hopefully the thread continues to be a useful resource, lord knows I've downloaded enough knowledge from here over the past couple of years...
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:10 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
No, both parties must travel on the same itinerary, both outbound and inbound. However, the companion can skip the return flight and the voucher holder can still take that flight -----but the companion cannot take the return flight without the voucher holder
I suspected that might be the case, thanks for confirming!


Originally Posted by louie-m View Post
But if you know before booking that that will be the case, you'd be better off just booking using the 2-4-1 outbound and the then book a single ticket for the return rather than pay all the fees and taxes for the second person on the 2-4-1.
Yes, my thoughts exactly. No point in doing that, except when it's unplanned.
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Old May 1, 17, 1:58 pm
  #70  
 
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Firstly I just wanted to say thanks to obduro for this great guide, it is really helpful as we are planning to book our first 2-4-1 in a few weeks.

Just wanted to ask a couple of things:

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 Gold card holder.
Is it still correct that Golds don't pay a cancellation fee as I thought this benefit was removed for reward flights?

Can I confirm that flights are available 354 days or 355 days in advance? If I search today (1st May 2017) as far forward as possible I can see flights for the 20th April 2018. Is this correct? Isn't this 354 days ahead?

Also it says on BA.com if you contact a service centre you can book more than one year ahead but I am assuming you can't?

The web site can only accept bookings up to 355 days in advance. Please contact your Executive Club Service Centre if you need to book for more than one year ahead.
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Old May 1, 17, 2:16 pm
  #71  
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If you include the current day then you can book for that day and the next 354 days (355 in total). Looks like it counts each day including the current day - today is day one and tomorrow is day two - rather than today being day zero and tomorrow being day one (24 hours later=1 day).

I suppose this this is why the phrase often used is that flights can be booked up to 355 days in advance (354 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes) up to the end of the full day.
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Old May 1, 17, 2:19 pm
  #72  
 
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
If you include the current day then you can book for that day and the next 354 days (355 in total). Looks like it counts each day including the current day - today is day one and tomorrow is day two - rather than today being day zero and tomorrow being day one (24 hours later=1 day)
Ah ok got ya. Thanks madfish!
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Old May 3, 17, 7:11 am
  #73  
 
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If using a 2-4-1 alongside a GUF (15 TPs to go yet before this!), am I right that the upgrade to the next available class would be WT to CW if there are only two classes on the plane. Is there a list of destination where 2 rather 3 or 3 classes are being operated?
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Old May 3, 17, 7:30 am
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Nagolnagol View Post
If using a 2-4-1 alongside a GUF (15 TPs to go yet before this!), am I right that the upgrade to the next available class would be WT to CW if there are only two classes on the plane. Is there a list of destination where 2 rather 3 or 3 classes are being operated?
There are not many BA aircraft which do not have WTP between WT and CW. The only kind of exceptions on long haul are the small number of mid-haul ones (G-MED.. aircraft) which tend to go to DME, TLV, BEY, AMM and operate as WT/CW. These aircraft sometimes appear on short haul routes but operate as ET/CE.
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Old May 3, 17, 8:26 am
  #75  
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Originally Posted by wheatbeer View Post
Is it still correct that Golds don't pay a cancellation fee as I thought this benefit was removed for reward flights?
Thanks for spotting this. I have amended the wikipost to reflect the current position (AIUI) that ordinary Golds now pay the cancellation fee but GGLs still do not.
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