Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to find a British Airways office open at any time (eg midnight for 241 bookings)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

(EDIT:  the tool described in this article has now stopped working, sorry.  The link has therefore been removed.)

I get a constant stream of emails asking for advice on booking British Airways redemption flights using the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

If you want to be 100% certain of getting the flights you want, you have to follow a very strict routine:

You need to book your outbound flight 355 days before you want to travel, which is the time that tickets become available for sale and BA releases the guaranteed two Business Class and four Economy Class seats

British Airways A350

You need to call at midnight (1am during British Summer Time) because the flights do not drop into the online system until later

Book the outbound flights you want as a one-way booking

When your return flights become available at 355 days before departure, you need to repeat the process – and usually paying a £35 per person change fee (EDIT: comments below suggest that BA is now waiving this) – to get the return added on to your outbound

The snag here is that the UK BA call centres are not open at midnight ….

Which British Airways offices are open now?

A few years ago, Flyertalk member dunk created a website which lets you bring up a list of which BA call centres are open at any particular time.

You can access the tool here.  It will show you which of the UK, German, Japanese, Hong Kong or Indian BAEC service centres are currently open, as well as other general BA numbers.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this tool but I’ve never seen any complaints about it.    There is one bug – I couldn’t get the ‘give me a number which is open when my local time is XX:XX’ button to work, so you are reliant on looking at the site at the time you need to call and using one of the ‘currently open’ numbers.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (85)

  • rams1981 says:

    Has anyone managed to book Sydney or Cape Town in business before for a Dec/Jan outbound/inbound?

    If so, any tips? Is it possible to book outbound online? And when adding the return what is the best number to call at midnight UK time to add the return leg given the stories above about being told to call the UK call centre the morning after?

    • Rob says:

      Frankly, Sydney is best done for cash. Even with a 241, it isn’t great value if you can pick up a cash ticket for £1500 – £2000 return on a half decent airline in business.

      • Gibbooo says:

        As we’re straying off topic. Do you happen to know when the next Qatar seat sale will be?

        Thanks!

      • Kathy says:

        Only if you have the cash! Given the popularity of the route it seems many don’t.

        I want to book to SYD using a Lloyd’s upgrade voucher – is there a way of calling them at midnight? Or do I have to wait until the UK call centre opens at 8am?

        • Matthew says:

          I have the same question regarding the lloyds voucher. If you are trying to use it as on upgrade for two people one-way then you have use the call centre which is not 24hrs. I you are using it or one as a return upgrade then you can do this online.

          • Matthew says:

            *If you are using it for one….

            Does anyone know if you can contact the avios customer services at midnight?!

          • Alan says:

            Seems to have trouble if flying from the regions too or if trying to do an open jaw. I don’t think they’re as flexible as BA either when it comes to the ability to call back to add on return leg, although happy to be corrected.

      • Crafty says:

        Rob, do you have a reference article on redemption destinations that tend to be considered good and poor value? I have noticed, for example, that a lot of people appear to redeem on trips to Japan.

        • Rob says:

          It isn’t that simple because it also varies by season. Even economy tickets can be decent value if you are redeeming for long haul at the busiest times of the year.

          Japan tends to be pricey because capacity is restricted into the airports there and demand outstrips supply. It is really a case of looking at where you want to go, seeing what sort of prices are about for cash.

          A lot also depends on your willingness to be flexible. Qatar’s sale may well have, for example, Tokyo for under £1000 from Europe. However, do you want to go London – Brussels – Doha – Tokyo even if it means getting Qatar business class and 560 tier points for £1000? Some people would do it, others would not.

          It also depends on how Avios rich vs cash rich you are, and also how you got your points – if you earn all your points from work travel, and so they don’t cost you anything, you may have a different propensity to redeem vs someone who converts Tesco Clubcard points to Avios which cost them the opportunity cost of another Clubcard redemption.

      • Anon says:

        surely 0% chance of getting Business flights for that over Xmas / NY tho?? :/

    • Louie says:

      I’m in the Qantas lounge in Singapore at the moment, half way back to Oz in Club using a 2-4-1 voucher. We managed to get flights SYD-LHR in mid Dec 15 and mid Dec 16 and have them booked for mid Dec 17 with LHR-SYD in Jan 16 and today with only one bad experience and only missing out on our ideal dates once, using the advice given here and on Flyertalk to book the outbound online and calling to book the returns at midnight. It can be done!

      Living in Oz but with elderly parents in the UK, one of whom we lost last summer, we really value the flexibility of award flights. Fortunately we were able to use AAdvantage miles to fly Etihad when we needed to get back at short notice then. Otherwise we’d make use of the cheap business class flights ex-EU.

  • daftboy says:

    Just to add that of the 2-4-1 vouchers I have used over the past few years I have not booked any at T-355, more commonly between 4 and 6 months out, so all is not lost if you don’t get something straight away! I’ve used the voucher for a mix of easier places like JFK (sheer volume of flights) and Mexico City (weaker premium demand I think), but also some trickier combinations like Seattle/Vancouver, Houston, and Sao Paulo/Rio.

    My advice would be to keep checking and have a few different options if feasible (i.e. multiple US gateway cities near where you want to be), and if you see something that works with availability be ready to book it, don’t hang around as there is no guarantee the seats will still be there when you come back having discussed it with your other half etc 😉

    Subscribing to Expert Flyer may be worthwhile (under $10 per month) as you can set up automated searches that email you if succesful; the free version has less functionality but can also be used.

  • Ronster says:

    Good morning to all.

    Slightly O/T but still connected with 2-4-1 vouchers and contact centres.

    Looking at another F trip to Tokyo on BA and wondered whats the best way to take advantage of a low tax return.

    In other words instead of booking the 2 return tickets in F with around £538 to pay each, I wanted to book outbound separately, pay around £355 each and then the return leg again separately and pay only £18.00 each?!

    Can it be done and if it can does this method have any disadvantages as opposed to booking the retune leg and the same time and paying more tax?

    Any particular way of explaining this to the agent concerned without confusing them.

    Thanks

    R

    • Alan says:

      If trying to combine it with a 241 then it would all be on one ticket and treated (& priced) as a return once you added on the Tokyo-London leg AFAIK.

    • Rob says:

      Can’t be done, almost certainly, because the voucher would expire after the first ticket was booked. Even if you had 2 x 241 vouchers it couldn’t be done because a 241 must start in the UK.

      You either need to cough up for the fuel surcharge on the return or pay the additional Avios to not use a 241 on the return (which would be a mistake I think).

  • Cristian says:

    Is the 241 voucher for a return flight? Or is only for one way and Then you need another voucher for return? Sorry I’m new to this thank you

    • Rob says:

      It is for a return flight if you want a return. It can also be used as a one-way but ONLY from the UK, not to the UK.

      It must be used on a BA flight operated by a BA plane, not a oneworld partner (like Qatar) or a BA franchise or codeshare (like Comair).

      Full taxes and charges must be paid on both tickets.

  • Nigel says:

    A point to bear in mind I was specifically advised NOT to offer up the 2 4 1 voucher when booking the first leg since it could not then be redeemed for the homebound return. Happy to be corrected however

    • Steve says:

      Not correct! I’ve done several open jaw 2-4-1 bookings and always used the 2-4-1 straight away on the outward leg! CS staff will see the 2-4-1 still when they recalculate how many more avios you need to pay

  • ian says:

    That is very important if correct – Rob???

  • Anna says:

    I had a really frustrating time recently. I booked to fly to Grand Cayman and used the 2 for 1 to get the outbound flights in CW by logging on at 1 am as they only ever release 2 seats and there are only 4 flights per week. As my voucher was worth 75,000 avios I was prepared to forego the return portion, and 2 weeks later booked the return sector in WT, paying the full avios fare for 2 seats. However, a few days later BA cancelled the return flight. I called them to rebook and asked if, at this point, I could use the return portion of my voucher. They flatly refused and have been refusing ever since, despite several complaints by phone and in writing!

    • the real harry says:

      that’s ridiculously intransigent from the people involved, particularly as they cancellede your return flight!

      decent customer services people would just have bent the rules to make up

      I recently had a very good outcome when I ’emailed the CEO’ – he did what I would have done which is deal with it in 2 minutes by delegating it to the head of CS & no doubt telling her to sort it out to the customer’s satisfaction, as it happens she was charm itself (not BA, but a computer co)

      [email protected]

  • Jonathan says:

    OT: I have earnt a BA 241 voucher and cancelled my BA credit card. I have subsequently spent the voucher and paid the taxes on my MBNA Virgin Amex. So far so good… But now the wife wants to cancel – what happens with the 241 voucher, Lost or will it get returned to my BAEC account?

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.