British Airways makes genuine improvements to the ‘Gold Upgrade for Two’ voucher

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If you earn 2500 British Airways Executive Club tier points in your membership year, you receive a ‘Gold Upgrade For Two’ voucher, known as a GUF2 in the trade.

The GUF2 voucher lets you upgrade a British Airways cash or Avios ticket by one class (more details on ba.com here).  Historically, for cash bookings these vouchers could be used in two ways:

Book a cash ticket via ba.com and you can upgrade to the next category if there is Avios reward availability in the higher class

Book a cash ticket via a travel agent and you can upgrade to the next category if there are cash tickets available in the cheapest ticket bucket (‘I’ for Club World, ‘A’ for First Class) in the higher class

Using a travel agent meant that you had substantially better chances of finding availability to use your GUF2 voucher.  The snag is that few travel agents knew how to process the upgrade – it is complex, involving sending certain information to a BA office in India and waiting overnight for a response.

The situation has now changed – and for the better.

The BA call centre will now process your GUF2 upgrade if there are ‘A’ cash tickets for sale in First Class, ‘I’ cash tickets for sale in Club World or ‘T’ cash tickets for sale in World Traveller Plus.

It is no longer necessary for Avios seats to be available in the higher cabin.

This means that you no longer need to book via a cash ticket via a travel agent and then hope they know how to process the upgrade.

For anyone who is looking to upgrade an Avios redemption, you can now use the GUF2 even if there are no Avios seats available in the higher class, as long as A / I / T cash tickets are for sale.  This is also a major improvement.

These changes are not yet reflected on the Gold benefits page of ba.com which still says that GUF2 upgrades ‘are subject to reward availability in the higher cabin’.  (British Airways never publicised the fact that travel agents could process upgrades if there was just cash availability.)  However, BA staff have confirmed to me that the change has taken place.

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

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Comments

  1. This is good news!

    Does it now also apply to GUF1?

    Can it be applied after purchase (ie to a booing that has been made by a corporate travel agent / Expedia etc). Are there any restrictions?

    Bad news for Propellor etc as there is now no extra tier points since the IT fix nor availability improvement since this.

    • Mark Spencer says:

      What extra tier points?

      • ChrisC says:

        Some people on flyer talk have reported that when they upgraded to F from CW using a GUF that they were awarded the F tier points rather than the TPs for their original CW cash ticket

  2. Robert says:

    Surely this applies for all GUFs and not just GUF2?

  3. BugAlugs says:

    Makes it almost as useful as the redemption space release instrument.

  4. Rob, thanks for reporting on this very good news.
    When trying to exercise GUF vouchers previously I could not understand why BA were unable to do it but the specialist travel agent could. Although the travel agent came to the rescue, and we were indeed grateful, it was always a lot of hassle, with some additional costs.
    Hopefully now it will all be much more straightforward!

  5. Froggee says:

    I’m going to earn my first (and probably only) ever GUF2 this year so it’s nice to know it should be relatively easy to use.

  6. I’ve not come across this before so please be gentle folks:

    1) Are the upgrades free but you have to pay extra fees commensurate with that new cabin class?
    2) Do you get all the rights and privileges of the new cabin class i.e. lounge access?
    3) Do you have to register to join this or is being part of BAEC enough and they just turn up in your account?

    Thanks

    • 1. If you are upgrading an Avios ticket there will be some extra taxes, not if upgrading a cash ticket
      2. Yes, except for tier points and Avios which are for the original booked class
      3. Automatic on hitting 2500 tier points in a membership year

      • Liam J says:

        There might not be any extra taxes on a cash ticket upgrade WTP-CW, but there are extra “carrier imposed surcharge” fees. I did this over the weekend, and a UK-US trip for me was £100 extra per person per sector, I.e. £400 extra for a GUF2 return.

      • Thanks Rob and Liam. Is this now worth getting on the Gold guest list? I work it out 3500 tier points a year for seven years and then free lounge access for life for one and partner.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          GGL is 5k to earn and then 3k each year after that to keep it

          • Thanks TG, cleared up nicely. I see there’s also a 50,000 avios bonus they’re throwing in so could be interesting.

  7. Do you need Avios availability in the class you are upgrading from ? Or if there is A/I/T cash availability does the call centre book that for you and just charge the lower class redemption avios regardless…..

    • Yes, you need a valid booking in the original travel class before you can upgrade (cash or Avios). Otherwise it simply becomes a free ticket, and that’s not what’s GUFs are.

  8. Liam J says:

    I used one of these over the weekend on the phone with BA. It went through in the end, but required lots of calls from the agent to the “fares department”. The call lasted over 90 minutes to get this booked for a simple return BA metal flight

  9. novemberwhiskypapa says:

    Would this also apply to bookings where the voucher holder isn’t travelling? Or does that scenario still require redemption availability?

  10. Paul Richardson says:

    I used this today booking WTP into CW from LHR-CHI in November – phoned through and although the system can’t do it automatically I received a prompt call back with all details taken care of very efficiently. Made a significant saving over a cash purchase in CW.

  11. Welcome news and I hope they continue their efforts to make these easier to redeem … I had one which recently expired unused as it was impossible to find walk-up long haul business/first reward seats on convenient weekend dates … as I see it there are 3 options for using these vouchers none of which worked for me:

    1) wake up at 1am two separate times to book out and return 355 days in advance … slightly weird given the voucher is supposed to increase pleasure/comfort … and difficult for me as my work schedule is not visible that far in advance

    2) pay for seat alerts (which seem to account for a lot of redemptions nowadays perhaps explaining the poor walk-up availability), but then you have to book your holiday gambling that seats become available and you are the fastest to grab them … a miserable customer experience for something that is supposed to engender loyalty

    3) you can use the method mentioned in this article, which is the only civilised option out of the three, but the A/I fare classes seem quite patchy and were not available whenever I tried to book, plus you don’t have the flexibility (cancel for £35/seat) that you get with reward bookings

    A bit of a rant but in my opinion if you do a brutal and expensive year earning one of these, then upgrade should mean upgrade and it should be bookable on any flight with no gotchas

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