Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways makes genuine improvements to the ‘Gold Upgrade for Two’ (GUF2) 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.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

Comments (29)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • novemberwhiskypapa says:

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

  • 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.

  • mr_e says:

    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

  • Peter says:

    Do the upgraded flights processed directly through BA also book into the mentioned fare buckets A, I and award the higher tier points and Avios as is the case when booking through the travel agent?

    • Rob says:

      This loophole has now, in the main, been fixed and you are unlikely to get Avios and TP from the higher booking class.

      • Adrian says:

        Yes definitely closed now, the one I did last month through a TA booked into the original class, not the upgraded one, so without additional tier points there’s really no reason to use a TA anymore.
        Rob any early news on whether you can include codeshares or purely BA metal?

  • Max says:

    As others have asked, surely this new benefit must also apply to the GFU1 and not just GUF2 voucher?

    • Bill Carson says:

      I just used one GFU1 to upgrade to CW for my Wife to US West Coast later in the year and it worked fine with no Avios availability but ‘I’ class seats available. Sounds like there’s a lack of information for the call center staff though, but I was lucky and got someone who’d already done one earlier in the day. Guess book something soon before BA realize their mistake 🙂

  • Phil G says:

    Hi, thanks for pointing this out. Just upgraded a previously cash booked Club World to JNB to First using a GUF1 voucher (so works for those too).
    So far ‘manage my booking’ shows me getting avios and tier points based on first too 🙂
    BA agent knew nothing about this! Had to insist she asked a supervisor. Sorted quickly and with an apology though.

  • Chechire Pete says:

    So, In conjunction with a 2 for 1 voucher it will still upgrade into F cash bucket?

  • riku2 says:

    For upgrades into first class this isn’t quite so good as it seems since BA are completely removing the cheaper A class from some routes. Boston and Dubai have had it removed already so nobody can use a GUF voucher to upgrade CW -> First on those routes regardless of how you book.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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