Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Advertising Standards Authority finds against Amex and British Airways over the ‘2-4-1’ Avios voucher

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

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided that British Airways and American Express have been misleading in their promotion of the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

I can see the point.  If you read Head for Points then you implicitly understand that the 2-4-1 voucher only covers the Avios required for the 2nd ‘free’ flight.  Taxes and charges are due on both tickets.  This is not necessarily clear to the general public.

British Airways and American Express offered to amend the small print to say “Taxes, fees and charges apply per person”.  This was welcomed by the ASA but was not seen as enough to overcome the strong ‘2-4-1’ message.

British Airways Premium Plus American Express

I knew this judgement was coming and we amended our credit cards directory last week to remove reference to ‘2-4-1’.  We will continue to use that phrase in our editorial but other references will change to ‘companion voucher’.

You can read the full judgement on the ASA website here.

You can learn more about how the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher works in this ‘Avios Redemption University’ article.

PS.  Whilst you’re on the ASA website, have a look at this judgement against Holiday Inn Express from 2014.  It asks a deep philosophical question.  Is breakfast at Holiday Inn Express actually ‘free’?  Can something be ‘free’ if no-one pays for it?  The ASA decided that it isn’t and wasn’t.  Holiday Inn Express has not been able to advertise ‘free breakfast’ in the UK for the past six years.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (50)

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Do you get any referral bonus for upgrading from Amex BA Free to BAPP?

    • Rob says:

      A lot of people get an unofficial 6,000 Avios. It isn’t clear why but this has been happening for at least 5 years. Amex staff know nothing about it and you can’t complain if you don’t get it. I think it was written into their IT system years ago and someone forgot to delete it!

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Cheers Rob, i read that yesterday on here in comments but i got the impression it was a bonus for upgrading to BAPP for the account holder.
        My question is related to, does someone referring you to BAPP whilst you already hold the Amex free BA card get a referral bonus?

        • Rob says:

          Others on here have said no IIRC

        • BJ says:

          Tried this a few times, most recently early March. Never ever got a referral bonus. Last time I upgraded the system had changed, now recognises it as an upgrade and takes you away from referral link and requires you to sign in to your account to process upgrade request. Sometimes people report receiving a 6000 avios bonus for upgrading but I have never received that either.

  • BT01 says:

    A few weeks ago I shopped at Sainsbury’s using the Smart Scan till I paid with Google Pay via my phone and the total was over £100.00 and it went through, staff at M&S told me that there is not a limit when using Google Pay

  • Alex Sm says:

    So many people commenting on PayPass and almost no-one says a thing about Rhys stellar performance on that podcast with quite a cheeky host!
    One question on the contents though – will BA use the fact that almost all its planes are grounded to accelerate the refurbishment of aircraft which is now should be much easier to do than the airline was flying and planes were busy?