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.
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.
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.
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