Priority Pass and British Airways Flight Pass join the coronavirus ‘no refunds, no extensions’ list

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We have given a lot of coverage on Head for Points recently to airlines and hotel companies who are doing their best to avoid paying refunds.

We aren’t seeing much love from service providers either.

A steady trickle of complaints about airport lounge club Priority Pass and coronavirus refunds has been landing in my inbox.

One reader, who has been a very happy Priority Pass customer, had – mistakenly, he admits – set up his Priority Pass account to auto renew.  His new subscription was taken on schedule, with no attempt to either reduce the fee or extend his membership period for the fact that he won’t be able to use his card for a number of months.

After numerous discussions with the company yielded no deal, he ended up cancelling his card.  He received a refund of the fee that had just been taken, given that the new membership year had not yet kicked in.

In the face of this – and similar feedback from others – I strongly suggest turning off auto-renew in your Priority Pass account.  Obviously this only applies if you pay directly for a Priority Pass and not get it free from American Express Platinum.

Letting your membership lapse may be the best way of getting the company to offer you an equitable deal going forward.  If you are currently part-way through your subscription, there seems little hope at the moment of getting a free membership extension.

EDIT:  A couple of days after we published this article, Priority Pass announced a three month extension for all cardholders.

Priority Pass coronavirus refunds

OptionTown isn’t being very helpful either

We have covered the British Airways Flight Pass on a few occasions.

A British Airways Flight Pass can be an excellent deal.  It is effectively a carnet, allowing you to prepay for a number of short-haul flights on either a particular route or to a particular country.  Once you have bought your Flight Pass, you are guaranteed a seat when you want one as long as tickets are still being sold for cash.

Flight Pass is run by a company called OptionTown on behalf of British Airways.

According to reader feedback, OptionTown is not offering refunds on unused Flight Pass tickets.  This is – to be fair – in their terms and conditions, but clearly it is against the spirit of the scheme when British Airways is not flying to the destination covered by the pass.

If you have any personal feedback from talking to Priority Pass or OptionTown in recent days, please let me know.

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  1. If i close my Plat and clear out my MR balance – what happens when my refunds post – with regards to the MR ?

    I would go into a negative balance? What happens then?

  2. Scallder says:

    Just had an email from IHG with the following in it about credit card nights:

    “Anniversary night certificates earned through IHG Rewards Club credit cards (USA & UK):

    We are extending the expiration date of anniversary certificates that are set to expire in 2020. Certificates expiring from 1 March 2020 can now be used through 31 December 2020.

    Certificates issued in 2020 will have an 18-month redemption time period.

    We will be reaching out to cardmembers directly with more information.”

    I used one earned June 2018 and expired June 2019 for a stay in Vienna at the start of May this year. Have just called them and they have essentially said, tough luck. The policy doesn’t allow them to do anything.

    So whilst it’s a positive step them extending vouchers earned from 1st March 2019 (or whatever date would have given an expiry of 1st March 2020), this does nothing for anyone with vouchers attached to existing bookings earned in good faith from 1st March 2018 to 31st December 2018.

    Even asked for the 35k points that the voucher had saved me (would have been worth 55k if they’d given me the voucher back and I could attach it to an existing points booking in November, which is within 6 months of the existing date in May, so is inline with the extensions they’re giving vouchers earned this year).

    Was finally (after a long hold) told to email the Rewards Club to see whether they could sort anything out, but I’m not too hopeful right now which is extremely frustrating…

    • Scallder says:

      Sorry have moved to the chat thread

    • Kevin says:

      I got my free night voucher last month but didn’t receive email as you got while the voucher shown last only 12 months.

  3. I’d go further and assert that auto-renew and auito-pay are always bad ideas.

    It’s always better to dispute a debt if you haven’t already paid it

    • Lady London says:

      Priority Pass is always set to auto renew as default when you buy it. So you have to call them to stop it autorenewing or by default it will.

  4. M Jones says:

    The way round any auto-renew obstruction tactic, especially used by Insurance or Broadcast Providers, who all demand a call to cancel your recurring payment, is to lodge a formal complaint in writing. In the UK these complaints are counted and likely later considered by Regulators or an Ombudsman. Most of these Firms will have an online complaint facility, or a letter to their HQ Registered address. If all else fails most have a GDPR email address and certainly a “Media Center” email address. None of these Firms want negative PR as to how they deliberately obstruct concellations at “this difficult time”. It’s a game, we just have to play their game better than them! Takes some searching but can be done.

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