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When should you accept a British Airways ‘Future Travel Voucher’ instead of a refund?

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There is good news for some people (and only some) who took a British Airways ‘Future Travel Voucher’ when their flight was cancelled or they chose not to travel due to coronavirus.

In some cases, these vouchers can now be used online at ba.com without having to call British Airways.

The bad news is that only a small proportion of Future Travel Vouchers qualify.  It appears that:

the original flight booking must only have been for one person

…. travelling on a cash booking, not Avios

…. and who had not paid for seat selection or any other ancillary product

If this sounds like you, and you are sitting on a Future Travel Voucher, British Airways will be in touch soon.

UPDATE:  British Airways told us today that it will soon begin converting vouchers from flights where more than one passenger was travelling.  This will still only apply to cash bookings and not Avios tickets. 

Once BA has confirmed that your voucher has been amended, you can use it on ba.com.  This special page of ba.com explains how to spend the voucher.

When should you accept a BA 'Future Travel Voucher' instead of a refund

Can I use my new voucher on ba.com without restrictions?

Of course not, that would be too easy!

You are restricted to using one voucher per booking, although for most people that won’t be a problem.

There are 38 countries where e-vouchers will not be accepted for bookings – the list is here.  The majority, to be fair, are probably not on your travel list and a lot don’t even have BA flights (Falkland Islands!) but you could be caught out.

One upside is that anyone can use your voucher once it has been reissued.  Give it to a friend, sell it on eBay ….. you don’t need to travel.

Will the remaining Future Travel Vouchers be converted so they can be used online?

Realistically ….. I doubt it.

I cannot imagine that British Airways has the time, inclination or budget to write the software required that could take a voucher for (for example) a 2-4-1 flight in Club World to Thailand with paid seat selection and use it for a standard Avios First Class redemption to New York with no seat selection.  Such software would need to be capable of, possibly simultaneously, asking for or refunding excess cash and asking for or refunding excess Avios. I don’t see it happening.

When should you accept a BA 'Future Travel Voucher' instead of a refund

Is it ever worth taking a Future Travel Voucher if I need to cancel a flight?

Sometimes ……

As regular HFP readers will know, British Airways is desperately keen for you to take a Future Travel Voucher rather than a cash refund.  Anyone who wants a cash refund needs to ring up to ask for one, as refund functionality has been removed from ba.com.

In general, this is what I recommend.

Remember that – if you booked cash tickets for multiple people – each person would receive their own Future Travel Voucher if you went down that route.  This may not be convenient for you and may override other considerations listed below.  The lead booker does NOT receive a voucher covering the value of all of the tickets It is a different process for Avios bookings because the Avios obviously belong to the lead passenger.

Do you have a non-refundable cash flight booking which is still operating?

Take the Future Travel Voucher if you no longer wish to travel.  You have no other option.  However, wait until as late as possible in case BA decides to cancel the flight because of the reason below.

Do you have a non-refundable cash flight booking where the flight has been cancelled?

Ring British Airways and ask for your cash.  There is no benefit in taking the Future Travel Voucher.

Do you have an Avios flight booking which is still operating and with NO paid seat reservations and NO 2-4-1 voucher involved?

If you are willing to swallow the £35 cancellation fee per person, I would ring up BA and cancel your booking.  Personally I’d prefer the Avios and cash back in my account.  However, wait until the last minute in case the flight is cancelled for the reasons below. If you don’t want to pay the £35, take the Future Travel Voucher.

Do you have an Avios flight booking which is still operating but where you paid for seat reservations?

This is trickier.  If you voluntarily cancel for a refund, you pay the £35 per person cancellation fee and you LOSE the seat reservation fee you paid even though your Avios and taxes are returned.  Instead, I would take the Future Travel Voucher because your voucher will include a separate credit for the seat reservation fees, which can only be used against future seat reservations.  However, wait until the last minute in case the flight is cancelled for the reasons below.

Do you have an Avios flight booking which is still operating and which includes a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher?

This is trickier.  If you voluntarily cancel for a refund, you pay the £35 per person cancellation fee.  Your Avios, taxes and 2-4-1 voucher are returned to you.  However, you need to consider whether you can re-use your 2-4-1 voucher before it expires.  If you take the Future Travel Voucher, your 2-4-1 voucher remains valid for flights completed by 30th April 2022 which gives you extra time to use it.  You will also save the £35 cancellation fee.

Do you have an Avios flight booking which has been cancelled? 

In this scenario, you should call BA and ask for your cash, Avios and any 2-4-1 voucher to be returned to you.  There is no cancellation fee to pay.  However, if your booking contained a 2-4-1 voucher which is nearing expiry, you may want to take the Future Travel Voucher as this keeps your 2-4-1 alive and you can rebook for flights completed by 30th April 2022.

If you have any further questions about Future Travel Vouchers, take a look at this page of ba.com.

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Comments (126)

  • Lawrence Fane says:

    My mum has the following booking, all cancelled:
    JNB -> LHR 30/06/2020
    LHR -> JNB 15/08/2020

    Twice I’ve called BA and been told she will get avios and cash back (booked on my credit card). Was told the second time it would take 10 working days, it’s now been 14.

    I can keep calling but it seems futile

  • Linda Barron says:

    I have a 2-4-1 voucher flying to Miami in October first class this year, so not much hope of being able to fly even though the flight is going ahead, as per your article I will probably take the future travel voucher, but does anyone know if I will be able to book first class or will this rely on reward flights being available.
    Thanks

    • Rob says:

      Depends on availability if you take the voucher.

      If you call YouFirst when your flight is cancelled however they will rebook you on any day up to 355 days from the day you paid the taxes on the original booking.

  • Peter Clark says:

    I’ve got a half-used Avios-upgraded return ticket for LHR-HND. The first leg was in January, soI’m in Japan now. The return flight in August has been cancelled and I’ve been notified by email. Any idea what BA will do with me? I live in Japan, so I can use a flight to the UK whenever I want.

  • Dina says:

    So I’m one of those who out of panic accepted cancelled my booking for 5 people and now have a voucher. I can’t now call BA and ask for a refund can I?!

  • Ian Duncan says:

    looks like BA started changed the 747 flight to 777 today.
    I have a Vegas flight booked in october/nov
    2-4-1 ,avios, taxes, plus paid for seat reservations

    whats the best way to cancel so i dont lose out?

    I assume i can process a seat change refund, as the plane has changed?
    then cancel and take Future Travel Voucher for the 2-4-1/Avios/Taxes (can i do this online, do i have to wait for the seat refund to go through?)