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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)

  • Phillip says:

    I recently cancelled a booking I had and re-booked a cheaper fare in the sale. The eVoucher arrived within one minute and the instructions were:

    How to use your eVoucher
    When you’re ready to book, using your eVoucher couldn’t be easier.
    Find flights on ba.com
    Review your booking and enter your eVoucher details
    See your updated total and continue to payment

    No mention of any restrictions, other than a pointer to the Q&A on the website.

    • Rob says:

      That’s because newly issued vouchers for pure cash tickets are now coming ready-to-use online.

  • Jonathan says:

    I have a 241 voucher expiring in November. On the assumption it won’t get renewed again should I just make a dummy booking and accept a voucher to prolong it for a bit longer? Noting we have no definite travel plans in the next 12-18 months.

    • Joe says:

      I was wondering the same – I have two, one expiring in September and one next March.

    • Tom says:

      Likewise, I have one expiring in July 2021, having been extended 6 months already. Presume the best plan is to book the cheapest possible Avios redemption & then use for something better in future?

  • DMW says:

    Data point on refunds – I had two vouchers from early in the pandemic that I put towards another more expensive flight, which BA cancelled yesterday. Phoned BA and had the full amount refunded (for the cash portion *and* the voucher portion)

  • Simon says:

    What about Lloyds upgrade vouchers?

    I have two which expire at the end of September.

    Are bookings using them also refundable with future Travel vouchers so I can create a dummy booking, cancel and effectively significantly extend the life?

    If one uses a future travel voucher is any “unused amount” of avios refunded or retained in a “rump” of a future travel voucher?

  • Paul says:

    Personally I have opted for refunds. I give them 14 days to do so and when they fail (100%) claim via charge back on Amex platinum with 100% success rate.
    I know the platinum card is costly but the insurance and rapidity of refunds such as this does help cushion the blow of the fee.
    BAs behaviour over refunds has been scandalous

    • J says:

      There’s lots I don’t like about BA, e.g. Virgin consistently beat them hands down in terms of service and on board experience – but my BA refunds all posted reasonably quickly. My only Virgin refund eventually posted but took longer. And anyone unlucky enough to have Lufthansa bookings is probably still waiting for a refund unless they did a charge back (which I did, successfully).

    • Wally1976 says:

      I phoned BA last week to refund some Avios flights that had been moved from Gatwick to Heathrow. Points refund was received within a couple of hours and cash showed on (cancelled) Amex card within a couple of days. Contacted Amex via live chat and asked for cash back to my back account. Couldn’t have been easier really.

  • Ant says:

    I’m slightly unsure of how to use my avios FTV. Original flight was LCYJTR and I want to book the same trip for next summer. Do I need to book where there is avios availability next year or not?

  • Waribai says:

    “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.”

    But if it is a RFS booking, why would you swallow the £35 fee per person? I thought the avios come back and the voucher is just for the taxes?

    • Anna says:

      There’s no difference in cancelling RFS or long haul if you’re taking a FTV.

  • Rob says:

    “ 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.”

    This is not entirely clear to me.

    What exactly do you get back if you cancel a 2-4-1 booking and take the Future Travel Voucher?

    Say you booked a return in economy to AMS. Do you get back:
    1) the 2-4-1, now magically extended until April 2022
    2) all the Avios for your booking
    3) a FTV in the amount you spent on the taxes (or more accurately the RFS fee, ie £35 pp)

    ??

    • Wollhouse says:

      Rob, based on my call, yes.

      241 voucher with Avios and cash used for taxes and fees.
      Option 1: Avios returned, refund of taxes and 241 valid until 26 July 2021
      Or
      Option 2: COVID voucher – 241 extended until 30 april 22 plus 150000 Avios returned plus voucher equal to £649 each of tax (Note this voucher has to be used by the original named travellers)

      What I’m not clear on is (but I think is possible) is that I can use the Covid voucher with the named friend on a DIFFERENT booking AND use the returned and extended 241 with someone different.

      • Rob says:

        Thank you! This seems like a good use of £70 to extend a soon to expire 2-4-1…

        It’s not a problem for me that it would have to be used for the same named passengers unless my wife is planning on going on holiday with someone else…

    • pauldb says:

      Your FTV holds the value of your booking: say 9000 avios, £70 and a 241. If you want to rebook the same, it will cost you nothing extra. If you want to go Club to LA you’ll have to pay the incremental 141k avios (for one) and £1100 (for 2).

      I don’t believe in a 241 case you can change the companion, but BA may loosen that rule.

      • Rob says:

        That still seems like a useful way of extending a soon expiring 2-4-1. Thank you.

    • Rob says:

      The FTV includes the lot – the 241, Avios and cash. Nothing is directly returned to your accounts. You have until 30 April 2022 to complete a new booking using the 241, Avios and cash contained in the voucher.