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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)

  • Phil says:

    We Booked first class to Toronto and back from Chicago using a 2 for 1 10 months ago to Travel end Sept 2020
    The 2 for 1 was valid till September 2021
    We do not want to go but will try and go next June
    MMB shows BA have cancelled the flight and rebooked us onto the same flight number downgraded to Club
    If I want to cancel am I better off taking refund or an FTV ?

    • Lady London says:

      Neither. They’ve basically downgraded you so I would deal with that now by calling them.

      For the downgrade they owe each seat 75% of the cost of that seat. That’s the compensation assuming you’re still flying which it’s to your benefit to assume for this purpose.

      My preferred method of calculating comoensation due is to take the price at which BA is currently selling avios and multiply the price per avio by 75% of the number of avios paid for the flight you were downgraded on. You’re due that for each seat and having seen it in MMB, I’d ask for it now.

      The above method of calculating compensation for BA downgrades has been accepted in court in your circumstances. it makes no difference you booked on a 241 its due for each seat in full 75% rate.

      We know this because it seemed BA was picking people on 241s to downgrade from First for a long time clearly thinking they would only have to pay half the compensation they would have to pay. BA got taken to court and this got costly for them as above. So these days we hear a bit less about 241s being chosen to be downgraded.

      In your case the downgrade is most likely due to a pending equipment change to an aircraft that does not have First.

      BA might counter when you call them only offering 75% of your avios back not cash which will be much less profitable. They might even stonewall you. Theres loads of info on flyertalk you might read before you call them. But call them soon. They defo dont owe you just the difference between First and Club avios they owe you the higher percentage as its an involuntary downgrade.

      Then wait till nearer the flight date to see if they cancel or change again. All your options are still open. Future Travel Voucher only take in the situations Rob recommends in his article today such as if extending the 241 to Apr 2022 would help – personally I’d go for a reroute ie free choice of a later date of travel – or you could also do this now.

      But I’d defo go to them now for my due compensation for downgrade (EU261) and not just the avios difference between the fare classes, see what I get, and then subsequently decide separately about FTV/rebook/refund

      • Lady London says:

        so make sure you get the 75% of the cost of the First Class seat you’ve been downgraded out of, for *each* seat.

        • Phil says:

          Many thanks for your advice Lady London
          I have put in the Claim for 75% of the cash cost of buying enough Avios for 2 people

        • Phil says:

          Many thanks for your advice Lady London
          I have put in the Claim for 75% of the cash cost of buying enough Avios for 2 people
          I will keep the thread updated

          • Lady London says:

            Have you phoned them? things just “sent”(especially using forms on their website) have a habit of just disappearing and not being dealt with.

            You really dont want to decide if you’re taking the flight, or risk them deciding to cancel the flight running, before you’ve hoovered up compo while the basis exists that you and that flight are still flying.

            With reference to your lodged complaint in hand, Id start pushing on it now by calling them then keeping on calling them. You need to get their offer or counter-offer out of them in less than the usual time while the right conditions prevail.

            Did you check flyertalk for all the info and latest reports arouns this? im actually not sure if they can say you have to have flown in order to get the compo and flyertalk should have someone that’s encountered this.

  • Princess says:

    Hi, if I take the voucher for a 241 flight (convenient for me because the voucher would expire soon), will I then be able to book the flight out as soon as available and then add the return? Like in normal circumstances?

  • r* says:

    I have a 2 for 1 booking thats club outbound and then first inbound from a different country to arrival. If a voucher was an option for that, how would it work? Would it need avios availability on both flights to rebook the voucher or could it then be used if there is space or not? Presumably there wouldnt be a cash value to the voucher?

  • Raj says:

    Hi all, just wanted to check my thinking with you. I have an unused 2-4-1 voucher which expires at the end of October. I had planned to use it to go to Toronto but this is unlikely as I think Canada will still be closed. I think the only way to extend the 2-4-1 beyond its expiry is to book a redemption now for September, and then cancel it under the Book With Confidence policy to obtain an FTV. I understand that the “value” of the redemption (i.e. Avios and taxes) is embedded in the voucher. So – am I better off just booking a cheap short-haul flight redemption with minimal tax charges using the 2-4-1 now, cancelling and converting into a FTV, and then when I’m ready to book my long haul trip, paying the additional Avios and taxes then? Would this be the best way to extend the expiry of the 2-4-1 or is there anything else I should consider?

    Thank you in advance – and to Rob, Rhys and team – thank you for the helpful and insightful reading over lockdown.

    P.S. I have just read the BA FAQs on voucher usage on its website and noticed this response which surprised me…

    “Can I combine my voucher with Avios towards a new flight, hotel, car or holiday booking?

     No. Vouchers cannot be combined with Avios, they can only be used either to redeem against fully paid flight bookings or towards a deposit/full payment of a holiday package.”

    https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/incident/coronavirus/latest-information#faqvoucher

    • Anna says:

      I think you’re mixing up cash vouchers with cash plus Avios vouchers at the end of your post, however I can confirm that I used a purely cash voucher towards the taxes/fees on an award booking back in April.

  • Bob says:

    How does a BA FTV work for an avios booking which was then upgraded using a POUG? so (avios + cash) + cash paid for the POUG… flight is to ICN in Nov so no idea if it’ll be operating or not at this stage…

    Similarly as HKG have extended quarantine till end of 31Dec20 would a refund still be obtainable on a VS reward booking also in Nov for which a miles booster has already been paid for?

    both booked pre covid!

    Thanks

  • Ian says:

    The relevant page on the BA website may well have been amended since Rob wrote this article but it states that it is strictly forbidden to try and sell or auction the voucher. I would certainly advise against attempting to either sell a voucher issued to you or buy one from another person.

  • Mike says:

    I got a cash refund for my cancelled travel however I would have happily took a voucher, not for a monetary amount, but for what I booked i.e. a wt+ and a cw ticket between LHR and JFK return to be taken at a later date. Why would I take a voucher not knowing the costs of seats in the future.

  • Dawn says:

    My colleague is booked return from Joburg to Heathrow in October, flight was booked on 19th January 2020. Am I correct she is entitled to a full refund or a voucher? When looking online it says she can cancel but only receive the taxes back (about 2/3 of the total cost), due to the restrictions when she booked. As they are still in total lockdown in SA and not expecting to fly this year, she’d be happy to cancel now even for a voucher.

    • Stephen says:

      What is the phone number for usIng a voucher please – my daughter is trying to use the one she has with a friend. Thanks.

      • ChrisC says:

        I don’t have it to hand but it’s in the email BA sent to her with the voucher number in it.

        • Garry Stevens says:

          0800727800 – but – I have tried and all you get is a message saying they are too busy and to try again after which you are cut off. Basically it’s impossible.

    • ChrisC says:

      She is only entitled to a full refund if / when the flight is cancelled

      As she booked in January I don’t think the book with confidence policy applies to her so yes if she cancells all she will get back are the taxes and airport fees.