The biggest topic in my inbox at the moment, by far, is over possible extensions to British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers.
What is the current position with voucher expiry?
In October 2020, all British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers due to expire between 1st October 2020 and 31st March 2021 were extended by a FURTHER six months. This was on top of the extension given earlier in the pandemic.
In addition, British Airways announced that all new companion vouchers issued between 1st October 2020 and 31st March 2021 would come with a six month extension. This means that vouchers on the free British American Express will be issued for 18 months and those on the British Airways Premium Plus for 30 months.
So some companion vouchers were extended twice?
Yes. Here is a screenshot from my wife’s account to prove it:
Note that the vouchers were issued in July 2018 and April 2019 and so should have expired in July 2020 and April 2021. (This is off a British Airways Premium Plus American Express so the voucher has a 2-year validity.)
The voucher from July 2018, which was due to expire in January 2021 after the first extension, is now due to expire in July 2021.
However, the other voucher – due to expire in October 2021 after the first extension – has NOT been extended further. This is because this new extension only applies to vouchers due to expire by 31st March 2021.
Will we see a further extension?
It isn’t clear. However, if there is to be a further extension, it has to be announced by 31st March.
My strong suspicion is that we WILL see a futher extension. It may even be for 12 months, since it is relatively clear now that long-haul destinations will take a lot longer to open up than European routes.
However, you can force through an extension to 30th April 2023
In any event, you shouldn’t panic. There is, as a last resort, a way of extending your companion vouchers to 30th April 2023.
We covered this in our article yesterday on whether you should accept a cash refund or a Future Travel Voucher when you cancel a British Airways flight. I wanted to highlight it separately though as it was tucked away.
This is what you would do:
- book a return flight from, say, London to Mancester, return, using your BA Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher. It will cost you 9,000 Avios + £70 return.
- immediately cancel the ticket and select a ‘Future Travel Voucher’
As we explained yesterday, a ‘Future Travel Voucher’ is your old ticket, frozen.
When you come to rebook, you need to telephone British Airways. You can change the destination (no need to stick to Manchester!) and pay the additional Avios and taxes required.
A ‘Future Travel Voucher’ is valid for travel up to 30th April 2023. For clarity, you need to complete your travel by this date. It is not a ‘book by’ date or a ‘start your travel by’ date.
There are two catches, however
This method is a guaranteed way of extending your 2-4-1 voucher to 30th April 2023.
There are two catches, however.
- You will struggle to rebook a flight as soon as availability opens up. If you are the sort of person who books exactly 355 days in advance at midnight to guarantee the seats you want, you will be stuck. The only way to redeem a Future Travel Voucher is by calling BA, and if you are ringing to nab tickets at 00.00.01 precisely on the day of release, it is unlikley to work given the extra admin required to use the voucher. Someone else who wants those seats is likely to beat you to it.
- You cannot change the name of the 2nd passenger. The person you name as your companion on the dummy Manchester flight must be the person you travel with in, potentially, Spring 2023. Is your relationship that solid? 🙂
This 2nd point isn’t the end of the world. If you and your partner / best friend go separate ways, you can ring British Airways and convert your ‘Future Travel Voucher’ back into cash and Avios by paying the £35 per person cancellation fee. Your 2-4-1 companion voucher would immediately expire, however, if it was out of date at the time you do this.
I would strongly recommend that you do NOT follow this idea at the moment.
I am convinced that British Airways will extend companion vouchers further before 31st March, and if they do you are wasting your time – and creating extra grief for yourself – if you unnecessarily turn your 241 voucher into a Future Travel Voucher now.
The point I wanted to make today is that you have a fall-back position if the worst comes to the worst, so don’t waste any time worrying about your voucher.
If you want to learn more about how to use your 241 companion voucher now you have the extension, this Head for Points artice is the definitive guide on everything you need to know about the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)