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British Airways launches new refundable ticket types – but only via travel agents for now

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In an attempt to overcome business concerns over bookings flights, and potentially as a first step to withdrawing Book With Confidence and Future Travel Vouchers, British Airways has announced two new fare classes.

The new fares are called Select and Select Pro. Both allow you to claim a full or partial refund after a fee, which can be as low as £50.

For clarity, these fares are NOT for sale on ba.com at the moment. They can only be booked via travel agents and are aimed at business travellers. In time, they will be sold to the public when Book With Confidence is withdrawn.

The easiest way to explain them is via this chart:

As you can see, Select and Select Pro both allow free changes to your ticket, albeit with the fare difference to be paid.

Select Pro is fully refundable, but is only available on long-haul routes. Select is refundable with a fee.

The only difference between Select Pro and a traditional ‘Fully Flexible’ ticket is that you must actively cancel a Select Pro ticket before departure. You can’t just forget about it and ask for a refund at some point in the future.

How much more do I have to pay for a Select ticket?

Quite a bit.

Here is the typical price difference, which possibly exceeds the value you will get from the flexibility:

How much does it cost to cancel a Select ticket?

It’s not a bargain. Here are the costs:

  • Short-haul: £50 in non-premium, £70 in premium cabins
  • Long-haul: £50 in non-premium, £100 in premium cabins

Are these fares available on all routes?

Most of them, yes. The main exceptions are Doha, any trip starting outside the UK, EU, USA or Canada, China Southern flights sold under the BA JV and flights which are part of the Siberian joint venture.

Are Select and Select Pro good value?

When you factor in the extra cost of the ticket, and the cancellation fee for Select, this doesn’t look too attractive.

Clearly, for some people in some circumstances these costs are worth paying. Business travel bookers tend to be more risk averse.

To be honest, for the average leisure traveller, I doubt there would be much demand even if they were offered on ba.com, which they are not (yet). You would probably be better off buying the cheapest possible ticket and taking the risk that you end up losing your money if you cannot travel. In the long run I think you would be better off.


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Comments (36)

  • Elaine Ng says:

    We booked flights to the Maldives with avios March last year when there was a glut of seats made available. we were due to fly in March but BA has now cancelled the flights, as i understood if these were to be cancelled BA offered the option to move to new dates even if there was no avios availability.

    Our flights have now been cancelled, but BA are saying they can only book in the validity of the original booking date, which is 1 year from the time booked, not from the point cancelled or flight date.
    Anyone had any work around this?
    we could get a refund, but chances of getting 3x tickets to maldives in business in the future is slim…

    • Doc says:

      There have been instances where the manage the booking allowed people to rebook beyond the stupid one year validity from DATE OF BOOKING. And sometimes a very helpful agent on the phone can do it but the standard answer is a No. My last two trips with BA were cancelled due to COVID (and one of them was a 50% off Avios booking) and they wouldn’t let me rebook beyond the 12 month date, so got refunds reluctantly. So I do sympathise with you but unless you are lucky with MMB or a helpful agent, you are back to square one and look at alternatives.

    • memesweeper says:

      Try online — this can work even if an agent says no.

      Try calling at different times — some agents are more experienced/helpful than others. Escalate if necessary.

      Keep pushing, others have had success in your situation.

      • Lady London says:

        +1 dont let them push you into a refund which is what they want. A refund is worth so much less considering what flights in future are gonna cost and it gets BA off the hook for the rights you will still have when rebooking.

        ca in normal weekday business hours. Around 8.30 or 19.00 seem to be good imes to get experienced Newcastle agents.

        Name the date you want to rebook to after BA cancelled your flight. Check first that BA are selling cash fares on that date. Otherwise it’s harder but still not impossible. You do not need to find an available avios seat if BA cancelled your flight. Any seat available for cash is your right provided it’s same cabin.

        If they mumble about 12 month rule inform them that this IATA rule only applies for voluntary changes. Your change is involuntary as BA cancelled your flight. Mention to them that the IATA instructions are in this case to endorse the ticket “INVOL” and then it can be issued as per EU261, with the passenger’s choice of later date to reroute. (IATA info was from @Charlieface).

        It’s perfectly reasonable for someone only to be able to travel at a particular time of year due to work requirements, season etc and their cancellation means you have lost your available window for this year – you certainly dont have time to get everything rearranged at such short notice.

        Persist, stick to your guns and don’t give up. One day the CAA should grow some and instruct BA to stop apparently systematically not training people to deliver passengers rights under EU261 and doing things like amending their website to stop passengers readily being able to request what they have a right to.

        • Elaine Ng says:

          thanks everyone for the replies. I didn’t get anywhere with the Newcastle agent I was speaking to so ended up cancelling and getting (more) FTVs.

          BA are being pretty awkward, my husband had booked flights for him and my son to go to Germany for Easter (done as a book with confidence thing) but as the flights were not cancelled agent refused to do the swap to new flights in May without charging a service fee. Instead he told us to cancel, get a voucher, and then call up to rebook…

        • elt says:

          We also had cancelled maldives club 241 seats that had been booked 355 days in advance. I took complaint up to Chief exec’s office, who replied within 24 hrs but still insisted that 1 yr validity of ticket excluded possibility of giving us new dates.
          So are they wrong too?

          • Jay H says:

            Yes. They are often wrong but they know most people won’t push it any further

    • babyg says:

      lots of comments on Flyertalk, but ring up and try again, lots of agents dont know the rule around cancelled reward bookings being rebooking into revenue seats (or even their supervisors)…

  • Nick says:

    Slight correction Rob… these are not YET available via ba.com – they will be soon. They were originally intended to replace BWC (which some considered ‘too generous’) before Christmas but sensibly they decided to roll back on that at the last minute as the latest covid wave hit confidence. It’s fair to assume they will eventually, the important question is when.

  • Dubious says:

    Maybe I am misreading the tables but it looks like the cost to add either ‘Select’ or ‘Select Pro’ is the same. In which case why would you ever choose ‘Select’ when the ‘Select Pro’ is possible?

  • Sarah says:

    Do you think there will be notice of the time period before vouchers are no longer given out? I have flights booked to New York for end of June and hoping BA will cancel. If they don’t, I’d take the vouchers but don’t want to miss out on vouchers if they are just withdrawn one day with no notice.

    • Bagoly says:

      I am thinking that Book With Confidence is fixed if it was in force at the time one made the booking?
      There is a limit of travel date until 2021/08/31.
      So I don’t think they can withdraw it for flights already booked, with travel date up to 2021/08/31.
      Withdrawal would be only for new bookings?

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Bagoly Yes if you booked when “Book With Confidence” was in force that’s the contract you have with BA regardless of any new terms that come into force.
        I should add that also it would not matter if t & c say to the contrary.
        from a very reliable source.
        There are instances when BA have introduced changes after you have booked
        ie meals withdrawing after you’ve booked a few years ago,but when pushed BA have seen sense before court

    • Nick says:

      @Sarah BWC is embedded in the fare rules for all tickets bought while it was in place, so no need to worry about that. There will come a time when it stops being available for new bookings, but existing ones won’t be affected.

      • Sarah says:

        I don’t know if it’s on the ticket as the flights were changed from June 2020 to and new location Feb 2021 and then to new location again for June 2021. The original was booked pre-pandemic

  • George1976 says:

    I’ve no idea if this is representative of companies in general but I’ve already been told that even in 2022 the travel budget will be no more than 50% of pre covid levels (my company has done ok over the last 12 months or so). Client visits (all based in the U.K.) will be allowed as usual, so it won’t impact customer relationships but internal meetings to other offices (mainly in other parts of Europe, outside of the U.K. and therefore more expensive than customer visits) generally won’t be allowed.

  • Scallder says:

    According to this, it might be that non refundable flights are indeed refundable (unless BA change how they advertise non refundable flights…)
    https://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2021/02/28/british-airways-forced-to-pay-customer-5000-who-wasnt-allowed-to-change-his-non-refundable-ticket/

  • Imane says:

    First, it could be good if British airways proceeds to refund the cancelled flight from last year. I bought a flight to my mom for may last year via a travel agent in Algeria. I am still waiting for a reimbursement. He called me 2weeks ago saying that BA sent them an email saying that they will start the reimburssements. I am still waiting. I contacted them many times. Each time they said, I need to contact my travel agent. When I contact the travel agent, they told me, they are waiting for BA. Before this pandemic, I thought that BA would never let their clothes ents without reimburssements. And I am still waiting.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve got some bad news for you. The travel agent has your money – indeed, will have had it months ago, and is not being truthful to you.

      BA is now paying refunds within 24 hours of requests being made.

      Unfortunately, your contract is with the travel agent and not with BA, and there is nothing BA can do to help you get your money back.

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