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You can’t combine ‘new’ and ‘old’ BA Amex 241 vouchers – and why it is an issue

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Yesterday we looked at why the changes to the British Airways Premium Plus American Express cards may be better than we originally thought.

The changes to the British Airways Premium Plus credit card are outlined in this article from Tuesday.

Today, just to be contrarian, I want to show you why the Premium Plus changes may, for the first couple of years, not be better for you and could actually be worse.

British Airways BA American Express Amex credit cards

Tucked away in the small print on the British Airways website, on the page discussing the changes to the 2-4-1 companion voucher, is this wording:

“Only Companion Vouchers of the same type can be combined and redeemed on one Reward Flight booking (e.g. If a Cardmember holds a British Airways American Express Companion Voucher earned before 1 September 2021 and a British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Voucher earned after 1 September 2021 they will need to be redeemed on separate bookings. If a Cardmember holds two Companion Vouchers of the same type e.g. two British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Vouchers earned after 1 September 2021 they can be combined and redeemed as part of the same Reward Flight booking).”

You can’t mix ‘old’ and ‘new’ companion vouchers

These are the rules about who can use your companion voucher:

  • redeem one voucher, and the travellers must be the Amex cardholder and one other person
  • redeem two vouchers at once, in the same transaction, and the passengers must be the Amex cardholder and THREE other people
  • if you are in a Household Account, the additional passengers must be a member of the Household Account or on your Friends & Family list

If you are a family or group of four and want to use 2 x 2-4-1 companion vouchers from the same person on the same trip, you need to book in one transaction to get ‘1+3’.

But you can’t do that now ….

Companion vouchers issued from 1st September cannot be combined with vouchers issued before 1st September.

This will impact whether you decide to trigger your next voucher before or after 1st September.

Let me use myself as the example:

  • I have an existing BA Premium Plus 2-4-1 voucher waiting to be used
  • I am currently £9,000 into my current spending year
  • Virtually all my personal travel is with my wife and two children

As you can see, I have an interesting decision to make.

  • I could trigger my next 2-4-1 voucher before 1st September. The advantage of this is that I can use it with my existing voucher to travel with my family on a booking for four people. The downside is that it won’t qualify to take advantage of the additional Club World seat availability offered on vouchers issued from 1st September.


  • I could trigger my next 2-4-1 voucher after 1st September. The advantage of this is that I can use it very easily, due to the additional Club World seats that will be offered on ‘new’ Premium Plus vouchers. The downside is that I can’t combine it with my existing 2-4-1 voucher.

In the second scenario, the only way to use my ‘orphaned’ 2-4-1 voucher would be to book for two of us. I would need to use cash or 100% Avios to book the other two tickets. Availability will be tricker, however, due to lack of access to those additional Club World seats.

I am genuinely confused as to what I should do

I honestly don’t know what option is best.

I am excited by the prospect of being redeem for any I-class Club World seat, which would make Avios availability very easy to find. I would need to wait until 2022 before I had two vouchers available to travel with my family though – and what would happen to my existing voucher?

On the other hand, the idea of ‘wasting’ my existing 2-4-1 – or needing to book the two additional Avios seats I need at full rate – doesn’t appeal.

One solution would be to get my wife a British Airways Premium Plus card again (her two years without the card are nearly up). This would give us extra flexibility, as a 2-4-1 triggered on her card would allow her to book for herself and my daughter and I could book for myself and my son. I would have worse availability on my legacy voucher but I’d only need two seats – my wife would have access to better availability for the extra two seats.

British Airways could easily have avoided this situation

It would have been VERY easy for British Airways to convert existing 2-4-1 vouchers into ‘new’ vouchers on 1st September.

It may have led to a short-term rush on I-class seating but, given the current flight market, I doubt it would be a major hit for the airline.

I would also imagine that literally 99% of BA Premium Plus cardholders won’t read the small print and won’t realise that ‘old’ and ‘new’ vouchers can’t be combined. Most won’t even realise that the vouchers are different. It could all get a bit messy.

Ask me in 8 weeks which way I decided to jump. For now, I am halting BA Premium Plus spending and will decide nearer 1st September whether to push through the last £1,000 to trigger the voucher before or after that date.

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Comments (107)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • gareth says:

    Am I missing something with these I discounted fairs?! My view, and correct me if I’m wrong, but if I class discounted fairs are available eg lhr-jfk for £1100 in club then surely this is the worst time possible to use your 241 voucher due to the ba fees plus taxes circa £550 each. Effectively getting the smallest possible savings versus cash.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Yes if you look at it purely as a £ saving to cash fare
      However if you look at it from a reward availability, which as an Avios collector what we are aiming for, its good IMO

    • Qrfan says:

      What you’re missing is that I class fares are not always that cheap, or anything close to that in fact. Our regular route of Montreal has no first and club is currently £2300 return in September, booking into I class. That’s fairly standard pricing, and I suspect quite common on other routes too. 241 gets you a decent return.

    • Alex W says:

      Good point Gareth. A 241 doesn’t turn a bad redemption into a good one. If you normally aim to achieve 1p per Avio then you should aim to get 2p value when using a 241.

      • meta says:

        You’re missing the fact that Avios bookings are fully flexible minus £35 admin fee.

        • Alex W says:

          No I’m not. If you need a flexible ticket, you wouldn’t be buying an I class ticket. You would need to buy a much more expensive ticket which massively increases your pence per Avio 🙂

          • Doug M says:

            You and I calculate the pence per Avios very differently.

        • Qrfan says:

          People love saying this but it’s not true. Fully flexible means changing date or time without a fee. Try changing your CW avios ticket to another date after T-355 on most routes and you’ll see just how flawed this view is. It’s all or nothing, not fully flex.

          • meta says:

            I’ve done it many times without a problem and on popular routes too. You just need to have alerts set up.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Well anything you can cancel for a full refund (minus £35) up to 24 hrs before, and then can do whatever you like with that cash and miles … that’s one hell of a lot of valuable flex compared to the non-refundable tickets people generally compare with when comparing costs of redemptions vs cash tickets. No comparison is perfect, but in non BWC times they’d be a lot closer to fully flex than to non-refundable for comparison purposes.

          • CarpalTravel says:

            +1 to what The Savage Squirrel said.

            It’s as close to fully flex as you can get at an absolute fraction of the cost. Obviously there are compromises involved and anyone savvy enough to be doing airmiles in the first place is sure to be clever enough to understand that.

  • Harry says:

    My spend was below the BA Blue Amex Companion Ticket limit. I converted to the Premium Card due to the changes this week. This triggered the voucher immediately but it has not been issued with 24 month duration. Surely this is not right?

    • Vit says:

      Yes, that’s what happens when you upgrade to bapp after spending above £10k. It happened to me and needless to say took a good couple week to sort it out with both communications to BA as well as amex. They will sort it out though not pain-free!

      • Anita says:

        Really interested in how you managed to convince them please. In the same situation and we want to upgrade to get a 2 year voucher. Didn’t realise you triggered a voucher if you upgraded having already spent over 10,000. Thanks

        • Polly says:

          Yes, discussed this many times on the site.
          You must upgrade before you hit the 10k spend amount. Painful otherwise…Really useful option, especially now with these changes.

    • AJA says:

      Its the standard as they see the spending was on the free card. You have to speak to both BA and Amex, they can sort it.

      This is why it’s best to upgrade to the BAPP before you reach the £10k threshold.

      • Anita says:

        Thanks – The plan was to upgrade in a couple of months but booked a reward flight using a 2 4 1 voucher & BA insisted on the same card being used to pay the taxes. They wouldn’t listen at all & wouldn’t take an Amex platinum even in the same name! Sadly that took us to just over 10000 spend. I suppose I upgrade now, get the voucher & then see if they will extend it. Speak to BA or Amex first?

    • Rob says:

      Not right, but this is a well known Amex IT issue. It will get fixed if you call.

  • pauldb says:

    Minor point: you’ve copied T&C 10 re the Basic card instead of T&C 16 re the Premium card, albeit they are effectively the same now.

    This (and T&C 9) highlights that the Basic card has gained the option to pair vouchers 442 – this was not possible at all before on the Basic. But of course the 12 validity makes it hard to have and use two Basic vouchers together.

    • Ed says:

      Can you combine a BAPP 241 with a basic 241? So get a 24 month voucher, downgrade, spend 12k get a 2nd 12 month voucher. Noting economy restrictions on basic voucher ?

      • pauldb says:

        I think it’s very unlikely you can combine them.
        Also bear in mind if you downgrade I believe your card anniversary is preserved: you don’t start earning second voucher until your second year begins. So you can only do as you suggest right at the end of your first year.
        All told, you might as well, at that point, continue with the Premium into Yr2, earn a second Premium voucher ASAP, then downgrade. Or do the downgrade-upgrade shuffle.

  • Jill (Kinkell) says:

    I’ve just triggered my 241 voucher as anniversary date is 6 June, and it has the 6 month extension so is valid until Nov2023. I have a voucher in my account already and we have 2 tied up in future LH bookings from previous cancelled trips /FTV ….which may not go ahead! It’s. beginning to look like they might all go to waste, or I’ll still be doing the midnight/1am phone calls to bag those 2 CW seats. Not sure Im impressed with the extra £55 to make my life complicated for a few years

  • Jonathan says:

    What first world problems you have to deal with.

    • J says:

      That tends to be the case on a travel blog 😉

    • DT says:

      This probably isn’t the website for you if you don’t like reading about first world problems

      • CarpalTravel says:

        Perhaps they are confused between Club World and First Class… 😀

  • Justin says:

    I get that this is a massive change to the programme, but the articles over the past few days have been flip flopping all over the place.

    First it was “BAD NEWS”, then “better than we thought” and today it’s “might be worse”.

    You have built up s great editorial record and I gave benefited a LOT from this site, but it’s now becoming more clickbait-esque. News may be thin right now but is there really a need for three days of articles all contradicting each other?

    • Chris says:

      I agree with this. I’ve found the coverage of these changes quite confusing.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Rob has talked about different perspectives on the changes. It’ll be impossible to capture everything in one article on day one.
      If you are unhappy, cancel your subscription and ask for a refund.

      • Justin says:

        But that’s the point, it’s not. This is a journalistic website, so doing the due diligence on what the changes are shouldn’t take 3 days after what was already an embargoed announcement.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          He also needs to work within the site format of three sharp snappy articles that can be read by non points obsessive without losing interest and come to a conclusion. Essays don’t work for this need. One vast sprawling article that goes through everything and concludes “it’s very complicated” would not be better journalism within this context.

          • CarpalTravel says:

            I would have loved to of seen the headline: “It’s Very Complicated” !! XD

        • Sean says:

          Except i believe article 2 was in response to what was NOT in the press release that he received e.g. the I class point. If they had received the full T&Cs then i would agree with you. You either accept getting the news asap or a couple of days later when full details are out.

        • Rhys says:

          You’d be surprised how much stuff we don’t know until things are actually launched, embargoed or not. Press releases often omit vital information….as with I class availability. We were only told that by the CEO of Avios after he read our article – nobody mentioned it before!

          But we’ve always broken down bigger news stories into multiple components – some of these program changes are simply too complex to cover adequately in one article. That’s not a new thing 🙂

        • Ernie says:

          Totally agree Justin.

          Is anyone old enough to remember the early days of the internet when web pages had a page view counter displayed lol

    • P4D says:

      He also made it clear yesterday that he did not have full terms and conditions on the initial article two days ago. This article is quite clear, an important condition the for those that want to use 2 companion vouchers they might want to consider and try to avoid. Seems quite useful info for many (that would not otherwise have been obvious). Not click bait or flip flopping, useful info.

    • SammyJ says:

      Far more helpful for me to get the basics, and then some of the detail in separate articles. When there is lots of complicated detail it’s better to focus those bits into targeted articles rather than having one mega-article that goes on and on.

    • Rob says:

      Let’s ignore the fact that I’m on holiday so actually would prefer not to be spending hours per day writing this stuff, especially in one go. However:

      *the 10am Tuesday article was written based on information we were given on Friday
      *the Wednesday article was written based on information we were given on Tuesday afternoon
      *the Thursday article (today) was based on information which we were not given at all and only became clear when BA quietly put the page on its website explaining the voucher changes

    • Doug M says:

      I think all of the variations are true and false, it all depends on your personal situation whether a change is better, worse, or might be worse.
      If nothing else changes I still see this as bad as it’ll allow CV redemption people to use up I class tickets. But the reality is it’ll also like change what fare classes are released at what time. Who knows, it’s wait and see time.

  • Mark says:

    Just received 24250 points back from Hilton for a 3 night stay at Bankside after enrolling in the 3x points bonus promo.
    Very happy :–)

    • Ben says:

      I had the same from a Doubletree in Edinburgh a couple of weeks back. If I was travelling for work again, I’d be absolutely cleaning up!

    • roberto says:

      Off to Bankside myself next week. How was things there? Did you have an exec room, is the lounge still closed? How was the breakfast and evening bar?

  • Alex W says:

    What a stupid rule. Presumably driven by an IT quirk, as I can’t imagine why they would intentionally want to do this? If it can’t be done online they should just let people ring up and book 442 over the phone for the first couple of years until the old vouchers disappear.

    • AJA says:

      It’s not that stupid. It’s basically a reason for charging more for the BAPP. If we can simply convert existing vouchers into new style ones that have access to I class inventory what’s the point of paying extra for the card?

      Of course the problem BA has is that we all have too many 2-4-1 vouchers which still need using. So preventing us from accessing I class with existing vouchers makes the likes of Rob upset. In reality I suspect the numbers of people who redeem 2 vouchers at the same time are quite low.

      It’s a fairly simple choice: if you have 1 old voucher and are close to earning another you need to choose whether the ability to redeem 2 vouchers at the same time is worth more than delaying to get the extra I class flexibility.

      I don’t need the ability to redeem 2 vouchers so will wait to trigger the new style voucher.

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