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.
Tucked away in the small print on the British Airways website, on the ba.com 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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.