Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

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: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. 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

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (107)

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

  • Ed B says:

    Am I missing something – what’s the benefit to using two vouchers at once vs. having one booking using a new voucher, and one booking with an old one.

    If you use two vouchers do you only pay one load of avios and get 4 seats? Or is it still two lots of avios?

    • Rob says:

      If you have a family of 4, you can’t do 2 separate bookings because you as cardholder would need to be a passenger on BOTH bookings. It would be ‘you plus partner’ and ‘you plus eldest kid’ with youngest kid spending two weeks with gramdma ….

      It has to be one booking so you can do ‘you + 3’.

      • Doug M says:

        I’m was a bit surprised you don’t do this anyway, gaining CV on both your own and your wife’s card, just for flexibility. As your kids get older don’t parent and one child holidays become a bit more common.

        • Memesweeper says:

          Might want one booking to keep the free seat selection ….? Certainly a factor in my household with only one member with status left…

          • Doug M says:

            Right, had not considered that. I think as CS replace CW this becomes much less important.

    • meta says:

      You can’t do it as the main voucher holder needs to be travelling. So you can book 2 seats on one voucher, but can’t book the next 2 as you’re already traveling on the other voucher. Huge issue for families.

  • Matthias says:

    I love HfP sometimes. I find it a genuinely useful and entertaining resource, but, let’s be honest we are all very deeply down in our little miles earning rabbit hole (and I’m as guilty as anyone.)

    If deciding when to trigger a 241 voucher is amongst the biggest questions you have in life, you’re doing pretty well 🙂

    • Doug M says:

      Absolutely, but once you’re in you’re in, there’s no going back. Outsiders would not for a minute understand the crazy decisions some of us make over travel.
      “But I still don’t understand why you’re going to Helsinki to get to Miami, it’s not on the way……..”

      • Polly says:

        Love it, have been asked that many time… why Stockholm? Thought you were going to Malaysia?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Exactly! First world problems! You’ll still have some people whinging and whining about it…

  • Venturelog says:

    I’m sure they could have provided a transition period as mentioned by a comment, even for 3-6 months. Especially if BA are saying these are “permanent” changes
    BA are missing a trick by not giving an option via another route (status, cash or slightly more avios).

    • Doug M says:

      Maybe they asked an IT person with an attitude like mine. Give over, do you know how hard that is to program and all for 3 months, just have a cutoff, customers are all ***** anyway.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        More likely the IT vendor quoted a budget of 500k and BA told them to jog off

        • Memesweeper says:

          Probably a bit of both 🙂

          Smarter would have been to transition old accounts to new accounts with new fees and new voucher rules. Could have changed the voucher conditions at the same time, which is presumably a pretty easy DB update. Give users 12 months to transition… most of the hard work is then done by Amex, who clearly have a less complex IT legacy to manage. Harder for existing customers to raise a complaint about unfairness too.

  • AndrewM says:

    I got the following scenario. I currently have the free BA Amex card and spent so far 9k on it. Could I upgrade now to the BA Premium Plus card, spend the additional 1k and get the 241 voucher for 2 years and use it towards Business Class travel? And maybe after 2-3 months downgrade again to the free BA Amex card, as to get a refund for the “rest” of the year?

    • Rob says:

      Yes – and many do.

      • AndrewM says:

        awesome, i just completed that. I did ask my partner who works for Avios, she wasnt aware of that.

  • Tet says:

    I currently have a free BA Amex card – with a current spend of £15,400. The anniversary of this card is 25th August. I am going to upgrade to the Premium card on 1st September as the benefits on the old card have lapsed. Should I upgrade to the premium card now to trigger a 2-4-1 as I don’t think I’ll manage the £20,000 spend before the 25th of August? And if I do, what impact will that have on the premium card for 2021-2022?

    • AJA says:

      The trouble you will have is if you upgrade now the voucher will be the “old” BAPP 2-4-1 ie won’t have access to the new I class inventory but if you wait until 1 September you will have wasted £15.4k of spend as you won’t trigger the voucher on the free card before your anniversary. So I’d be inclined to upgrade now and get the “old” BAPP 2-4-1 voucher.

      What I am unsure of is which annual fee you will pay for the year starting 26 August 2021, logically it should still be £195 as the reset date is before the changes come into effect. But the fee is usually charged on the next statement after renewal which will be in September or even potentially October so you may find you are charged £250.

  • mutley says:

    I have the same dilemma, but a just a lot closer to the 10K spend. I am £318 away. I will probably use the existing 2 for 1 for an extended long weekend with Mrs Mutley, green list permitting! and spend the £318 after September 1st. Then go for another 2 for 1 with a relatively quick £10k spend between October and January, and hopefully have two 2 for 1s for the two week October half term in 2022.

  • Babyg says:

    Easy choice, trigger it now, get another “old” voucher, cancel the BAcard. Get a new BAcard and earn another “new” voucher.

  • Fiona says:

    Hi all, I’m new here and would very much appreciate your insight. We’re a family of four aiming to earn two 241 vouchers to use for a long haul trip in early 2023. I’ve earned one already on BAPP (my husband is a supplementary cardholder and this is the first time we’ve ever had an Amex) and my card year will restart in mid July. The problem is we won’t be able to spend £10k on the card between July and September – not enough disposable income. So is my best bet to cancel my card and husband’s supp card, and then my husband take a new BAPP card out in his name with me as supp cardholder, and then (once we’ve spent another £10k) we’ll each have a voucher and we can make two separate bookings for one adult and one child each when we fly? Thanks in advance!

    • Fiona says:

      Hang on – I shouldn’t cancel my card, I should just put it in a drawer and not use it – and we should put all spending through on husband’s new BAPP until we hit the threshold? Sorry, I’m a bit slow on the uptake!

    • Rob says:

      Yes, that is the obvious plan. Makes total sense.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.