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How to extend your British Airways 2-4-1 companion voucher to 30th September 2023

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The biggest topic in my inbox at the moment, by far, is over possible further extensions to British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers.

I have no inside information as to what is happening with companion vouchers. However, following BA’s announcement this week about the extension to Future Travel Vouchers, you can now articificially extend your 2-4-1 voucher to 30th September 2023.

What is the current position with voucher expiry?

British Airways has extended 2-4-1 vouchers on multiple occasions since the pandemic hit.

British Airways American Express companion voucher extended

The last set of BA companion voucher extensions was announced in February 2021 but not everyone benefitted from this. At that point, all vouchers due to expire by 31st December 2021 were extended by a further six months. Vouchers expiring after 1st January 2022 were not touched.

This means that there are readers who have vouchers due to expire from Autumn 2021 onwards.

Will we see a further extension?

It isn’t clear. My strong suspicion is that we WILL see a futher extension.

The US is the key driver. The British Airways long-haul network is, to put it mildly, US-centric. As soon as the US reopens for vaccinated UK travellers I think that we will see a harder line on voucher extensions. Don’t expect much leeway just because South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, Japan etc are likely to remain closed for another year or so.

With no date in the diary for US travel to restart, however, it would be odd if BA didn’t give all unused vouchers a further grace period.

You can force through a 2-4-1 extension to 30th September 2023

In any event, you shouldn’t panic. There is, as a last resort, a way of extending your companion vouchers to 30th September 2023.

We covered this in our article on Wednesday on the extension of Future Travel Vouchers. I wanted to highlight it separately though as it was tucked away.

This is what you would do:

  • book a flight from, say, London to Manchester, return, using your BA Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher. It will cost you 10,500 Avios + £70 return for a peak day flight.
  • once the 24 hour ‘cooling off period’ has passed, cancel the ticket and select a ‘Future Travel Voucher’
British Airways American Express companion voucher extended

As we explained on Wednesday, 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 September 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 September 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. If you are ringing to book tickets at 00.00.01 precisely on the day of release, it is unlikely 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, Summer 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.

Conclusion

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 at some point. 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.

Wait until you get close to expiry, although don’t leave it too late because clearly you need to find Avios seats to do a dummy booking.

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.

Further reading

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.

You can also learn more about how the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher works in this ‘Avios Redemption University’ article.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(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.)

Comments (65)

  • Neil B says:

    Hi Rob, I have just triggered a BA companion voucher 2-4-1. When checking my BA account the voucher has a start date of 02 AUG 2021 and expiry date of 02 FEB 2024 ! Has BA already started extending these voucher dates?

    • Rob says:

      No, all vouchers issued in 2021 come as 30 months or 18 months depending on card type.

  • Colin JE says:

    Rob, is the deadline for booking and refunding flights to get a new FTV 31 August 2022?
    I’ve just got a refund and re-credit of 2-4-1 for our flights to Italy in September which BA cancelled. Got through on the BA Silver line yesterday after about 10 minutes wait. My 2-4-1 expires next October and I plan to use it for flights in Sept 2022 when I can book them, so should be okay, but if Covid drags on or we see new variations we could see more cancellations next summer too (please God no).
    If things look shaky this could be a great way to extend again but if my flights are booked for after 31 August 2022 I could be stuffed and not able to get a FTV and extension of 2-4-1?
    I know this is a bit pessimistic, but the last 18 months shows that pessimism and scenario planning can come in handy!

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you need to book for travel by 31 August 2022 AND make the booking whilst FTVs are still being offered.

      At some point BA will pull the option to take an FTV from new bookings.

      • Colin JE says:

        Thanks Rob, I will have to hope for another extension, or that the flights actually happen.
        Have previous extensions been given for 2-4-1s that have already been applied to flights but are then cancelled, as well as those sitting in BA accounts, unused?

  • Pid says:

    So if I have a cancelled flight from earlier in the year which I have not done anything about yet and it contains a 241 that expires in Oct 21 do I need to make a decision before Oct if they are not automatically extended. If I request a FTV after this date will the 241 still be valid?

  • Shane says:

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to similarly preserve upgrade vouchers as part of an FTV?

    • Chris says:

      Does anyone know if I could preserve a GUF2 voucher that’s about to expire (Oct 21) using this FTV method?

  • Pascal says:

    Does this also work to then cancel the BA Amex? Currently not in the UK anymore and just holding the card for the voucher

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      You need an Amex card to pay for the booking but it doesn’t need to be a BA Amex (technically it does but they don’t check). I think any Amex would do so you could get one in your new country or get a friend to pay for you. One thing to be wary of though is 2 for 1 bookings have to start in the UK

  • C says:

    You don’t need to book a return flight either to convert your 241 into a FTV. For example you can do a 1 way LHR-MAN for £35 and 5,250 Avios.

  • First to the left says:

    FYI if it hasn’t been mentioned. We have 2 US chase BA cards, and 2 vouchers. We tried to trade out a Chase “companion” voucher on a December 2021 trip because the one used has a 2023 expiry and our unused voucher expires Jan 6 2022. Family account but one voucher under each name.
    They would not allow us to simply switch the vouchers as the trip was booked using wife’s voucher but paid using my card (for various reasons) and this apparently prevents the from simply swapping out the vouchers. The booking would need to cancelled and rebooked -and as the seats are in first, agent said likely the seats would immediately go back into commercial pool and become unavailable as reward seats. Which would end the trip. I’ve called three times, 3 agents, always the same answer.
    If you have a family account, 2 chase ba cards, always book the voucher with the holders card.
    Looks like we’ll have to lock the expiring voucher in now with our cheapest option, probably NY to London return, 2 passengers in economy. Still a chunk of money in taxes.
    (Reason December trip didn’t use the expiring voucher is because we have been booking and canceling us to Europe trip for two years now due to covid travel restrictions and alternating the vouchers with two trips six months apart always booked).

  • James says:

    Can I use this method to artificially extend my 2-4-1 for a FTV, and then when I call up book an open jaw ticket as opposed to a normal return to/from the same destination?

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