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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.

EDIT: Unfortunately, BA pulled the rug from this strategy in March 2022. Read this article (click) to learn more.

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.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

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 unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

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

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up 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

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

Comments (65)

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

  • Martin says:

    Another reason to not do something that requires calling BA: I tried that last week and was on hold for 45+ minutes a couple of times. Then, on two occasions, after telling them my reasonably complicated request, the call was cut off. I wouldn’t like to suggest they are using the HUACA* approach, but it certainly felt like it.

    * Hang Up And Call Again, a technique which was often successful when the BMI Diamond Club line claimed they couldn’t do something you knew was possible.

    • Sam says:

      Did they ever call you back? If not that’s more like ‘hang up and never call again’….I also can’t imagine the telephone agents have the audacity to hang you up deliberately, but hey it’s BA so perhaps they do…

      A right approach is to put you on hold if it’s your request is out of the agent’s remit, though.

      • Martin says:

        It seems like ‘add a return leg to a redemption booking containing an infant who turns 2 mid-itinerary’ isn’t a simple workflow for them…

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        Hang up and call again is when the customer hangs up (hopefully politely) and then calls back in the hope they get a more experienced agent (or one willing to do what you ask)

    • VerdantBacon says:

      I was once on hold for about 50 mins before getting through to an agent, after explaining my request they asked me how long I had been on hold.

      They had been getting reports of calls automatically disconnecting after an hour or so of total call time, they didn’t know the root cause but she asked if she could call me back if the call dropped. Said that they can’t normally call back on a dropped call without asking permission first.

      I have no idea how much of this is true, but now if I’ve been on hold and approaching an hour, I open with explaining that im okay to be called back in the event of the call dropping out.

      I’ve never actually had a call with BA drop before though so I still don’t know if I would’ve actually been called back.

      • VerdantBacon says:

        If they would’ve actually called back*

      • Martin says:

        The first time was about 60 mins total call time, the second wasn’t. On the third call, the first thing I did was give the agent my number, though it wasn’t necessary in the end.

    • Pid says:

      Answered in 2 mins at 0800 hrs this morning. Good job as I did not have the time to wait an hour!

  • Tom says:

    I had exactly the same issue last weekend. Over an hour on hold and then cut off a couple of minutes into the call. Infuriating.

    • Bagoly says:

      Are we sure the cutoff is by BA?
      Could it be ‘phone company, but never experienced except due to BA waiting time being so long?

  • Mary says:

    Hi. Given these extensions do we think that BA will provide a further status extension for those expiring in the first half of next year? Feels like with Delta, Virgin, Aer Lingus etc doing so there is precedence. Rob do your sources have any visibility?

    • AJA says:

      I’m in this group. I think the longer the USA is out of bounds the higher the chances those with status expiring Jan-Jun 2022 will get a further extension. Right now I’d say we have to wait to the end of September before BA will do anything.

  • Claire says:

    I have a flight using the 2 for 1 voucher which the outbound leg has been cancelled 29th aug. The inbound is still running but will hopefully be cancelled sometime next week. I want to rebook for similar dates next year and want to know if I’m allowed to come back after the 29th of August. I would be flying out on the 17th and want to come back on the 31st aug or 1st sep. If they do cancel the inbound which is the 12th sep would this work or do I have to complete travel by the 29th? Thanks

    • ChrisC says:

      Your outbound has to be within a year of the original departure date and the return within a year after that

      • Claire says:

        Thanks but as it’s a popular route I wanted to check if i were guaranteed to get them to move my return flight to a date I wanted even if no avios availability. If that’s not the case I will use another 2 for 1 to hook the flights I want at 355 days exactly but if they have cancelled both legs this year what I really want to know is am I restricted to the outbound or inbound date to have the flights done by. Thanks

        • Claire says:

          Should be book not hook.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Claire 1) why hoping second leg is cancelled it doesn’t matter soon as first leg is cancelled Ring them
          We had three tickets to Denver in Aug, return from Phoenix soon as we was told first leg was cancelled (241 Avios only)
          Got on phone told BA we wanted same flights but for Easter no Avios availability
          forced open flights we wanted no problem kept same seats as well mind we don’t pay for seats, so not sure what would happen to somebody who does
          Wasn’t a problem, young lady specially helpful

  • Andy says:

    Japan closed for another year or so!? Well that’s my May holiday scuppered

  • Kathy. M says:

    Is it your telephone package that cuts you off ar 60 mins? I assumed so when I had this with BA but also with a bank.

    Can I confirm, the only way to cancel an AVIOS booking, and therefore to get a future travel voucher is via the phone?

  • lcylocal says:

    You don’t actually need to wait 24 hours to cancel and get the Future Travel Voucher. I did this last week, to immediately reuse the voucher for a date after the original expiry. As I was booking for a date between the end of the voucher but before the end of the Book With Confidence period in September, it made sense as I can just cancel for another voucher at any point if I can’t travel.

  • Shirley says:

    South Africa closed for another year or so! My holiday has been moved 3 times already to July 2022 so hope that’s not the case.

    • SharonC says:

      Shirley, I’m the same! Was due to go to Namibia last June, now moved three times already to next summer! Flying via SA as no other routes in

    • Mike says:

      I am hoping for Oct 22 for South Africa

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