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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 (December 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 10,500 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.

  • Grimz says:

    When getting a cash refund from BA is it possible to get the refund onto a different card that you payed with?

    • Rob M says:

      I haven’t had any luck doing so. We’ve had no problem getting the money from the old card provider though. VM were fine transferring the money directly to a new current account. Amex would transfer to the current account which was set up with the old card – or send a cheque. Others might have had other luck.

  • Lee says:

    Is it possible to use 2 companion vouchers for cheap return flight to say Manchester and then cancel after 24 hours to effectively have the ability for a family of 4 to use together up to Sept 2023? I have a companion voucher ending Feb 2022 and one in October 2022 and would like to use both for the Summer next year, so the only option is BA extend or I frporce through a future travel voucher. So just checking it can be done this way?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      If they are vouchers from the premium card, yes, you can do that.

      • Lee says:

        Yes they are from the BA Premium plus card originally, that’s great, thank you.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, works fine as long as no names are changed.

  • Alex Sm says:

    I think one point is missing from the article: a final reassurance that even if your voucher expires or is lost otherwise, it’s still not the end of the world!

    • Dave1985 says:

      Have you not noticed? EVERYTHING is the end of the world these days, including not being able to get a McDonald’s breakfast because its 11:01am!

    • Mike says:

      Alex – it is pretty close ! Although clearly not as a catastrophic as losing status

  • Definitas says:

    If we wait for future developments, what are the chances of BA ending the provision of FTVs leaving people with vouchers which expire early in 2022? We have two vouchers between us which expire next spring and I’m worried BA may withdraw the scheme before I have chance to artificially extend them as described in the article. Can we expect BA to give reasonable notice of when issuing FTVs will end?

    • Colin JE says:

      If you’re worried about those FTVs expiring, why not use them to book new flights, then cancel those and get another effective extension?

  • Yuff says:

    Does anyone have the you first contact number for BA, website doesn’t seem to keen to let me find it

  • geoff says:

    Bit confused about expiry dates mentioned – if all vouchers due to expire before Dec 21 were extended, how are there people with vouchers due to expire in autumn 21?

    • Claire says:

      We have one issued in 2018. Booked 2019 for 2020 but unable to use. Expiry is Nov 2021 currently but would ve good if extended.

    • Rob says:

      This confused me originally as well 🙂

      The last lot of extensions were done in February. This means that if your voucher was due to expire in March 2021, it got extended to September 2021. April got October etc.

  • Richard Street says:

    Anyone know what would happen if I book two short trips with my father’s 2 banked vouchers and then drop his Premium Plus card to a basic one? Due to all the changes I’m on the hook for over £1k Amex fees as I pay for (and use) his BA Amex.

    So thinking book flights and get FTVs and then I’ve got vouchers to use with him up to Sept 23.

    • Colin JE says:

      I may be wrong here, but isn’t the Sept 2023 FTV expiry date independent of whether your original card was basic or premium? If so, your ‘Dad’ could downgrade to basic or even cancel his card. You could add him as a supplementary on yours so he’ll have an Amex to book future flights. Then you might be able to get either a new joining bonus, or a refer a friend bonus in future when your Dad re-applies.

  • LessCleverAndrew says:

    I was wondering – if a flight was cancelled that I booked using avios and a 241 voucher (that was due to expire in November 2021) – then when my avios is refunded and the 241 is returned to me – will it be automatically extended? Or will I have to go through the shenanigans of calling BA?

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

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