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Is it easier to find Avios seats with the NEW British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher?

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Last week, American Express relaunched the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card. You can find out more in this article.

As part of the relaunch, the sign-up bonus on the BAPP card was increased to a huge 40,000 Avios.

You may well qualify for this bonus.

Have you had either of the two British Airways American Express cards in the past 24 months? If the answer is ‘No’, you qualify for the 40,000 Avios bonus. You can apply here.

British Airways BA Amex Premium Plus American Express

As part of the relaunch there was a major change to the 2-4-1 companion voucher which comes with the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card.

For vouchers issued after 1st September 2021 (this does not apply to existing unused vouchers), cardholders were promised access to ‘extra’ Club World business class seating.

British Airways and American Express have been very cagey about how this extra availability works. I was told off the record that it was linked to I-class availability, which is BA’s selling class for discounted Club World seats.

This implied that if a cheap cash seat was available in Club World, an Avios seat should also be available.

We now have some real world evidence

A HfP reader had carefully timed his 2-4-1 voucher so that it triggered on 1st September. When it landed in his Executive Club account, he did some random searches at my request.

The route we used was London to Los Angeles across a week in July 2022. Did we really see the extra Avios availability?

This is the message you get when trying to use your new style BAPP 2-4-1 companion voucher confirming that additional Club World seats have been made available:

Let’s look at 2-4-1 availability in Club World to Los Angeles for the week commencing 9th July 2022. This search was done late last week so availability may have changed by now.

BA is currently scheduling two flights per day to Los Angeles for July 2022. These are numbered BA269 and BA281 – we will use these references below. This means that Avios seats could be available on no flights, one flight or both flights.

Saturday 9th July

No Business Class availability shows with a new style 2-4-1 voucher.

The cheapest selling class on the two BA flights is the more expensive R-class. No I-class is showing for cash sale.

Sunday 10th July

No Business Class availability shows with a new style 2-4-1 voucher.

The cheapest selling class on the two BA flights is the more expensive R-class. No I-class is showing for cash sale.

Monday 11th July

No Business Class availability shows with a new style 2-4-1 voucher.

The cheapest selling class on BA281 is the more expensive R-class.

BA269 has seven seats in I-class availability but is NOT bookable for Avios.

Tuesday 12th July

This is where the new style voucher pays off, big time.

With a new-style 2-4-1 voucher, there are at least 10 Club World seats on BA281 (if no seat number shows, the number is 10+). For cash, it has 10+ seats with I-class availability.

The second flight, BA269, has three seats in I-class available for cash but is NOT bookable for Avios.

No Club World seats are available if you do not have a new-style 2-4-1 voucher:

Wednesday 13th July

Club World availability jumps from zero to 8 on one flight, but remains zero on the second flight despite I-class cash tickets being available.

With a new-style 2-4-1 voucher, there are 8 Club World seats on BA281. For cash, there are 10+ seats with I-class availability.

The second flight, BA269, only has the more expensive R-class availability for cash and is NOT bookable for Avios.

No Club World seats are available if you do not have a new-style 2-4-1 voucher:

Thursday 14th July

Club World availability jumps from zero to 10+ on one flight, but remains zero on the second flight despite I-class cash tickets being available.

With a new-style 2-4-1 voucher, there are at least 10 Club World seats on BA281. For cash, there are 10+ I-class seats bookable.

The second flight, BA269, only has the more expensive R-class availability for cash and is NOT bookable for Avios.

No Club World seats are available if you do not have a new-style 2-4-1 voucher. I have not included a screenshot to save space.

Friday 15th July

Club World availability jumps from zero to 10+ on one flight, but remains zero on the second flight despite I-class cash tickets being available.

With a new-style 2-4-1 voucher, there are at least 10 Club World seats on BA281. For cash, there are 10+ I-class seats available.

The second flight, BA269, has seven seats in I-class available for cash and is NOT bookable for Avios.

No Club World seats are available if you do not have a new style 2-4-1 voucher. I have not included a screenshot to save space.

Saturday 16th July

No Business Class availability shows with a new style 2-4-1 voucher.

The cheapest selling class on the two BA flights is the more expensive R-class. No I-class is showing for cash sale.

What happens if you try to book more than two seats?

A couple of people asked in the comments below if anything changes when you try to book more than two seats.

We ran a couple of experiments and all is good. If you try to book 4 Avios seats with a new-style 2-4-1 companion voucher selected (so you would be using Avios for three seats and getting one for free) you still see the additional availability.

This leads to an interesting conclusion – it may no longer make sense to use 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers in the same booking. A family of four may be better off using just one voucher and using the 2nd for their next trip, because it would open up extra availability on both flights.

Conclusion

OK …. this isn’t quite as simple as we anticipated. We are also working off a small sample here so my conclusions are still a work in progress.

It is NOT the case that “if any I-class seats are available for cash, they are bookable for Avios”.

Based on these examples, it seems that you need at least eight, and possibly more than 10, I-class seats to be available for cash before you can book them with a ‘new style’ 2-4-1 voucher from the Premium Plus card.

This will hopefully not be a major restriction on most routes when booked months in advance.

What IS impressive is the number of seats that are being released. In our example, once the trigger for the required number of I-class tickets had been hit (at whatever level that is) we saw at least 8 and often 10+ Club World seats bookable for Avios. These are on flights where there is NO Club World Avios availability for the general public, remember.

If I had to summarise …. it’s not quite as good as we thought, but it’s not bad. It looks like the 2-4-1 companion voucher on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card is now genuinely easier to use.

Remember that the 40,000 Avios bonus for signing up runs to 2nd November. You can apply here.

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

Comments (94)

  • Dev says:

    Just want to Confirm that having the Marriott card does not snooker me with the sign up bonus?

    • Rob says:

      Not on Premium Plus, no – you’re good for 40k Avios.

      You can’t get the bonus on the free BA card though.

  • h1jfg says:

    Got my new 2-4-1 voucher yesterday and can confirm that I got offered Club World seats on flights to Dubai in November that were not available at all when just trying to book with just Avios. As soon as I added in the new voucher the additional seats were opened up.

    • Babyg says:

      where there any in December by chance? I might try and trigger a new voucher if there is..

      • James says:

        Yes. In Club for 2 pax availability is:
        Outbound: Dec 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,13,29,30,31
        Inbound: 1.2,3,6,7,8,9.10.11,12,13,14,15,17,18,19,20,2122,23,24,2526,27,28
        Hope this helps.

  • Sundar says:

    What happens with a 3 pax booking on a 241 voucher ? Will the third pax be able to use additional normal Avios ?

  • Alan says:

    I wondered why there were so few reward sets on BA269 so I checked the aircraft type on a couple of July dates and 269 is currently in as an A380 whereas 281 is a 777. I think most people would choose A380 so it looks like they want cash buyers only at the moment – probably to justify flying it!

    • Kevin D says:

      Correct. BA are already thinking about next summer, scheduling, routes and aircraft type. The hope that travelling is a lot easier with little or no Covid restrictions. A lot of the data being collected is searches being generated now, and indeed cash bookings. Why fly a 777 for 299 passengers when there are more people willing to pay for the same flight – and a 469 seat aircraft sitting gathering dust!

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    So, this is indeed as indicated to me by GGL line some months ago. Considering even the sort after ‘jokers’ are limited to 5 per cabin per flight, without it going upstairs to revenue management for clearance, it is not that surprising that it’s simply not a 100% free dip into ‘I’ class. Still very useful, however, compared to the old style voucher availability. Also consider the valuable GUFs which are earned at various Tier point thresholds, would have been devalued somewhat.

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