Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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

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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 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 with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of 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

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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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

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 (94)

  • TravellingJake says:

    I’ve found availability with the 2-4-1 with 6 seats in I class on flights to Singapore so if there is a link to number of seats, it’s as low as 6.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Or they’ve already sold some of the seats and the trigger doesn’t activate in reverse?

  • mr_jetlag says:

    New BAPP vouchers also seem to be issued with 6mo extensions. Both of ours with expiry March 2024.

  • David says:

    What about access to First cabin availability for either old or new 241 vouchers? Seems to be diminishing? Any advice for bagging First availability welcome.

    • MW says:

      Most routes have only 8 F seats and there are no guarantees any Fs get released for reward flights at all, so it’s very hard to find them.

      • Jonathan says:

        BA also have no idea if they’ll be using 777/A380/789 with First cabin or A350/788 without First more than a few weeks down the line at the moment so they don’t want to sell First for cash on most routes let alone redemptions to then be on the hook for downgrade compo.

      • Rob says:

        The end of the 747 and temporary end of the A380 fleet is effectively the end of F redemptions. There is a limit to how much of, and when, BA will give up of an 8 seat cabin.

        Odds are probably better a week or so before travel. Book Club and upgrade if you can.

    • Peter K says:

      From comments on here it seems there is a high chance on downgrading from first to club at the moment. The compensation cost to BA means it is not worth selling first class Avios flights currently, only cash.

  • Tim says:

    Does using the new 2for1 voucher give additional seats if booking for a family of 3 or does selecting 3 seats when using the voucher reduce the number of seats available?

    • Rob says:

      Very good question. Leave it with me.

      EDIT: You CAN book all 3 seats into the extra inventory. Article updated to reflect this.

    • Andrew says:

      Or what about holding the voucher in your account, but just booking for one person? And/or holding the voucher in your account, planning to use for a long-haul trip, but can see this enhanced availability for a CE search and just booking a normal Avios redemption for that trip?

      • Jonathan says:

        You have to select the 241 voucher on the first search page prior to seeing availability so imagine this won’t work in the same way it won’t show you availability beyond the expiry date of a voucher you’ve selected.

    • John says:

      Also wondering this!

  • Hugh says:

    Looking at availability on my mobile I do not see the extra seats made available message anywhere, but am seeing most of the extra availability described above, except in July 13th where it has all disappeared! Have 8 seats really been booked overnight or have they been removed, if so maybe the benefits are not as great as hoped!

  • D says:

    Hypothetically if the threshold is 8 in I-class, and BA shows 9 available to book with the new 2-4-1, and if someone books 2 redemptions using a 2-4-1…… would there still be 7 available to book with the 2-4-1 for others or would this now be below the threshold and therefore none would be available?

  • Alan says:

    This is going to be fun/very tricky for seat spy etc to code!

    • simonbr says:

      Seat Spy is currently grappling with this issue, they don’t have a solution yet. I suspect people will not want to renew their subscriptions if Seat Spy cannot find a way of displaying 241 reward seat availability, because it will force users to perform manual searches on BA.com

      • memesweeper says:

        The could have a ‘definitely maybe’ indicator on days with > x I-class available, if users click a button indicating they have a new style voucher.

        I’m not sure the absence of this would make me cancel my sub.

  • Paul says:

    So if you have an old style voucher and need to cancel now, seems like it might be worth going for a FTV with extended validity till sept 23 rather than turning it back into an old style companion voucher with 2.5 year validity (till nov 22 in our case). Ok the cash element is loaned to BA and participants locked in, but seat availability for an old style 241 might be severely limited. Or have I missed something ?

    • KBuffett says:

      My understanding is the seat availibility remains the same (severely limited) whether you have an old style 241 as a standalone voucher or held within a FTV. Can anyone confirm?

      • Anna says:

        I would expect this to be the case as the new availability is linked to when the voucher was issued, not when it’s redeemed.

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.