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?

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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.


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)

  • pauldb says:

    Does the new voucher allow you to book a non-UK departure OK? I tried ex-HKG with an old voucher in case the restriction had been lifted there too, but no luck.

    And I’m still interested to know if you can book something like HKG-LHR(stop)-LAX(main stop)-LHR(stop)-HKG. If you can use your vouchers in series like that you are effectively squeezing two trips out of each.

    • roberto says:

      Yes you can start outside the UK. Yes you can also have stops however you would get dinged for the full ADP whereas if you are just connecting you will not..

      I booked an ex EU 241on the new voucher from Malaga to London and onto Singapore return in business with one long leg in First and the total taxes were about £650 in total for both pax. If you wanted to stop in London for more than 24hours then it would have been about £1350.

  • Grimz says:

    Looking at the comments above there is no need to hold back on triggering the voucher as you will get until March 2024 anyway? I was planning on waiting until December to trigger my voucher which would extend it even further but I am not going to gain anything by doing that!

    • Dave says:

      Well.. you would get 3 extra months, so there is something to gain.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        bit of a gamble though, if they didn’t mean to code the extension in then you may have a “normal” 2y ending 12/23 instead.

  • Felix Flyer says:

    Quick question which I couldn’t find an answer for. I have 2 BAPP vouchers but work abroad. Can I use them to fly my wife and son out to see me (both are on my BA household account) or must I be one of the travellers?

    • Dave says:

      You have to be travelling

    • Anna says:

      As Dave says, you have to be one of the passengers, however it sounds as though there might be referral/sign up opportunities here for your wife, and if she hit the target spend on the BAPP quickly could use her own voucher to visit you!

      • Felix Flyer says:

        Thanks Anna and Dave. The situation is as I guessed that I would have to be a traveller. Will work on those sign up bonuses!

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    The single voucher opening up seats on a 4 person booking is a HUGE perk for the avios laden family unable to book things 355 days ahead. As you say, makes voucher more valuable and strategy more interesting.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      It’s huge for families who generate multiple vouchers every year and also generate tons of avios for redemptions without vouchers.

      Like Rob’s 🙂

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    “This leads to an interesting conclusion – it may no longer make sense to use 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers in the same booking. “

    Also (slightly) lowers the value of an upgrade voucher from Barclays? If using the voucher, they certainly will have the restricted availability?

    • Rob says:

      Possibly. Strange that Amex would want to devalue Barclays upgrade vouchers …

  • William says:

    In the Sunday Times yesterday it implied that the new 2-4-1 voucher could only be redeemed on economy class seats! Is that correct or have I misinterpreted the article? Thanks Will

  • Hanif says:

    I cancelled my BAPP today was offered 10000 Avios for £3000 spend to stay on, I declined.

    • TheInsiderFly says:

      Is that in addition to the 10,000Avios for £5000 spend that you may have as an offer on your card? Or have they just pointed you to the offer?

  • MisterE says:

    I have a new-style Companion Voucher and am looking for two Bus seats to YVR next summer. I appreciate that’s tough, especially given it used to be an A380 and is now just an A350. Given Seat Spy/RFF don’t show the extra availability (yet), is there any systematic way of checking availability? Or am I doomed to have to check a couple of times per day?

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