Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Should you trigger your next British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher early?

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It now seems clear that British Airways will not be offering any further extensions to American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers.

The first round of voucher expiration since covid hit will take place during October. If there was any intention to extend them further then I am sure it would have been announced at the same time as the status extensions last week. The reopening of the US from November makes further extensions even less likely.

However, British Airways IS still offering a six month extension on all newly issued vouchers, which are currently valid for 2.5 years (or 1.5 years if generated on the free BA Amex card).

British Airways BA Amex Premium Plus American Express

Here is the interesting point I wanted to flag today:

The six month extension is only valid on 2-4-1 vouchers issued by 30th December 2021.

This creates a situation where it may be advisable to trigger your next 2-4-1 voucher early.

Let me explain:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher issued on 20th December 2021 will expire on 20th June 2024
  • A 2-4-1 voucher issued on 20th January 2022 will expire on 20th January 2024

Anyone who triggers their next voucher between January and June 2022 will be worse off than someone who triggers their next voucher in late December 2021.

There could be real benefits in triggering your voucher early to get the extra six months.  It would allow anyone who has a card year ending in January or February to get a voucher covering Easter 2024 for example.

British Airways BA Amex American Express cards

What does this mean for you?

If your next British Airways Premium Plus American Express card year ends between January 2022 and May 2022, you may want to think about pushing forward spending so that you trigger the voucher before 31st December 2021.

This will maximise the life of the voucher by giving you a validity period which runs until late June 2024.

(Remember that the expiry date is the date by which you must take your outbound flight and not the deadline to book.)

Of course, British Airways could change the rules again and continue to grant extensions beyond 31st December.  They have already done this twice. However, realistically, it is difficult to see this happening given that BA is now happy to let unused 2-4-1 vouchers expire again.

Your bigger problem is how you generate the spending.   There is always Billhop, reviewed here, although this is not a free service so you need to weigh up the pros and cons. Luckily we have the run up to Christmas which, whether you like it or not, is likely to see a spending boost.

More information

If you want to learn more about how to use your 2-4-1 companion voucher, this Head for Points article published yesterday is the definitive guide on everything you need to know about the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.


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 (55)

  • Andrew H says:

    The obvious for early triggering is Hotels.com and I’m sure they don’t mind too much sitting on your cash for a few months. Last week I accidentally triggered an Avios bonus booking a hotel without using the free nights I had… (does anyone right now book the non refundable rate?)

    • Annabel says:

      Morning I have four ‘credits’ ( not rewards ) with hotels.com from price matches a while ago. Would you try to use them in future bookings ASAP? Thanks

      • CarpalTravel says:

        Good morning! Whatever they do, they will have to give plenty of notice and they will also have to take into account all existing credits. Yesterday I compared a booking with all available agents and with CB and reward night stamps, nothing comes close to Hotels.com. For all we know right now, they might all align with the Hotels.com model.

        Obviously deep inside we know they won’t, but right now we know nothing for sure. I wouldn’t worry about what hasn’t happened yet.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Agreed, they have been my go-to if I need to make some fast, big spends on a card. I always try and make it a booking that I genuinely intend to make use of, but it is a handy way of hitting spend targets and then having additional time to offset the eventual refund.

      O/t, but lately some of the Hotels.com listings have been odd, with two prices for the exact same room, breakfast, same refund policy etc… Not sure what is going on there.

      • C says:

        I’ve noticed that as well, or even cases where a non refundable and refundable rate are the same. My suspicion is that there is some sort of Hotels.com rate, and also the hotel generally offers more flexible booking, which also gets picked up.

      • Andrew H says:

        I’ve seen it where they’ve got things the wrong way round – i.e. cancellable cheaper than non…

        • CarpalTravel says:

          Yes I have seen that many times too. Never fails to cause me to raise a smirky smile!

      • Mark says:

        That tends to happen when a rate passes it’s cancellation policy cut-off date, e.g. if there is a rate with free cancellation up to 14 days before but then becomes non-refundable and a cheaper rate that is non-refundable from booking they seem to continue to sell both within the 14 days, at which point both are non-refundable, but there’s still a price difference.

  • Andrew says:

    If I trigger a BAPP voucher, then downgrade to blue, does the voucher stay as a BAPP voucher (ie usable for Club and extra availability et) or downgrade to a blue voucher for economy only?

    • Rob says:

      Remains as a BAPP voucher as far as we know, but of course only a handful have been issued to date.

    • BJ says:

      There have been a very few (2?) comments suggesting downgrades were not allowed anymore, only upgrades and cancellations. It would be useful to get some datapoints from readers on downgrades this month.

      • BJ says:

        Just FYI, my partner called to cancel after triggering his voucher 2 September. He got the 10k aviis for 3k retention offer so he kept it as it stays with the other 2k and 10k offers he already has so in his case he will get just over 30k avios for £5300 spend.

        • Vit says:

          +1 to what BJ stated above re-downgrading. Tried to downgrade a couple time using HUACA but 3rd time “lucky” – – partner was offered similar retention avios above. We have large spending coming up with home renovation anyway. So will keep it for now.

        • Polly says:

          That’s a nice tidy no of avios.. l got 20 on the gold last week, using the not travelling excuse. Got the, l see you are a loyal customer blurb, said thank you. Got no nice spend offers tho like your partner has on his BAPP.

      • Andrew says:

        I was offered a downgrade on the phone a couple of weeks ago

  • DZOO says:

    I crossed the spending threshold for a 241 voucher a couple of days after 1 Sep on a BAPP which I have held consistently for many years (ie no up/downgrade malarkey) but the 241 voucher still has not yet been issued nor any email acknowledgment sent (the spending counter has gone from my a/c homepage).

    How long does it “usually” take once I contact Amex over chat to get the 241 issued – on the basis of above thinking of waiting until 1 Dec to contact them to maximise voucher life? Wise plan? TIA

    • BJ says:

      Call them today after 9am and tell them your missing your voucher. Forget about chat, they have limited powers but like yo give the impression otherwise.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    The choice is between triggering the voucher in Dec vs Jul next year.
    Former will require buying a lot of vouchers and some Billhop spending.
    Latter will cost £125 in card fee.
    Decision time.

  • Freddy says:

    My current dilemma is how to use up my two existing 241 vouchers rather than when to trigger more of them!

    • Anna says:

      I’ve got plenty of scope to use mine but 2 are tied up in FTVs so one can only hope BA gets their IT and/or phone service sorted out by next year!

    • Vinz says:

      I have three… getting a fourth soon… and nowhere to go really…

  • BJ says:

    When using a FTV to extend a 241 until September 2023, what happens if we then use that FTV but subsequently cancel the flight? Is tge 241 returned to our accounts with a September 2023 expiry date?

    • DZOO says:

      It keeps the original non-FTV expiry date AFAIK

      • BJ says:

        Thanks, that’s what’s worrying me. Our cancelled Xmas trip to BKK has 241 expiring June 2021 but we already have a trip to Japan and Thailand booked spring 2021 and with new policy on rebooting and lack if summer flights to BKK it looks like the FTV is best I can do.

  • Vip says:

    My voucher was triggered on 25-Sep-2021 as my anniversary is end of October, but BA didn’t provide me 30 months validity, it came as standard 24 months validity.

    • Rob says:

      Are you sure? Look in your ba.com account for the page where it shows all current and used vouchers and the expiry dates.

      • David says:

        When I look at my account there are no details of current and used vouchers, is this due my only voucher being tied up in a FTV ?

        • Anna says:

          No, it should still be there as a used voucher. Go to your account and select e-vouchers.

        • BJ says:

          Very strange, my BAEC page now shows all vouchers directly under aviis and household aviis counters. There is no longer even a need to go through the manage my account pages. Have you tried logging in via desktop or desktop view on tablet?

  • NFH says:

    I’m planning to overpay my Octopus Energy account to top up my spend to £5,000 between 23rd August and 30th November 2021 to get 10,000 bonus Avios. This will have the added benefit of triggering the companion voucher in late November.

    Obviously don’t do this with a small supplier, but Octopus Energy is very well hedged and in such a strong financial position that it is acquiring customer bases of failed small suppliers.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Energy supplier credit is protected.

      • David says:

        Still a potential PITA chasing it up if the worst happens

        • NFH says:

          True. Martin Lewis has been advising consumers to take screenshots of their account credit, because once a supplier ceases trading, access to the web site is often denied and it can be difficult to prove how much credit you had.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          Should be all handled by Ofgem. I get a monthly statement so know almost exactly where if I stand, should mine go TU but would hope and expect it all to be handled.

          What is interesting is if S75 might be of help.

        • Polly says:

          Yes, we have £1.4K in peoples energy which we won’t see for several months. But it will go back to the bank ac, which is just fine.

    • Rui N. says:

      Yes, that what’s VC money does to your business, you don’t need to care whether the business proposition makes any sense or not.

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