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GAME OVER: You can no longer extend 2-4-1 vouchers by claiming a Future Travel Voucher

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In October 2021, British Airways started expiring American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers again, after a number of pandemic extensions.

Luckily for Head for Points readers, we found a way to stop them expiring. You could book a random short haul flight using your voucher and immediately cancel it for a Future Travel Voucher.

This had the effect of ‘freezing’ your 2-4-1 voucher, allowing you to rebook for your choice of route at any point to 30th September 2023.

No more.

British Airways tailfins

You can no longer get a Future Travel Voucher for an Avios booking

British Airways has, with no notice, made two changes to Future Travel Vouchers.

The key one is that you can no longer get a Future Travel Voucher on an Avios booking. Your booking will be automatically refunded instead.

This is what you now see on if you request a Future Travel Voucher:

Extending 241 voucher via Future Travel Voucher

If you have a 2-4-1 coming up to expiry, use it or lose it

This change of policy means that there is now no way of protecting a companion voucher which is approaching expiry.

You need to start looking for somewhere to fly to, or accept that it is going to be lost.

On the upside, online Avios cancellations are now possible

There is some upside here, of course.

For the first time in almost two years, you can now cancel an Avios booking online without having to speak to the BA call centre.

This only applies to travel up to 30th September 2023, however.

‘Book With Confidence’ is extended to 30th September 2023

There is some other good news.

British Airways has extended its ‘Book With Confidence’ deadline to 30th September 2022.

Book with Confidence extended

The previous deadline was 31st August 2022. If you book any British Airways travel for completion by 30th September 2022, you can cancel it at any point for a Future Travel Voucher.

The voucher will act as credit against a new booking which must be made for travel by 30th September 2023. Your Future Travel Voucher will be sent as an eVoucher, as there won’t be any Avios element, meaning that you can use it online at without having to call.


To summarise these changes:

  • If you have a 2-4-1 companion voucher coming up for expiry, it now appears to be too late to artificially extend it by turning it into a Future Travel Voucher. This game is over.
  • There is good news for everyone else – you can now cancel Avios redemption bookings online again, at least for travel before 30th September 2023, and the ‘Book With Confidence’ guarantee has been pushed out to 30th September, allowing you to book cash tickets for travel in September with no worries.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2023)

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

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

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 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 (208)

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

  • meta says:

    The supposedly online refund for reward flights is nothing like it used to be pre-pandemic. It’s the same form as for FTVs and the Avios are not in your account immediately. It’s a joke.

  • Richard says:

    I’ll lose 2 I just didn’t get round to doing anything with and expire in next few months. Shame but tbh not overly fussed as I have access to 3 more, soon a Barclays upgrade voucher, likely a Barclaycard upgrade voucher in 12 months and got £1800 of eVouchers to use up by Sept 23! BA have been generous with extensions and its the first time in 20yrs I’ve lost vouchers so not the end of the world.

  • Freddy says:

    I’ll probably lose 2 but I was struggling to find much availability anyway. This will just push me to cash out to nectar earlier than expected

  • Stuart says:

    Just reading this thread, booked First to NYC using 2-4-1s in October 2020 in the 50% off Avios sale to go in May 2021 – this got cancelled in March 2021, I rebooked in March 2021 for August 2021 and again this was cancelled. After speaking with British Airways they couldn’t rebook me on any flight to NYC after March 2022 due to the rules of the ticket so I have had to pay extra Avios and some cash due to change in taxes to go in August this year but having to go business due to no avios availability in First.
    However after reading this thread today and few mentions of EU261 which says:
    c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.
    Should I have been able to change the cancelled flight from August last year to August this year without any extra cost and still in First.
    If so is my first port of call getting back on the phone to BA or making a claim?

    • NorthernLass says:

      Too late now as you’ve accepted their changes 😔

      • Stuart says:

        To be fair I haven’t really accepted it. I was forced to do it as told no other option.

        • Mike says:

          Stuart – don’t be ridiculous no one forced you to accept their offer.

      • Sean says:

        But yes – you should have been able to change.

    • Mike says:

      Stuart – it would appear you didn’t know, understand, or research your consumer rights in either Mar 21 or Aug 21. It is too late now to say now you would have preferred a better offer, as you accepted the offer made by BA.

      • meta says:

        Technically you could pursue BA if they never presented you with the option as the EU261 mentions in several places that the airline must inform you. Article 15 strikes me as very significant (see below).

        However, you would need to have proof such as recording of the phone call which will most likely prove problematic.

        Article 15

        Exclusion of waiver

        1. Obligations vis-à-vis passengers pursuant to this Regulation may not be limited or waived, notably by a derogation or restrictive clause in the contract of carriage.

        2. If, nevertheless, such a derogation or restrictive clause is applied in respect of a passenger, or if the passenger is not correctly informed of his rights and for that reason has accepted compensation which is inferior to that provided for in this Regulation, the passenger shall still be entitled to take the necessary proceedings before the competent courts or bodies in order to obtain additional compensation

        • StillintheSun says:

          Meta thank you for this post. I received BA’s CEDR defence to my claim attempting to restrict rebooking rights by virtues of their conditions of carriage. Undoubtedly contrary to Article 15. Thus your post has saved me a lot of leg work!

      • Lady London says:

        Well BA is legally obliged to make you aware of your legal rights, ie all your options and not just the ones that suit BA, I believe at the point when they cancel. They failed to do so which is a breach that led you to accept a worse outcome because BA misrepresented or failed to inform you of your rights.

        The trouble is BA did this but it makes it so much harder to fight and recover the choice you should have had. Theoretically you should be able to (you could start bg exercising your Data Subject Access Rights to request a copy of the phone call where you were misled by BA) but I have never heard of anyone having won such a case (or even trying, which is why BA keeps doing it)

        This is why I always say don’t accept any interim refund from BA not even partial – because every little chance you give BA to say you agreed to less than you hadba right to, they wilk take. Then it becomes a much harder fight as in your case.

    • Lady London says:

      Wait till a bit nearer thw time and call them advise you will need to replan (for a 2 month trip I can imagine you’d have a lot to replan) a later date and will get back to them when you have done so.

      Then when you can see all the flights you want available to book for cash arkund 355 days ahead includung the return – call and give the new dates. Try it yourself in MMB online first as it did use to work online for some people. You only get 1 go and must rebook everyrhing at the sane time but you defo don’t need avios seats. Any seat being sold for cash in your cabin you have a right to.

      Strictly speakibg you don’t have to tell them you won’t be using the offered flights in MMB so long as you don’t accept them and let the date go past then just call when ready with your new dates but I always like to be courteous.

      Plenty of people can only travel at certain times of the year or need to travel only in some seasons particularly for a longhaul trip. So nothing wrong in similar time next year sounds reasonable

      If BA refuses you will win if you follow the steps on here start action promptly and there is well enough tine for CEDR or MCOL so you shoukd get your new tickets in good time. The law – EU261 / UK261 is fully in your side and BA and other airlines are aware of what they are obliged to provide However sadly, having to follow a procedure to overcome their refusal is a well worn path

    • Lady London says:

      Stuart you might still havre a chance at 75% reimburse.ent of what you paid for first, for involuntary downgrade on each leg, after you’ve flown it. It depends how it was done. How was it done? Could be worth your requesting a copy of the call recording.

      • Stuart says:

        After the cancellation in August last year I called You First and tried to switch the flights to August next year. I was told as my ticket was already a rebooking that the terms and conditions only allowed a change within a year of the date I rebooked the ticket which was the March. I had all the dates I wanted to travel in August this year at hand and was told couldn’t on that ticket. The told me the only option to get August this year was to cancel, take the FTV and then rebook but it would cost the extra Avios and difference in fees and their had to be availability which their wasn’t in first so hence me rebooking in business.

        • Lady London says:

          Stuart they made you make a new booking which sgsin makes it hardee to fight. Absolutely possiblr for you to exercise your right to get a copy of the call orvcalls where you edre misled, lied to and your rights illegally denied. You could then push through MCOL, ior CEDR if you like more risk. But they’vebgainedvgroundvrequiring more persistence and a very thorough case from you. I think you’d win but BA and other airlines rely on wearing you down by barrier after barrier and then making a case stickier (but not impossible although it takes more grit) by these little entrapments.

      • GS says:

        I had a 75% downgrade claim from last Oct from F to CW. They had changed the aircraft for the entire route and there was no F cabin at all, so nothing I could have done. Was advised to fill in the customer relations complaint form. Eventually had a response in Jan to say they would just refund the difference in Avios as the downgrade occurred “months in advance of the flight” they would not honour the 75%. I wasn’t aware of a time limit? Best route forward now?

        • Lady London says:

          Not correct. You still have time to claim. Search “involuntary downgrade” or “75%” or just “downgrade” on site: or take a look in the Flight Changes and Cancellations category in the forum. Folliw the steps you will win. Airline is defo lying open and shut case.

  • Rich says:

    I had an issue that needed resolving and hasn’t been for months by customer services or BAEC so wrote to Sean Doyle, got a response by phone within days and all satisfactorily resolved.

    I then got into a brief conversation with the BA staff member about vicious circles, that the FTVs were causing massive issues and he actually said how they were set up was not fit for purpose.

  • Kim says:

    Trying to get my head around my rights before I ring BA to make changes to an upcoming flight. I have read the rules but still getting confused.

    We have flights to SIN booked for April – return in June using 2 for 1 voucher and a FTV from a previous bookings. The 2 for 1 was originally due to expire in April 22. I hope I am right in thinking I wont lose this voucher If change my booking?
    BA have cancelled both the outbound & return flights but have booked us on alternative flights on the same dates. We have not accepted these changes as we know we need to cancel.

    I understand I am now covered by EU 261 – what I need to know is whether I can push these flights on a full year even though the schedules are not available? Otherwise if I booked the outward for Feb 23 can I then add the return when the date enters the schedules? Am I also right in thinking there does not have to be 2 for 1 Avios availability showing for these new flights?
    If this isn’t right can I change to a different route without losing my voucher?
    Thank you!!

    • LS says:

      This is debatable. BA are giving you same flights on the same day, so in my view are being ‘reasonable’. However this is not what UK 261 says, it says you can rebook at your choice. But one year out is a very long way, and there is no specific time limit mentioned in UK261, which will mean what a judge feels is ‘reasonable’. 10 years clearly would not be reasonable. 1 year could be reasonable in some cases (BA stopping all flights until 1 year after your flights), but not in others (BA offering you flights on the same day, the flights 1 year later being at premium times, etc). I suspect you might be pushing it given BA were offering flights on the same day as your cancellation. I certainly would not aim for more than 365 days in any circumstances. If I were you, I would escalate to CEDR (free, so doesnt matter if you lose), claiming the cost of full replacement flights and see what they say. If you cancel you still get your avios back (but admittedly lose 2-4-1).

  • Sean says:

    yes you are correct re your rights – BUT BA will tell you you are wrong!! Your decision what to do from there on in.

  • ChrisM says:

    Apologies if I have missed this on the thread, but can I just check my understanding? I have a AMEX 241 reward flight booked, for end of May, which I need to cancel – am I correct in assuming I’ll get the voucher back to my exec club account (it was valid until December this year) plus the avios I used when using the Amex Voucher, and possibly the taxes paid (less an admin fee?) – all done via the link at the start of this thread? Thanks in advance!

    • Rob says:

      Yes, assuming you see the same screen as I showed in the article.

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