Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Got a British Airways eVoucher? You may be able to demand a cash refund

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

British Airways, perhaps in an attempt to see off legal action, has made a change to its policy on eVouchers for certain passengers.

Anyone who received an eVoucher for a cancelled flight between 9th March and 19th November 2020 can now insist that the airline refunds it in cash. has the details here.

This is because British Airways was deliberately encouraging people to take a voucher during this period, removing all online methods of requesting a – legally allowed – cash refund.

British Airways refunds of evouchers

Perhaps I’m being cynical, but British Airways seems to be making the process more complicated than is necessary.

For a start, you cannot cash in your eVoucher until two years from the date it was issued. This is a totally arbitrary rule as far as I can tell.

Secondly, it is important to note is that your flight must have been cancelled. If you voluntarily chose to take an eVoucher for a flight which was operating, you are not entitled to cash in your voucher.

(What is not clear is what happens if you voluntarily chose to take an eVoucher at a point when your flight was still operating, but the flight was later cancelled.)

Thirdly, anyone whose flight was cancelled after 19th November 2020 does not qualify. This is because:

“At the time of your flight being cancelled you would have been offered the choice of a refund through or an eVoucher for future travel. Prior to 19 November 2020 we couldn’t offer all the usual channels for a customer to request a refund.”

To be honest, I can’t remember how difficult it was to access a cash refund via after 19th November 2020. Let’s be honest – if you had gone on to and been give two options:

  • a full cash refund, straight into your bank account within a few days, or
  • a Future Travel Voucher which will expire in April 2023

….. I would assume 99% would have taken the cash. Were passengers really given the two options like this, side by side?

On the upside, for anyone who cannot cash in their eVoucher under these rules, British Airways eVouchers are fully transferable. If you don’t think you will be able to use it before 30th September 2023, you can always sell it to a friend or on eBay. The only snag is that you can’t use them to pay taxes and charges on Avios redemptions.

Intriguingly, if you used Avios to part-pay for your flight or to pay for seat reservations, BA is now saying that you will get your Avios back. The previous policy had been to refund the full original cash price (ie before you reduced it with Avios) and not return the points.

Anyone who booked via a travel agent or tour operator is not able to participate in this scheme. You must contact the company who handled your original booking.

You can find out more about cashing in your eVouchers on here.

PS. None of this has any impact on Avios bookings because no Avios bookings were refunded in the form of eVouchers. You would have received a Future Travel Voucher instead. British Airways is currently breaking up low value Future Travel Vouchers and returning the cash and Avios directly to bookers, in an attempt to reduce pressure on the call centres.

PPS. Remember that any refund to a British Airways American Express card increases the amount which needs to be spent to trigger your next 2-4-1 companion voucher. The ideal time to request a refund would be in the gap between triggering your current voucher and the end of your card year. If you don’t, you will need to spend more than you think to receive your next voucher because it requires £10,000 or £20,000 of NET spending.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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.

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

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable 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

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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (39)

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

  • Lady London says:

    Rob I can see in your wording that you’ve done your best to spare BA, at least for any novice reader, or readers that are not necessarily able to read between the lines. A very well crafted piece.

    You did wave a red flag for alert readers upfront “in an attempt to [avoid/dampen/confuse] legal action”. I admired the craft of your diplomatically putting “perhaps” in front of the words about legal action.

    You were fair, in pointing out that BA only being willing to give cash for vouchers they’ve withheld the cash value of, for more than already 2 years, is “arbitrary”.

    Just like BA’s arbitrary restriction of trying to restrict passenger choice of reroute dates to, say, 3 days before their flight BA cancelled or only up to 14 days after, is also “arbitrary” : invented by BA for their own convenience, in contravention of passengers’ rights.

    Putting “legal action” and “arbitrary date restriction” together gives the true picture.

    BA’s clearly trying to only give back passengers’ cash they illegally retained, in tranches that suit them. Hence refunding only small cash value FTV’s and still retaining FTV’s with large cash values. And now, willing to refund vouchers where they’ve kept the passenger’s money already for at least 2 years, at the risk of the passenger and without paying the passenger any interest.

    Why is BA refusing to allow vouchers to be used to pay ‘taxes’, which are mostly BA’s own (often exorbitant) charges kept by BA, and not taxes at all, on new avios bookings? The voucher contains cash the passenger had a right to have had refunded to them within 7 days of BA’s cancellation of their original flight. In many cases, BA would be judged in any fair trial to have refused to refund passengers the cash they had a right to and forced a voucher instead. So having denied passengers their cash, BA is refusing to accept its own instrument that they forced the passenger to take instead which contains…the passenger’s own cash.

    “You couldn’t make it up.” But BA did.

    I salute you Rob, it was an excellent fair article that said the truth but light handling of BA.

  • The Streets says:

    I had a Finnair flight using Avios which I cancelled and asked for a voucher. They processed and just redeposited the Avios and gave a full refund. Same happened for an Air France flight I booked with Virgin points. I’m wondering if this is normal for using airline points with other airlines or just got lucky

  • Pdah1980 says:

    Question for Lady London.. Before I ask can I just say I think you’re great and the advice you give is amazing.. But I’m curious.. Do you ever fly BA? Or do you avoid at all costs?

    • Londonsteve says:

      +1 her advice is invaluable, isn’t it?

    • Lady London says:

      Yes, and I skulk and hide when I fly BA and hope like h*ll no one hacks my IRL ID from HfP.

      I’m a bit unfair because as @Dougzz99 pointed out to me yesterday, BA is actually better on passengers’ rights and the occasional nicenesses done for passengers, than a whole lot of other airlines. But of course most of the cases we get on HfP are BA.

  • Simon says:

    I got some e-vouchers from flights that I part-paid with avios and cancelled in August 2021 (back when you could get 2p per avios). I used the vouchers for a flight that BA later cancelled. BA refunded me the cash portion of the cancelled flight and the (very small) cash component of the e-vouchers but did NOT refund the avios used to generate the e-vouchers. This seems to be a shitty hybrid between “old” and “new” policy.

    Any suggestions on the best way to get back the overall cost of the cancelled flight (ideal) or the avios contained in the e-vouchers (less ideal)? I tried calling BA, spent 4 hours on the call in total where they said they’d refund the avios, but that was a week ago and no sign as of yet…

  • ChrisC says:

    “(What is not clear is what happens if you voluntarily chose to take an eVoucher at a point when your flight was still operating, but the flight was later cancelled.)”

    If the flight was due to operate when you voluntarilarily took the voucher what does it matter that the flight was cancelled later?

    What matters is its status when you cancelled not what happened later.

    • Lady London says:


      If you were still booked on the flight when it was cancelled you have the statutory rights which go beyond and supersede anything the airline says, if what the airline says is less, or more restricted than, what a governing statute would give you.

      If you took advantage of something BA offered you, eg BWC or any other feature of BA’s terms and conditions, to move or cancel or do anything else with the flight or your booking so that you were no longer on a flight at the time it was cancelled then you have to live with what you voluntarily switched to. If what you switched to doesn’t then have the airline cancel a flight (any) on it, then you have to live with what the airline offers or what’s in the ts and cs you bought under.

      • Rob says:

        Whilst obviously true my question was more about whether BA’s IT is that good if you request a refund.

  • Candice says:

    Can anybody offer advice please:

    I booked IB flights using a gift card last March for late Jan 2022.

    IB cancelled my flights and only offered a voucher or rebooking. They had auto rebooked me on an earlier flight that I would not have made so I requested a cash refund as the flight number was new not just a schedule change that they claimed it was.

    The agent agreed that the flight was a new flight number and agreed the refund and asked me for my card details. I said that I had paid using a gift card and he said that in that case a new gift card would be emailed within 24 hours valid for a year. I said I thought that I would be entitled to a cash refund per EC261 and that if it was going to be a gift card then I’d like to rethink rebooking at a later date but he had already cancelled the booking. There was a bit of a language barrier during the discussion of my options but once I realised they would not refund in cash it was too late as the agent had already pressed the cancel button!

    The problem was the funds were applied to the original giftcard with expiry March 2022 and not a new gift card that he had suggested would be emailed to me separately. I phoned back a few weeks later as I’d been on holiday and thought there was just a backlog in sending out the new gift card via email and the agent I spoke to was the rudest agent I’ve even had the misfortune to talk to! However, I then realised that the funds had been re-applied to the original ‘spent’ gift card.

    The original giftcard was totally used up so I never checked up on it as the agent who cancelled the booking clearly said that a new one would be emailed to me separately!

    I feel that I used the original giftcard within the timeframe and would have flown on the flight I booked so why should I be left with a giftcard with less than 2 months validity?

  • ChasP says:

    Still compares poorly with Virgin who immediately offered an upgrade voucher if you took an open ticket rather than a refund and promised a full refund if you later changed your mind before rebooking

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Refunds to your BA AmEx card don’t increase the amount you have to spend from £10k or £20k to that sum PLUS any refunds… simply means you have to spend that refunded sum, again………..and not have it refunded.

    • IanT says:

      Rob clearly made the point that it’s £10k or £20k NET spend (ie after any refunds are taken into account), which is entirely correct.

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

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.