My email inbox is a decent guide to what is currently causing issues in the travel loyalty industry, and it’s also a way of teasing out problems which we hadn’t previously considered.
Over the last few weeks, three people have emailed me with the same question about the ‘new’ British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers.
I have no idea about the answer, so I’m turning it over to you in case you have solved the problem.
Amex changed the 2-4-1 companion vouchers last September
First, a quick recap.
The two British Airways American Express credit cards come with a ‘companion voucher’ when you hit an annual spending target. These vouchers allow you to book two Avios redemptions for the points of one, although full taxes and charges must be paid on both tickets.
Following changes last year, vouchers issued after 1st September 2021 work like this:
- BA Premium Plus American Express card – spend £10,000 in your card year and you receive a 2-4-1 companion voucher valid for 24 months (ie outbound flight to be taken within 24 months) on a flight in any cabin on British Airways
- Free BA American Express card – spend £12,000 in your card year and you receive a 2-4-1 companion voucher valid for 12 months (ie outbound flight to be taken within 12 months) on an Economy flight on British Airways
There was one other change made in 2021 …..
There was one other change made in September 2021 which I initially dismissed as being of zero value to 95% of our readers.
Previously, all travel using a 2-4-1 companion voucher had to start in the UK. This wasn’t unreasonable, given that the vouchers are only offered to UK residents.
This restriction has been removed on new vouchers. Your 2-4-1 trip can now start from anywhere.
The obvious beneficiary of this is anyone who is within easy reach of Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam etc. They could book a redemption flight which goes (Aberdeen home -) Dublin – London – Miami etc. This would save you £185 per person in Air Passenger Duty on a business class flight, albeit at the cost of getting to Dublin / Paris / Amsterdam and the extra Avios needed for the redemption.
It’s not something I would do with my family but it may work for some people, especially those who live outside London and were facing connecting flights anyway.
Here’s the question …..
Given that the 2-4-1 can be used to book flights starting outside the UK, there is another option available to you now.
You could book your return flight to the UK even if there is currently no Avios availability for the outbound flight.
It’s not an ideal situation, but you can see the attraction. You can lock in your return flight and then potentially set up a SeatSpy alert to let you know as soon as outbound flights come up.
However, is this possible?
Is it possible to add an extra flight, from a different country, IN FRONT of an existing flight?
There is no problem, at all, adding a flight to the BACK of an existing trip. Many, many HfP readers book their outbound 2-4-1 companion voucher flights as soon as the tickets come up (355 days before departure) and then call BA later to add the return when it is available.
Adding a flight to the front of an itinerary is different, however.
The taxes charged on your ticket may depend on the ‘point of sale’, eg the country where it is ticketed. Legally, a one-way flight from New York to London may be ticketed by BA in the US. If you tried to add a flight from London to New York in front of your New York to London flight, there may be issues with the original ticket.
Perhaps this isn’t a problem for BA in reality. Perhaps it is. I don’t know, and I don’t trust BA to know if I ask them.
Can you help?
So, the question to you, our readers, is this – have you successfully managed to add an outbound flight from the UK to an existing, already booked, inbound flight using a new-style American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher?
If so, were there any quirks with ticketing or reticketing, or with the way the taxes were worked out?
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)
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. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
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 10,000 Avios.
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.
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.
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.)