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British Airways ‘Gold Upgrade’ vouchers are now valid on American Airlines

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In a small improvement to the Executive Club programme, British Airways has announced that Gold Upgrade for Two and Gold Upgrade for One vouchers can now be used on American Airlines.

Before we go into the details, let’s run over how these vouchers work.

  • If you earn 2,500 British Airways Executive Club tier points in your membership year, you receive a ‘Gold Upgrade For Two’ voucher, known as a GUF2 in the trade
  • If you earn 3,500 Tier Points you will also receive 2 x ‘Gold Upgrade For One’ (GUF1) vouchers, which can be used for yourself on two trips or for yourself plus a companion on one booking
British Airways 'Gold Upgrade' vouchers now valid on American Airlines

The GUF vouchers let you upgrade a British Airways cash or Avios ticket by one class (more details on here).

Irrespective of whether you book a cash or Avios seat, you can upgrade it to the next category as long as there is either:

  • Avios availability in the higher cabin, or
  • ‘A’ cash tickets for sale in First Class, ‘I’ cash tickets for sale in Club World or ‘T’ cash tickets for sale in World Traveller Plus

All of the flights on your booking are upgraded, including any domestic connections. You can apply a GUF voucher at any point – it does not need to be used at the time of booking.

American Airlines GUF2 Gold Upgrade vouchers

Gold Upgrade vouchers can now be used on American Airlines

You can now use your GUF2 and GUF1 vouchers on American Airlines, although there are three catches:

  • the vouchers can only be used on American Airlines if the booking contains a transatlantic sector. You can use it for a domestic American Airlines flight as long as it is a connection to a transatlantic service.
  • you cannot upgrade an American Airlines reward flight, only a cash booking
  • you cannot upgrade an Economy booking to Premium Economy
  • your American Airlines ticket needs to have been issued by British Airways, which means that your ticket number will start 125-

Because AA has different fare categories to BA, you will need ‘C’ class tickets to be for sale in Business Class in order to process the upgrade. First Class continues to require ‘A’ availability.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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.

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.

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 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 (35)

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

  • Stu314 says:

    “One sweet spot would be on American Airlines long-haul flights without a Premium Economy cabin, which I think means the Airbus A330-300, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets. These flights would let you upgrade directly from Economy to Business Class using a GUF voucher.”

    Except they don’t operate any A330, 757 or 767 anymore.

    • Bimbo says:

      Exactly, Rob’s knowledge of aircraft is a bit lacking.

      Correction for anyone else: upgrades from economy to business/first is possible on their A321s and 737s planes.

      • Bimbo says:

        And on the American Eagle fleet, as they don’t have premium economy.

  • Joe says:

    That BA continues to withhold F award space is a promise not kept. This opens an opportunity . . . but the in-flight experience is simply not the same.

    • Chaz says:

      What promise? I don’t recall BA ever saying they were going to make F award space available.

  • ChrisC says:

    Are you able to use a GUF on a BA holidays booking?

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      Yes indeed. I find the best use of a GUF2 is to book a PE Holiday package and use the voucher. Generally the Taxes on these are around +£120pp also, so not like using a 241 whereby you get stung for upwards of £800pp.

  • VerdantBacon says:

    Considering AA J somehow manages to be a worse experience than BA J, this change doesn’t really do much

    • Yarki says:

      Disagree, I find the AA J seat to be superior to CW and meals on par.

      • Jacob says:

        I echo this. On my recent trips I deliberately switched to AA flights as the experience has been much much better than with BA sadly.

        • Nick says:

          Agreed, sadly. AA longhaul has transformed in recent years, even the food is good now. A nice trick I learnt a while back is to use the AA flights LHR-RDU and connect there. I actually really like their 777 business seats, particularly the rear-facing ones, and while the only usual downside of AA is the unpredictable crews, the Raleigh-based ones are without exception a delight. Average age 55, they grew up with proper Southern hospitality and service is in their blood. Tell them what you’re drinking when you board and if you’re awake you won’t have an empty glass.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Raleigh-Durham was my first ever international flight (too) many years ago! Was a great experience back then even down the back – actually my main memory as an starry-eyed young squirrel was amazement at getting steak for dinner on a plane in economy (you can tell how many years ago that was then 😀 ) … and it even being not as terrible as you’d think.

          • Ziggy says:

            Agree entirely that AA’s 777 business class seats are (mostly) very good, but I’m reasonably sure that none of AA’s 777 have rear-facing seats.

      • ChrisC says:

        Yes I think AA much better.

        Food is better and they serve it as courses rather than on one tray and you can select your main from 30 days to the day before your flight and there is usually an extra dish that isn’t on the on plane menu. – things BA still don’t do.

        It’s the small things that make a difference.

      • Paul says:

        The AA seat was for a long time better than BA but as I haven’t flown BA J for 4 years I can’t comment on how if measures up to the BA suite with a door.
        I have preferred AA catering though hands down. They allow booking in advance, I have never been told they don’t have something and they know how to cook a steak. Something BA can’t do.

        Their Ice Cream Sundae is worth the switch on its own

    • JC says:

      AA J ie business class long haul presently has far superior food and drinks to BA. Some posters clearly haven’t flown for quite some time!

      • Alan says:

        East Coast overnight I don’t bother eating anyway, priority for me is sleep and eat at lounge before departure and on arrival!

    • Alan says:

      I found AA seats to be excellent. The downside is lack of EU261 cover coming eastbound – I ended up with an 8h delay with zero support or compensation from AA.

      • Steve says:

        Given BA’s current behaviour and unwillingness to follow EU261 rules, then there doesn’t appear to be a real drawback to flying AA.

        • Paul says:

          While not for a moment doubting that BAs behaviour has been scandalous, and I can vouch for this from first hand experience. My February claim, involving 2 cancellations on the same day, did result in BA paying out EU261 on both cancelled flight for both passengers. Over £840 on 2 club class avios tickets from SZG. Obtaining my addition fare and taxi costs did take a strongly worded email but the final £1300 bill was paid last week.

      • ChrisC says:

        Only somethign like 2% of flights qualify for either compensation or duty of care provisions so it’s not a factor for a lot of people. I’d rather be on a plane with a good seat and good food than on one with worse seats and food simply because of a small change of a delay and getting some compo.

        With US airlines the general rule is that they will offer assistance (hotels etc) when it’s their fault but not for things like weather.

        • ChrisC says:

          chance of a delay not change of a delay!

        • Alan says:

          Sadly not in my experience – we were kept in the terminal the whole night, eventually leaving at 7am. AA seats the same as Club Suites anyway and I don’t care about food on overnight eastbound flight as I just want to sleep (and will have eaten in the lounge) so the only remaining difference is having proper EU261 cover.

    • dougzz99 says:

      Also disagree. AA seat if good and at the moment food much better.

  • Julia says:

    “the vouchers can only be used on American Airlines if the booking contains a transatlantic sector”

    Where does it say in the T&C’s?

    • Rob says:

      It doesn’t – but it was in the email BAEC sent me. Can you even book a domestic stand alone ticket as a 125- on BA stock?

      • dougzz99 says:

        No. BA only sell AA if it includes transatlantic. The question gets asked a lot on FT with people looking to book BA codeshares on AA without transatlantic, trying to get the 4 flights for BAEC status.

        • Nick says:

          BA doesn’t have traffic rights (cabotage) for domestic sectors in the US so couldn’t sell them even if they wanted to. Open skies is heavily stilted to favour US airlines as they did get the right to sell standalone flights in Europe – but in reality they all decided voluntarily not to do so in the end.

  • iSub says:

    Are those thresholds reduced by 25% this year? I’m finding mixed messages online? I’ve about 2100 TPs at the mo and wondering if it worth making a push for GGL etc

    • ChrisC says:

      No. For earning the GUFs and GGL the thresholds weren’t reduced.

      • iSub says:

        Ah, good to know! Thanks ChrisC!

      • Will says:

        Specifically about the GGL threshold, I’ve read this has been reduced to 3750 until Dec 31st. Is this incorrect?

        • Cheshire Pete says:

          GGL renewals are reduced un tip end of year, it even says this in my BA online account with a message about it. Not sure about new members being 5000 has been reduced however.

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

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