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BIG NEWS: the BA Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher has been improved (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of our coverage today on the changes to the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher.

(Which, for the reasons we explained in Part 1 – click here – should not really be called a 2-4-1 companion voucher any longer, because it is now also a great deal for solo travellers.)

I am less certain about the value of the second change, however, although it may have its uses.

changes to the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher

As a reminder, here are the two changes:

  • BA Amex change #1: The companion voucher can now be used by a solo traveller to get a 50% discount on the cost of an Avios redemption (covered in Part 1 of this article)
  • BA Amex change #2: You can now mix the percentage of Avios and cash used (covered below)

Remember that these changes only apply to 2-4-1 companion vouchers issued after 1st September 2021. These vouchers are different to older vouchers because:

If you only have ‘old style’ vouchers on your account, nothing you are about to read will apply to you. You will need to wait until your next voucher is issued.

changes to the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher

You can now mix and match the Avios and cash element when you redeem a 2-4-1 voucher

As most readers will know, whilst there is still a ‘standard’ Avios redemption chart – you can see the HfP version by clicking here – BA offers a variety of prices when you book a redemption.

In general, when you try to book with Avios on BA flights, you will see:

  • the Avios cost as per the HfP redemption chart, which is what 2-4-1 companion vouchers price off
  • a couple of options letting you use fewer Avios but more cash
  • a couple of options letting you use more Avios but less cash

In general, the option which is best value is usually the middle one, ie the one which prices off the historic Avios redemption chart.

Amex vouchers used to give you no flexibility to mix and match the cash and Avios elements

This was not the case when you used a BA Amex companion voucher, however.

The ONLY Avios price you were offered was the one showing on this chart. If you looked at New York in Business Class on an off-peak date, the cost was 100,000 Avios for two people with a 2-4-1 voucher, plus the taxes and charges.

You can now mix cash and Avios – but do the maths

It is now possible to ‘mix and match’ cash and Avios. The results can be horrendous but can also be acceptable.

Here is an example to New York. This is for two people in Business Class on an off-peak date:

changes to the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher

Your options are:

  • 100,000 Avios + £1,688
  • 90,000 Avios + £2,168
  • 75,000 Avios + £2,708
  • 65,000 Avios + £3,168
  • 57,500 Avios + £3,368
  • 50,000 Avios + £3,568

Note that there are no options to use more Avios and less cash. All you can do is use fewer Avios and pay more cash.

This is really, really bad if you don’t take the 100,000 Avios option.

  • The 90,000 Avios option means paying £500 to save 10,000 Avios – you are ‘paying’ 5p per Avios!
  • The 75,000 Avios option means paying £1,020 to save 25,000 Avios – you are ‘paying’ 4.1p per Avios!
  • The 65,000 Avios option means paying £1,480 to save 35,000 Avios – you are ‘paying’ 4.2p per Avios!
  • The 57,500 Avios option means paying £1,680 to save 42,500 Avios – you are ‘paying’ 3.9p per Avios!
  • The 50,000 Avios option means paying £1,880 to save 50,000 Avios – you are ‘paying’ 3.8p per Avios!

There is no reason, at all, why you should do this. For a start, you can buy up to 150,000 Avios directly on ba.com for 1.6p each, so why would you want to pay up to 5p by choosing one of these options?!

It’s not all bad though.

Here is a short haul flight (Club Europe to Hamburg) where the other options are, whilst not great, not terrible either:

changes to the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher

Your options are:

  • 30,000 Avios + £2
  • 28,500 Avios + £18
  • 23,500 Avios + £50
  • 17,000 Avios + £100 – this is the ‘old’ 2-4-1 price
  • 13,000 Avios + £170
  • 10,500 Avios + £250

In this case, the ‘old’ option is probably still the best. However, I wouldn’t shout at you if you chose any of the others.

The way I work it out is to assume that I value an Avios at 1p. In this scenario, the six pricing scenarios above work out at:

  • £302
  • £303
  • £285
  • £270 – this is the ‘old’ 2-4-1 price
  • £300
  • £355

It still makes sense to go with the ‘old style’ option if you want the best value, but the other options are not far off if you are looking to conserve cash or Avios.

Conclusion

The ability for solo travellers to use a British Airways 2-4-1 companion voucher to book a flight for one person for a 50% Avios discount is a game changer. We can’t argue with that.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be updating some of our British Airways American Express coverage and calculations to reflect this new option.

We need to spend a bit more time looking at the new options for mixing cash and Avios. From what I’ve seen so far, it won’t make you any better off if you have ample cash and ample Avios, but for anyone who is restricted on one of these elements it might be worth mixing and matching. Do your maths though.

Learn more about the American Express and Barclaycard Avios-earning credit cards:

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 card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

Comments (49)

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

  • ADS says:

    And the alternative Avios / Cash combinations may well be different if you phone up BA !

    I recently phoned BA to book a simple Aer Lingus avios flight, and since the numbers were different, I told the agent I would have to call her back after doing the maths. She wasn’t overly impressed !

    • NorthernLass says:

      You can’t use the 241 on Aer Lingus so I wouldn’t expect to see the same numbers – different airlines have different award charts as well.

      • ADS says:

        I was trying to make a more general point that Avios/Cash combinations are often different between what appears on the website, and what you are offered when phoning up.

        It wouldn’t be surprising if the same happened with 2-4-1 bookings.

  • Derek Scott says:

    I’ve just used one of my vouchers for the Solo option (and in the process, triggered my next Prem Plus voucher this early in the year thanks to a new Kitchen part Amex’d earlier)!! It’s a great new option although booking at the edge of new availability, I did come across a couple of weird glitches….

    When trying to look EDI-LHR-SAN return 1-6th June, the return date kept coming up no availability for Club on Inbound , even though the Reward Availability pages were showing there was.

    I managed to get around that by selecting 1 day earlier for the return, then opt for inbound stopover before connecting onto Domestic. Once got flight pages, I changed the start and end dates on the date tabs to the dates I actually wanted, to remove the stopover element and it worked fine… (thought it may throw up an error later in the booking, but it all went through fine).

    So, sometimes, perseverance wins, and a great deal that should let me sample ClubSuite for the 2nd time

  • Susie says:

    With a 241 voucher can I use an eVoucher to pay the taxes

    • Rob says:

      No, annoyingly.

      • Susie says:

        Thank you. I was confused as I booked first flights to Vancouver, cash, on the 11th May, but had to cancel on the 20th May. BA refunded the fare minus £630 cancellation fees. When I enquired as I thought it was under “book with confidence” and could cancel free. They then gave me an eVoucher for £630. Was this correct.

        • Rob says:

          Yes, that’s how it worked as of 11th May, unless you’d booked a fully refundable ticket of course.

  • Alex says:

    Hi All. Are you able to use the new vouchers on a 50% avois discount for someone in your household account vs yourself

    • Rob says:

      No. Cardholder must travel.

      You can book for someone else with a Barclaycard Avios Mastercard upgrade voucher but not a BA Amex voucher.

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

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