Two quick pieces, with British Airways ideosyncracies in common!
Cathay Pacific ‘P’ class business fares do not earn Avios or tier points
Back in 2020, during the pandemic, Cathay Pacific added ‘P’ class tickets to their range of business class fares.
This was an intermediate business class fare – more expensive than ‘I’ class, which is the lowest possible business class tariff, but not fully flexible like a ‘J’ class ticket.
It generally takes a few weeks for partner airlines, such as British Airways, to update their earning tables to reflect new fare classes. For some reason, British Airways has never got around to it.
Clearly not many people from the UK have been flying Cathay Pacific in Business Class for the last two years. With Hong Kong now opening up, it is important that British Airways gets this fixed.
This is the current Cathay Pacific earning chart as shown on ba.com here:
As you can see, ‘P’ class earns nothing. It is clearly an oversight as cheaper ‘I’ class fares do earn Avios.
This isn’t a website error. ‘P’ class fares are not posting to British Airways accounts and HfP readers who complain are referred back to the website table above.
If you are booked on a Cathay Pacific ‘P’ class ticket, I suggest that you credit it to a Qatar Privilege Club account and earn Avios that way. The rate is identical to the Executive Club rate at 125% of miles flown as you can see below:
You can move the Avios from Qatar Privilege Club to your British Airways account by linking your BA and Qatar Airways accounts via the instructions in this article. The only snag here is that you won’t be able to get the tier points into your British Airways Executive Club account.
A quirk with the new British Airways Premium Plus 2-4-1 vouchers
In September 2021, British Airways and American Express launched an excellent new feature on the 2-4-1 companion voucher that comes with the British Airways Premium Plus credit card.
Vouchers issued after 1st September 2021 get access to improved British Airways business class availability.
Some people forget about this feature. You need to remember that you won’t see the improved availability unless you tick ‘use a companion voucher’ and select ‘2 passengers’ when searching. If you don’t select a voucher you will only be shown the standard availability in business class, which can be a lot worse.
You also need to remember that ‘flight search’ sites such as SeatSpy cannot see this extra availability. They can only track and report on standard business class Avios seats. To see the extra availability you need to search manually.
A couple of quirks have come up since September.
The first is potentially obvious but I know some people miss it. You can only book two tickets into the extra availability. If you tick ‘use a companion voucher’ and search for three or more seats, you will NOT be shown any of the extra availability in business class.
If you want to take advantage of the extra business class seating, you need to make your voucher booking for just one or two people. If a third person is travelling, you need to make a separate booking – which has issues for free seat selection if you have BA status – and hope that there is still a seat left from standard Avios availability. It’s a bit messy.
The second quirk is probably relevant to more people, and is something you are less likely to have thought about.
Once you have made a booking using a 2-4-1 companion voucher, there is no way of seeing which flights still have extra availability with ‘additional’ business class seats.
This can be a problem.
Imagine that you have booked seats for a Saturday using a new-style companion voucher. You would now like to swap to Sunday. How you can tell if there are additional Avios seats available for the Sunday?! Unless you have another unused companion voucher in your account, you can’t.
This should be relatively easy for British Airways to fix. It could be done via ‘Change My Booking’, with the system realising that the original used a new-style 2-4-1 and thus showing extra seats. There could also be a tick-box during the booking process to bring up the additional seating – this could be hidden for members who have never used a new-style companion voucher.
Whatever the solution is, British Airways should look at introducing something to help members out.
You can see the current BA Amex card features in our British Airways Premium Plus American Express review here and our free British Airways American Express review here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)
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:
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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
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.
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.