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BA quirks: no ‘P’ class earning on Cathay Pacific, checking 241 availability for a ‘new’ voucher

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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:

Cathay Pacific earning on Qatar Airways

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.

quirk with the new British Airways Premium Plus 2-4-1 vouchers

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

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:

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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus 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.

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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (48)

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

  • Gingertravel says:

    Although I’ve never tried this, if booking for three, then doesn’t it make sense to book the standard single seat first, then follow up with a booking with the companion voucher (having first checked the extra availability by ticking the box!)

  • Joshrees says:

    How does the quirk of only seeing the additional seats work if you’re booking for an infant (under 2)?

    Would you lose this availability? And if you did book for two adults could you call and add the infant later?

    • Rob says:

      I would guess it is fine but easy to test.

      • Sundar says:

        Infants under 2 do not have a seat of their own, so it will show the needed 2 seat availability using the new voucher.

  • ajsadeh says:

    If you have 2 vouchers valid can you book for 4 people and still see the extra availability?

  • Kavajo says:

    It would be a great feature for Seat Spy or RFF to offet

  • Catherine Marks says:

    I presume this also applies if I’ve booked 2 seats Outbound as soon as dates become available on a 241 Voucher, then wait for the Return dates to become available at a later stage in order to combine the booking? Unless I have another voucher I won’t see the extra availability?

  • Chad McChadface says:

    HK might be opening up but P class will be the least of your worries with the what… 12 covid tests…. it’ll be P for Penny Bay.

    • John says:

      If you have a hotel room you will be allowed to stay there (as long as the government deems your room suitable at least).

  • numpty says:

    The extra award availability for the Amex voucher is actually a real benefit for booking in Biz class. Lack of Avios seats in F is a pity.

  • ADS says:

    “‘P’ class fares are not posting to British Airways accounts and HfP readers who complain are referred back to the website table above”

    there’s a serious culture problem in a company where they are shown to be doing something stupid, and they tell their customers to eff off (rather than just manually correcting the problem until they fix the IT)

    • Callum says:

      It’s pretty standard in large companies as the majority of low paid workers don’t seem to actually care about doing a good job.

      In a previous role I’d bring up quirks like this to management and make a case for why it needs to be changed (sometimes even making a plan of how to do it if they seemed reluctant). Not a single one of my colleagues would ever do the same and would simply say “computer says no” to the customer.

    • memesweeper says:

      There absolutely is a serious culture problem in BA, certainly in respect of IT issues. No-one in the company is listened to if they point out deficiencies, so staff very quickly stop bothering to report issues.

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

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