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  • yonasl 953 posts

    We all know this is not true but this is what my OH got when she asked to cancel her Amex BAPP:

    – If you have earned a British Airways Companion Voucher, please be aware that
    Companion Voucher bookings must be made using the British Airways Card they were earned with. This is set in the Terms and Conditions on the Companion Voucher.
    Cancelling this Account may mean you are unable to redeem your Companion
    Voucher until you are holding any personal basic card.
    Finally, please remember that by cancelling your Card you will no longer be able to collect Avios. In addition any Avios collected in your BA American Express Card Account not yet transferred to your BA
    Executive Club Account will be forfeited.

    So you won’t be able to use the voucher if it is not with the card you got it with.

    Immediately followed by: you will need to use any “personal card”

    We have a Sub for my account at her name I was planning on using if necessary but I am well aware BA doesn’t really (cannot?) check the card is “yours” or a sub anyway.

    For those scanning the Amex t&c in more detail than I ever had. Is the info from CS misleading to what degree?

    Alex G 435 posts

    Amex have always said this. It doesn’t happen in practice. Once your voucher is in your Exec Club account, it will stay there. You need to use an Amex card – any old Amex card – to pay the fees.

    zapato1060 628 posts

    Its not definitively that nothing will happen. T&Cs state if you cancel BAPP then they can cancel the 241. If using a downgraded BA Blue then its fine. No word of a 241 cancellation happening but T&Cs are there stating it could but very unlikely.

    R76 24 posts

    I’d say that the original boilerplate text, provided by some Amex higher-up, has been modified along the way to you. There’s no way the phrase “any personal basic card” emanated from Amex officialdom – and “until you are holding” isn’t idiomatic in the Standard British style used by the rest of the text, though of course it’s perfectly correct in many other variants of English.

    So I think what you have received here is a local attempt to “fix” a perceived problem with the boilerplate… which as you note, has led to a contradiction.

    It’s very widely believed here that downgrading to the free BA card is officially OK, whereas not having either of the BA cards is officially dodgy but in practice fine. But can anyone point me to where in the T&Cs it says that? The version I’ve found is https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/offers/terms-and-conditions/amex-companion, which don’t seem to address the question except to say that the fees and charges must be paid using (any) Amex card.

    ed_fly 207 posts

    I’d say that the original boilerplate text, provided by some Amex higher-up, has been modified along the way to you. There’s no way the phrase “any personal basic card” emanated from Amex officialdom – and “until you are holding” isn’t idiomatic in the Standard British style used by the rest of the text, though of course it’s perfectly correct in many other variants of English.

    So I think what you have received here is a local attempt to “fix” a perceived problem with the boilerplate… which as you note, has led to a contradiction.

    It’s very widely believed here that downgrading to the free BA card is officially OK, whereas not having either of the BA cards is officially dodgy but in practice fine. But can anyone point me to where in the T&Cs it says that? The version I’ve found is https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/offers/terms-and-conditions/amex-companion, which don’t seem to address the question except to say that the fees and charges must be paid using (any) Amex card.

    ‘1. You can only receive a Companion Voucher if you are a Member of the British Airways Executive Club and are the main Account holder within a British Airways American Express Card Account (a “Cardmember”).’

    ‘28. Cardmembers must remain eligible for this promotion at the time of travel. British Airways and American Express reserve the right to refuse to issue or honour any Companion Voucher in the event that the Cardmember is in breach of the terms of the British Airways American Express Card or the British Airways Executive Club membership.’

    I believe these are the t&c’s typically considered to imply that you need to hold a BA card for the voucher to be remain officially ‘safe’.

    R76 24 posts

    Thank you! I’ve no idea how I missed the crucial wording… it’s literally item 1.

    Scott 240 posts

    I’ve don’t understood why there’s a belief that since Amex changed the T&Cs to indicate ‘an’ (rather than ‘the’) Amex must be used to pay the fees, there is still a need to hold a BA Amex, and the post directly above doesn’t clarify it for me.

    Clause (1) states that only the main BAPP cardholder can receive a voucher.

    Clause (28) states you must remain eligible for the promotion at time of travel. but nowhere does it define “eligible”, so why is there an assumption that it means you have to hold a BA Amex? To me that simply means you must not have breached any other term, e.g. an event of fraud.

    JDB 4,360 posts

    @Scott – it’s quite clear that you cannot be eligible for a companion voucher of either sort if you don’t hold any BA Amex so you cannot be eligible for the promotion. Whether it’s enforced or not is a different issue.

    Froggee 898 posts

    @JDB how is it quite clear?

    I promise I’m not trolling and I genuinely don’t mind if you make me look stupid – just so I can finally understand this!

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    Isn’t there something in the Ts and Cs about being “a member of the programme”, i.e. holding an avios-earning card?

    Whatever the case, if a BA agent thinks you’re not complying with the Ts and Cs, they won’t process your booking, and have even been known to cancel non-compliant ones. Online bookings get round this because the system can’t tell what kind of Amex you’re using or what name is on it.

    Alex G 435 posts

    Isn’t there something in the Ts and Cs about being “a member of the programme”, i.e. holding an avios-earning card?

    Whatever the case, if a BA agent thinks you’re not complying with the Ts and Cs, they won’t process your booking, and have even been known to cancel non-compliant ones. Online bookings get round this because the system can’t tell what kind of Amex you’re using or what name is on it.

    And if you make a booking over the phone, BA don’t know what type of Amex you are using, or who it belongs to. For recent telephone bookings, BA have just used the card stored against my account, and I have entered the PIN using my phone keypad.

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    They don’t, as long as you don’t tell them. Hence I said, “If the agent thinks” …

    Scott 240 posts

    @Scott – it’s quite clear that you cannot be eligible for a companion voucher of either sort if you don’t hold any BA Amex so you cannot be eligible for the promotion. Whether it’s enforced or not is a different issue.

    As Frogee said, I don’t understand why you/others think this is quite clear. Yes, you need to hold a BA Amex to receive a voucher (i.e. in your own name, you cannot receive one though being a supplementary cardholder), however, how do you get from this to the contention that you have to continue holding a BA Amex to comply with Clause (28) [unfortunate naming!] ?


    @NorthernLass
    re “Isn’t there something in the Ts and Cs about being “a member of the programme”, i.e. holding an avios-earning card?” – the only thing I can see is Clause (1) mentioned above, which relates to receiving the voucher, it doesn’t stipulate it as a requirement for using the voucher. Also the “membership” it refers to is the BA Exec Club, rather than holding an Amex.

    [Edit] – just to clarify, I’m not looking to cheat the system, I genuinely can’t work out why folk are saying that it’s necessary to hold some sort of BA Amex as per the T&C’s

    ed_fly 207 posts

    Isn’t there something in the Ts and Cs about being “a member of the programme”, i.e. holding an avios-earning card?

    Whatever the case, if a BA agent thinks you’re not complying with the Ts and Cs, they won’t process your booking, and have even been known to cancel non-compliant ones. Online bookings get round this because the system can’t tell what kind of Amex you’re using or what name is on it.

    And if you make a booking over the phone, BA don’t know what type of Amex you are using, or who it belongs to. For recent telephone bookings, BA have just used the card stored against my account, and I have entered the PIN using my phone keypad.

    this is a total red herring. The t&c’s are now clear ‘ All Taxes, Fees and Charges must be paid for using an American Express Card.’ no requirement for payment to be made by a BA card, or indeed an Amex in your name. Just an Amex.

    With regard to needing to be a ‘Cardmember’ at time of travel. Personally, I don’t think it’s clear. Especially compared with other terms which are explicit. But I’m not a legal expert (and have no plans to ditch my BAPP).

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    I was asking, as I seem to recall that this was specified at one time. A red herring is something which is intentionally misleading, and why on earth would I want to do that?

    Regardless of all this, though, the point is that if you end up in an argument over the Ts and Cs with a BA phone agent, you risk losing the seats you are trying to book, so it’s not worth drawing attention to it. People come on here all the time to complain that they have lost arguments with BA (and Amex) over things they are convinced they are right about! Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not, but BA still holds the power to make your booking, or not.

    ed_fly 207 posts

    I was asking, as I seem to recall that this was specified at one time. A red herring is something which is intentionally misleading, and why on earth would I want to do that?

    Regardless of all this, though, the point is that if you end up in an argument over the Ts and Cs with a BA phone agent, you risk losing the seats you are trying to book, so it’s not worth highlighting it.

    apologies if you think I was suggesting you were attempting to be intentionally misleading, that was not my intent. I was using the phrase in the sense that it was a distraction from the core question, as the any Amex card question has been clearly addressed in the t&c’s. Whereas the question of holding the card, has not been.

    Bill_B 84 posts

    @Scott – it’s quite clear that you cannot be eligible for a companion voucher of either sort if you don’t hold any BA Amex so you cannot be eligible for the promotion. Whether it’s enforced or not is a different issue.

    As Frogee said, I don’t understand why you/others think this is quite clear. Yes, you need to hold a BA Amex to receive a voucher (i.e. in your own name, you cannot receive one though being a supplementary cardholder), however, how do you get from this to the contention that you have to continue holding a BA Amex to comply with Clause (28) [unfortunate naming!] ?



    @NorthernLass
    re “Isn’t there something in the Ts and Cs about being “a member of the programme”, i.e. holding an avios-earning card?” – the only thing I can see is Clause (1) mentioned above, which relates to receiving the voucher, it doesn’t stipulate it as a requirement for using the voucher. Also the “membership” it refers to is the BA Exec Club, rather than holding an Amex.

    [Edit] – just to clarify, I’m not looking to cheat the system, I genuinely can’t work out why folk are saying that it’s necessary to hold some sort of BA Amex as per the T&C’s

    I think JDB is claiming that being “eligible for this promotion” means being eligible to receive a voucher. To me that makes sense if the “promotion” is the whole process of generating and then benefiting from the voucher, not simply the act of “using” it.

    Scallder 6 posts

    If I may…

    A BA companion voucher on the BAPP is valid for 2 years from the point of issue. There is simply no way that under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (let alone much more recent legislation) that Amex could state that you have to hold a BAPP for 2 years, and as a result incurring charges of £500, to utilise a benefit that was earned up to 2 years previously.

    Indeed BA can require ANY Amex card to pay – and can do that through the website – but there’s simply no way that you have to hold the card the voucher is earned on for another 2 years.

    I highly doubt this has ever gone to court, which is what would set the precedent, but I can’t see it being held up in court in Amex’s favour. I have to say that I think it’s very poor of Amex CS to continue to reiterate this message, but there’s no way this holds up in a court of law.

    JDB 4,360 posts

    @Scallder – I think you have misunderstood the position. Amex isn’t requiring you to spend £500 as you can downgrade to the free BA Amex card and thus remain part of the ‘club’ and therefore remain eligible for the promotion. If you cancel rather than downgrade you are in a different technical and legal position.

    JDB 4,360 posts

    @JDB how is it quite clear?

    I promise I’m not trolling and I genuinely don’t mind if you make me look stupid – just so I can finally understand this!

    Apologies for the delay in responding to your trolling but there’s not a lot of roaming in Tafí del Valle (that’s in Argentina, not the Welsh valleys).

    For me the wording is quite clear and as someone who was present at the birth of this product, that was the intent of the wording per the parents, and while other parts of the terms have been changed in recent times, that has not. If it doesn’t mean what I say, to what does the relevant term relate?

    Froggee 898 posts

    Thanks @JDB

    I guess you’re the lawyer. But here was me thinking terms and conditions should be clear rather than vaguely implied.

    Anyway. I was present at the birth of both Kermit and Freddo yet I have little or no knowledge of their intentions on a daily basis.

    Enjoy Argentina. I’ll be thinking of you at 9 o’clock when we’re paying a lawyer to interpret weird wording which ironically relates to accounting but the accountants want to be able to blame the lawyers if there is pushback at any point…

    AJA 1,069 posts

    I find these threads interesting. I have always held the same BAPP card account (updated with replacements when the old card expired or replaced by another when I was unfortunately pickpocketed in Toledo a few years ago) so have never worried about this aspect of using a 2-4-1 and paying the fees with another card nor indeed need to worry about it being cancelled as I still hold a BAPP card when actually flying.

    However I have indeed redeemed a voucher in my name and used my OH’s card with their different surname imprinted upon it (but also a BAPP) to actually pay the associated cash fees. And we flew as expected without being downgraded or suffering any other misfortune.

    So it is indeed true that it is possible to use any Amex card when redeeming a 2-4-1 even with a different name on it albeit my OH was the other passenger.

    I also agree with @JDB in that you have to hold and spend the required sums on the associated BA Amex card to actually earn the voucher in the the first place.

    The T&Cs are the mess they are because BA and Amex have amended the offering over the years. The fact they may be inconsistent and may or may not be enforced does not mean that we should ignore them completely but it just means you have to consider the potential implications of cancelling a card while you still have a valid voucher in your BAEC account.

    Personally I am risk averse so continue to hold the BAPP and pay the annual fees. But what I do should not be the decider in what you may do. That is for you to decide.

    JDB 4,360 posts

    Thanks @JDB

    I guess you’re the lawyer. But here was me thinking terms and conditions should be clear rather than vaguely implied.

    Anyway. I was present at the birth of both Kermit and Freddo yet I have little or no knowledge of their intentions on a daily basis.

    Enjoy Argentina. I’ll be thinking of you at 9 o’clock when we’re paying a lawyer to interpret weird wording which ironically relates to accounting but the accountants want to be able to blame the lawyers if there is pushback at any point…


    @Froggee
    – I’m not a lawyer! I have been reading contracts and agreements for work purposes for many years though even though I had the benefit of a legal team to make sure the document had the effect I wanted it to have or said what I thought it said. I also have in home counsel. The terms are a mess/poorly drafted as @AJA says. It’s very poor practice to have terms that aren’t enforced and maybe Amex never will enforce them but we are generally seeing credit cards tightening up in response to customer (poor) conduct as well as much tougher economic times.

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