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BA companion voucher problem

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  • Royal124

    I booked flights for travel in September 2020, using the BA Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher. Due to COVID I had to cancel and rebook the flights a number of times. Meanwhile, I closed the BA American Express Card linked to the vouchers. On 18th September 2021, when I had to make a payment for £5.28 extra charge linked to a rebooking, BA allowed me to use a Mastercard without affect on the voucher. I made my final rebooking in January 2022. It was only when I tried to check in online that I realised I had not been ticketed. I finally contacted BA the morning of the flight, and was told I needed to pay £37 extra; I was allowed to use the Mastercard to make the payment, again without affect on the voucher. I was shocked to be called two hours later to be told that this wasn’t possible and that the voucher had to be cancelled. As a result, nett 95,500 AVIOS has been deducted from my Account.

    I have asked BA to honour my companion voucher, and the extra charge payable with Mastercard, without loss of AVIOS. I have yet to receive a reply.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Whilst I accept the need for rules, this is a very exceptional and frustrating set of circumstances. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.

    NorthernLass

    So – you’ve taken your flights but been charged the full avios price, if I’ve read this correctly?
    You might be stuck here because the Ts and Cs of the BAPP voucher do refer to paying the surcharges with the Amex which generated the 241. We all know that in reality that’s not the case, but BA may well technically be in the right here. BA can do pretty much what they want with avios as well as they remain BA’s property at all times.
    It does seem very harsh that you’ve lost avios and your 241 because you used a MC to pay a small amount extra (which I think is what you’re saying), which BA allowed at the time. You can certainly challenge the decision but the Ts and Cs could be in their favour here. You could argue that you paid the original surcharges on the BAPP and no one could have known that your flight would be cancelled so many times.

    For future reference, you could have used any Amex to pay the extra charges and BA wouldn’t have known the difference.

    NB – if BA cancelled the flight (it’s not 100% clear), you should have been re-routed at no extra charge, so they shouldn’t have been asking for any extra money.

    As regards BA, it’s woeful that they have time to implement mean and petty decisions like this but keep people on hold for hours trying to get through on the phone!

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 4 months ago by .
    Tracey

    Seems strange. They accepted the payment and later decided it wasn’t accepted? What would they have done if you hadn’t had a spare 95k avios in your account?

    ChrisC

    Ths does seem very strange.

    Whilst the T&Cs of the voucher do say any AMEX needs to be used to pay the cash element – and indeed you apparently did for the original booking – a BA staffer accepted the use of the mastercard for the minimal extra charges. Even of the staffer shouldn’t have done that’s their error not yours and you shouldn’t suffer for it.

    That’s what you need to use on BA. If customer services don’t sort this out then I’d move on to BA Legal.

    You relied on an employee that master card was acceptable for these minumal charges and shouldn’t have to suffer for that.

    Lady London

    Could be some admin thing that Amex is refusing to pay something owed to Amex because BA didn’t fulfil a contract term to insist all monies were taken on a card issued by Amex?

    If so @ChrisC is right it’s BA’s mistake and has nothing to do with you. Take it as far as it needs to go. Mistake is allowed in contract and no question about this as it’s a trivial amount.

    Please let us know how it turns out.

    Magarathea

    This sounds very harsh. Is the problem here that at some stage between booking your original flight and your final flight re-booking, that the companion voucher has gone past it’s expiry date?

    JDB

    It is harsh, and you could as @ChrisC says write to BA Legal but you would be on quite thin grounds to rely on the word of the BA employee who accepted the MC and that error was corrected as soon as a ticketing/payments person saw the error. They will say you are responsible for knowing and complying with the terms, and that isn’t really what ‘mistake’ in contract terms is about.

    If you wrote, you would also risk opening a hornet’s nest re the voucher as the T&Cs say you must use the Amex for payment and hold the card at the time of travel. It may not happen often but this shows there are risks associated with getting the 241 then cancelling the card.

    I know it has been mentioned before, but when one makes a change, it is always a good idea to check it has been re-ticketed in advance rather than waiting to discover it hasn’t when you can’t check in online.

    ChrisC

    There were two usages of the MC card.

    The first last September.

    It was the one in January that was rejected after a couple of hours.

    JDB

    There were two usages of the MC card.

    The first last September.

    It was the one in January that was rejected after a couple of hours.

    Yes, and it was the second payment that led to the trouble. It is unfortunately difficult to see what redress is available.

    Royal124

    Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. They are appreciated.

    AJA

    A very strange case. And also very harsh of BA. Do you have access to another Amex card? If so I would suggest to BA that you offer to pay the £42 extra charged by BA on that Amex in exchange for a return of the additional 95k Avios they deducted.

    They could simply refund the charge to the MasterCard and rebill the Amex. BA still gets their cash and you honour the companion voucher T&Cs by paying by Amex.

    JDB

    A very strange case. And also very harsh of BA. Do you have access to another Amex card? If so I would suggest to BA that you offer to pay the £42 extra charged by BA on that Amex in exchange for a return of the additional 95k Avios they deducted.

    They could simply refund the charge to the MasterCard and rebill the Amex. BA still gets their cash and you honour the companion voucher T&Cs by paying by Amex.

    Getting BA to change the payment seems somewhat improbable! The terms also require you to hold the BA Amex at the time of travel and I can’t think the poster had one at any of the relevant times; there has been no suggestion of using the MC by mistake.

    AJA

    A very strange case. And also very harsh of BA. Do you have access to another Amex card? If so I would suggest to BA that you offer to pay the £42 extra charged by BA on that Amex in exchange for a return of the additional 95k Avios they deducted.

    They could simply refund the charge to the MasterCard and rebill the Amex. BA still gets their cash and you honour the companion voucher T&Cs by paying by Amex.

    Getting BA to change the payment seems somewhat improbable! The terms also require you to hold the BA Amex at the time of travel and I can’t think the poster had one at any of the relevant times; there has been no suggestion of using the MC by mistake.

    But BA doesn’t enforce the holding the card when you travel (unless they do now?) And until now it has been possible to pay for the associated charges on any Amex, not just the BAPP and until now it doesn’t even have to be in your name. I’d take a punt and at least ask, the worst that can happen is BA says no.

    JDB

    A very strange case. And also very harsh of BA. Do you have access to another Amex card? If so I would suggest to BA that you offer to pay the £42 extra charged by BA on that Amex in exchange for a return of the additional 95k Avios they deducted.

    They could simply refund the charge to the MasterCard and rebill the Amex. BA still gets their cash and you honour the companion voucher T&Cs by paying by Amex.

    Getting BA to change the payment seems somewhat improbable! The terms also require you to hold the BA Amex at the time of travel and I can’t think the poster had one at any of the relevant times; there has been no suggestion of using the MC by mistake.

    But BA doesn’t enforce the holding the card when you travel (unless they do now?) And until now it has been possible to pay for the associated charges on any Amex, not just the BAPP and until now it doesn’t even have to be in your name. I’d take a punt and at least ask, the worst that can happen is BA says no.

    They may not currently enforce the requirement to hold the card at the time of travel, but it would be easy to do and as here, once you start manual ticketing of changes, it is much more likely for someone to pick up the issue and see a non 3791 card.

    NorthernLass

    It’s only possible to use any Amex to pay the charges because BA’s IT system doesn’t know which card goes with your voucher. Clearly once BA is alerted to a breach of Ts and Cs (such as no longer holding the relevant card), they are capable of clawing back the benefits, so lets hope they don’t decide to do any proactive digging!

    peterz

    The same kind of situation happened to me as well. I tried to change one journey booked by companion voucher. Then I was told that extra tax cost had to be paid via Amex CC under my name. Unfortunately Amex canceled my CC so I wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Having tried to call different BA agents, but no luck at all.

    The another issue I want to mention here is that BA is now ABSOLUTELY requesting that the Amex CC to pay for the companion voucher has to be the exact same name of the companion voucher person. There was lots discussion in the past that you could pay companion voucher seats by ANY AMex CC, friends & Family etc, but it’s not the case now.

    Can someone please share if you paid the companion voucher by using friend or family’s Amex CC? How did you do it? Much appreciated as I’m losing my business class seats now…

    memesweeper

    Can someone please share if you paid the companion voucher by using friend or family’s Amex CC? How did you do it? Much appreciated as I’m losing my business class seats now…

    If you’re using another person’s Amex could you quickly ask them for a supplementary in your name? That would likely get you out of trouble right now. They rarely take more than a couple of days to arrive.

    Royal124

    Six weeks and four days later, I am still waiting for a reply from British Airways to my complaint (see original message). Once a week, on Wednesday, I receive: a “Sorry you’re still waiting”; “Thank you for bearing with us”; et.al Template message. I have phoned BA twice and been told that complaints are only being dealt with by E Mail. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I might expedite my complaint?

    Thanks for your help.

    JDB

    @Royal124 – as you essentially entirely reliant on BA’s goodwill to resolve your particular complaint and it is a slightly unusual one, I would be inclined to wait a while longer as they clearly have received it. If you push them too much just to get an answer, it will be easier to say no. Unfortunately, absent BA’s co-operation, I’m not sure you have a case that you could take to CEDR/MCOL.

    Royal124

    Thanks for advice. Appreciated.

    Gary

    For a confirmed BA amex companion voucher booking, would MMB permit moving departure to beyond voucher expiry under BWC if the change is voluntary?

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