Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club The ‘How to book the return leg with 2-4-1 companion voucher’ thread

  • levantine93 13 posts

    So obviously using an amex 241 voucher opens up extra award availability for CW.
    If I book the outbound using the voucher only and then book return separately without the voucher (before calling yo to get avios refund), the issue is the return availability disappears as I wouldn’t be using the voucher and the extra availability isnt there…does that make sense??
    Any way around this?
    Could I just call ba and ask them to book me both the outbound and return using the 241? Will they then price HKG with lowers taxes accordingly??

    windym 20 posts

    My wife and I both have a 2-4-1 which we plan to use next year to take our son and his girlfriend away. I can get the flights out to the Caribbean but will need to ring the States at midnight to make sure we can get back. I’m a bit twitchy because I need 4 seats. I only have enough Avios to cover the flights so I do have to ring.

    I have never used 2 x 2-4-1 on the same booking and assume that there is way BA will link them so that when I do ring up the States, they would be able to grab all 4 seats together. If that is so, is there a problem if my wife and I go ahead and book the seats online going out then ring to try to link or should I ring up the Blue Exec line (no status) and pay the admin fee to book the outbound. What is the best way to attack this? Thank you.

    Anna 458 posts

    @windym – you will have to make 2 separate bookings if the vouchers are in different accounts, there is no way around this. What you can do for your inbound flights is make sure one of you is authorised on the other’s account then when you get through to BA explain that you’re using 2 vouchers and ask them to hold the 4 seats for you.

    Roker 38 posts

    Next month I’m going to book an open-jaw business class return for me and my wife for Jan 2025 using a 241 voucher. LHR — HKG outbound (for which availability is surprisingly good, and unlike LHR – TYO there are night flights, so you can sleep and check straight into your hotel on arrival). Then I’ll have to to call up at midnight to try and grab TYO > LHR for the return leg (for which availability is awful, as many of us know. Part of the problem is that Japan is a bargain right now at Y180 or more to the pound).

    For the first time we’ll be using a 241 voucher generated on my wife’s Amex, the primary card holder (we’ll flip next year). Of course the voucher only shows up when logged into her BAEC account.

    Does anyone know, will she have to stay up till midnight to to do the talking, or at least introduce herself (as we do with banking etc, despite her poor English), or can I handle the whole call as the head of the BAEC Household Account?

    1958 54 posts

    Next month I’m going to book an open-jaw business class return for me and my wife for Jan 2025 using a 241 voucher. LHR — HKG outbound (for which availability is surprisingly good, and unlike LHR – TYO there are night flights, so you can sleep and check straight into your hotel on arrival). Then I’ll have to to call up at midnight to try and grab TYO > LHR for the return leg (for which availability is awful, as many of us know. Part of the problem is that Japan is a bargain right now at Y180 or more to the pound).

    For the first time we’ll be using a 241 voucher generated on my wife’s Amex, the primary card holder (we’ll flip next year). Of course the voucher only shows up when logged into her BAEC account.

    Does anyone know, will she have to stay up till midnight to to do the talking, or at least introduce herself (as we do with banking etc, despite her poor English), or can I handle the whole call as the head of the BAEC Household Account?

    You can do it yourself (and let your wife snooze) IF you are prepared:
    a. Your wife must make you an “Authorised contact” on her account;
    b. Have your wife’s Am Ex saved to her account.
    – Good luck. I made this booking a few weeks ago. (And it was nerve-wracking)

    windym 20 posts

    @windym – you will have to make 2 separate bookings if the vouchers are in different accounts, there is no way around this. What you can do for your inbound flights is make sure one of you is authorised on the other’s account then when you get through to BA explain that you’re using 2 vouchers and ask them to hold the 4 seats for you.

    Thank you.

    Roker 38 posts

    Thanks @1958, that’s very helpful.

    I’ve done a) to make myself an ‘Authorised Contact’ (looks like BA call it a ‘third-party nominee’). However, we can’t do b) as we gave up my wife’s Amex a few months ago after triggering the 241 and just before the new rule came in on pro-rata refunds (now postponed I know). My own 24-month Amex block finishes on 31 December so I plan to apply for a new BAPP card on 1 Jan and hope we can pay with that (or with my wife’s companion card when that comes through).

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    You might want a backup plan in the event that your Amex application is declined or delayed as you can only pay the surcharges with an Amex card (and possibly only a BA card if the agent is particularly on the ball).

    Roker 38 posts

    Noted @NorthernLass, I was a bit concerned about that. If my application is delayed or declined can someone else pay with their Amex (eg my son, with his free BA Amex)?

    By the way, a friend texted me a few minutes ago to say a whole new tranche of business class and PE availability to Tokyo has just come up for Jan and Feb 2024. I couldn’t quite believe him so I checked and he’s right. 79 outbound CW seats and 55 inbound in January, and 55/50 in February. Remarkable..surely they won’t be there for long. We’ve already booked for Feb/March 2024.

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    In theory, yes, as there’s no name check when booking online.

    Linky1996 9 posts

    Hi all, long time reader, also a first time poster. My partner and I have somewhat bungled it and used both of our 2-4-1 vouchers for 2 of us in CW on LHR-SIN and HKG-LHR (each one way) in late 2024, obviously not appreciating that a single voucher would’ve achieved that outcome if we added HKG-LHR to the LHR-SIN booking. I’ve just spoken to BA customer service, who have advised that cancelling the HKG-LHR flights is risky as there’s no guarantee the seats would go back into reward availability. They recommend waiting to see if more CW seats open up for the HKG-LHR leg and then cancelling and rebooking on the same account as LHR-SIN.

    Does anyone here have any other advice on what we can do here? Is it correct that cancelling the HKG-LHR 2-4-1 booking may not release these seats as reward seats?

    Linky1996 9 posts

    [deleted]

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    @Linky1996, it’s likely but not definite that the cancelled seats would reappear. However, the best way to resolve this would have been for the agent to check whether the return portion of your first 241 would unlock extra availability, and if so, then book that for you. You could then cancel your superfluous inbound leg and get that voucher back.

    You could call again and ask them to do this – also someone on here with an unused voucher can take a look if you give us your return date. I have a voucher and can try later if you get back to us.

    *Having said this, there are a few dates in November ’24 showing CW availability on SeatSpy, so if these suited you you could book separately (if you have enough avios) then request 50% back, or just call and ask the agent to book for you. Then cancel the extra one.

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    Checking from the last week in Nov, there are CW seats available with the voucher on Nov 28th and Dec 1st.

    PreGP 1 post

    Just to keep people informed. The method of telephoning BA Exec Club Helpline (Option 3 and Option 3) worked for me today. I had booked the outward flight from London to Singapore with CW at midnight online in November using my Companion Voucher followed by booking the return leg to London CW online at midnight last night using all avios. The agent (after checking he could do this with his supervisor) refunded 50% of the avios used for the return leg and linked to the two flights for me. Total time for the phone call was about 30 minutes. The refunded avios were back in my account after about 5 minutes.

    GaryE 42 posts

    Apologies if this has been answered before (but I cannot see it in the thread).

    I want to use the 241 voucher for a return trip next November/December – the outbound flight is on sale and the seats are at time of writing available, but the return flight will not become available until the 28/12 (ie 354 days in the future).

    Is there anyway I can use the voucher to book the outbound flight, to secure it, and then add the return (if hopefully still available) on the 28/12. We have only one voucher, and as the flight is yet to go on sale, cannot book it with all Avios or cash.

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    This is discussed extensively in this thread (beginning on the first page!) and Rob has also done articles on it, there are a couple of different ways to secure your seats but you need to do some research and be ready for when they’re released.

    LST 19 posts

    Hi all,
    Managed to book 4x Club LGW to MCO online for December 2024 using one 2-4-1 voucher. Just wanted to say thanks to all in this thread for the help it has provided.

    Just the merry dance of trying to book the returns (and eventually getting back some Avios) two weeks from now!

    heartfaced 5 posts

    Haven’t been able to find guidance for this niche case. Now that the 2-4-1 can be booked using non-UK starting points, I booked HKG-LHR-JFK as a one-way. I have flown the first leg to London. Can I still phone up before flying the LHR-JFK leg and add a return flight using the voucher (JFK-LHR-HKG)?

    Second question, can I make changes to the return dates or does it become non-changeable once booked and the outbound has been flown?

    zio 219 posts

    You can change the return date after you have flown the outbound. Unfortunately, in your current position this isn’t going to help as I don’t think you can add a return once you have begun travel. Always happy to be corrected…

    ukpolak 52 posts

    Hello,

    After accumulating a lot of Avios and 2 x Amex companion vouchers (wife and I), we’re looking at getting to USA east coast next year, for Christmas. It’d be 2 x adults, 2 x kids therefore constrained by Christmas hols. For BA East Coast in Club return would be 360k + £1400 (best value option to maximise use of Avios) on the basis of four of us travelling using 2 x companion vouchers.

    It looks like the outbound flights are now available however inbound not yet (as not yet 355 days).

    I have read this thread and the dedicated articles but before I go mad, could I just confirm steps please:

    1. I am a nominee on my wife’s BAEC account and likewise she is for me (i.e. to use both companion vouchers). However to get two companion vouchers applied to the same booking, do I need to call for an agent to process this for me? i.e. objective to have the whole family of four on one booking reference.

    2. If I do call (with wife next to me in case they need her authorisation as well as mine), reading this thread would indicate I can go ahead to book outbound and then call again when the time comes, to book the inbound and then get 1/2 the Avios refunded. On the basis that 4 x return fares, using 2 x companion vouchers is 360k Avios + £1400, what do I expect to pay (a) now when booking outbound only and then (b) when I call to book inbound? Do I only pay half avios now but full cash, then remaining half avios later (but no cash)? I’m only asking because I want to make sure I have enough Avios for the “return half avios” trick in the event that this is needed.

    Most of the articles / thread content seems to apply for usage of one companion voucher, I’m just clarifying the process given we have one other companion voucher on expectations on what we pay now vs pay later etc and to make sure I have enough balance to cover.

    This site has helped me amass a lot of points – wonderful – now my first attempt at using!! Wish me luck!!

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    1. You can’t have 2 companion vouchers on the same booking unless they both belong to the same person, regardless of whether you book online or call. So you’ll have 2 separate PNRs, each with an adult and a child. We’ve travelled on different bookings many times and never had any major issues.

    2. You either call and get them to add the inbound, in which case they will just take the correct amount of avios and no refund is involved, or book it yourself online for full avios and then request the refund. When booking outbound you’ll pay just the cash for that sector – effectively you’re booking one-way redemptions. This used to cause problems before the introduction of RFS, but now you just pay the same both ways, (on most routes, including USA).

    Good luck – east coast US is about the easiest long haul redemption to get so you should be fine. If the kids are old enough I’d even suggest getting 2 x F and 2 x CW but that might complicate things too far if it’s your first go at this!

    Just be aware as well – if you’re returning during the first week in January, those dates are always in extremely high demand and seats go very fast. If returning from NYC or BOS, you also have the option of a daytime flight which leaves you feeling a lot better than a red-eye and is very doable in a lower cabin than CW.

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    Also – bear in mind that if you book the return legs online then request the avios back, you’ll end up with 4 PNRs! In practice, this is perfectly fine but may be a little disconcerting for the inexperienced.

    ukpolak 52 posts

    Many thanks NorthernLass you’re always very helpful indeed!!

    Yes indeed still plenty of outbound availability albeit only 2/flight in PE presumably because the cabin is smaller. We were toying of going PE just because the children will be 5 and 8 and the middle-4 seats are a god send (we paid for them in 2022 and worth every penny compared to Economy).

    Alas I can’t seem to see 4 x PE availability in and around late December! I would love F and did it with work a couple of times after fortuitous upgrades, but we wouldn’t be able to leave the little ones in another cabin. I fret with us having our own Club “pods” tbh given their age, but hopefully we can sit reasonably close to each other.

    PS – great tip re Jan return and I wasn’t aware of the hassle. Do you recommend therefore

    – one phone call now to book two outbound flights (accepting they’ll never be on same PNR). One adult + one child, two times. Or do you do this online as it’s pretty straight forward – once through my login and once via my wife’s?

    – one call back when required to have returns added on. Ps given I’ll be adding 2 x returns on to separate bookings, will this be problematic only because they’ll be amending two bookings and so will have to do them sequentially, risking losing out by the time they adjust the second one?

    Thanks again – super helpful advice!!

    NorthernLass 6,692 posts

    Personally I would book the outbound online, there’s nothing to be gained by calling for this. If you and your wife make the bookings simultaneously with your vouchers it’s unlikely you would lose the seats during the process. As you say, children are too young to be alone so 4 x CW is best for you.

    You might want to do a bit of research into whether Club Suites will be ok for you. Some east coast services still have the old seats but there’s no guarantee.

    BA only guarantees 2 x PE, but there are often more to NYC. What date/s are you looking at for outbound?

    For the return I would recommend you and your wife being online at midnight if you don’t have much flexibility with dates. If you can’t get CW or PE, economy on the day flight is not a bad option, especially if you spend the money saved on premium cabin “taxes and fees” by booking into 3 x bulkhead and 1 x exit row (kids can’t go in exit row but can in bulkhead).

    You can then request your 50% avios back – as pointed out in another thread, don’t ask for anything like “linking bookings” as this doesn’t happen and you may get a refusal, just say you had to wait to book your inbound flights as they hadn’t been released and can they kindly refund the avios due to these being the return legs of 241 bookings.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.