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

  • NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    You can see the latest available date to book when you start a dummy booking, it’s a good way to keep track of it. So when the latest date not greyed out is April 8th, you know that the 9th will be released next.

    yorkshireRich 224 posts

    Northern Lass will probably be asking you on the chat thread first but I’m trying to rack my brains on the best thing to do. The reality is I don’t have as much avios as I want.

    I’m looking at Japan next year (me the wife and infant), and will start booking the outbound in a month or so. I have around 240k avios. I have a companion voucher I could use for the inbound as I’m using only half of the companion voucher in September to Singapore.

    In an ideal world I would like to fly Qatar to Tokyo and then BA on the way back (possibly from Hong Kong), but unless Amex Platinum offer me a massive retention I won’t be able to do that. I would use the companion voucher for BA both way but I’m not convinced I will be able secure the tickets in time.

    Any suggestions welcome.

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    I would suggest saving avios by going economy MAN-DOH, it’s less than 7 hours and very doable. The J seats go really fast anyway, you’ll need to get on the QR site a full year out for the best chance. I can’t recall if QR even guarantee any J seats, but definitely not as many as BA.

    Boost avios or consider using fewer avios and more cash for the BA sector?

    Try from MAD?

    All these options are discussed in this thread.

    e14 273 posts

    Northern Lass will probably be asking you on the chat thread first but I’m trying to rack my brains on the best thing to do. The reality is I don’t have as much avios as I want.

    I’m looking at Japan next year (me the wife and infant), and will start booking the outbound in a month or so. I have around 240k avios. I have a companion voucher I could use for the inbound as I’m using only half of the companion voucher in September to Singapore.

    In an ideal world I would like to fly Qatar to Tokyo and then BA on the way back (possibly from Hong Kong), but unless Amex Platinum offer me a massive retention I won’t be able to do that. I would use the companion voucher for BA both way but I’m not convinced I will be able secure the tickets in time.

    Any suggestions welcome.

    Having done LHR-DOH-NRT when QR had an exceptional sale a few years ago, I certainly wouldn’t be looking at the 2,500 mile southern diversion.

    Go from Madrid much more sensible and you can use an Amex 241

    scholar wong 46 posts

    LHR-LAX 4741nm
    JFK-LHR 2999nm
    LAX-JFK 2151nm

    As the LAX-JFK is shorter than the other two then yes you can, this complies with open-jaw rules.

    Thanks for the useful replies, I suppose I can book the outbound leg online and call to add the return leg? Any benefit to booking both at the same time via the phone?

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    If availability is good then you can wait and book the whole thing in one go on the phone and it’ll all be on one PNR.

    scholar wong 46 posts

    If availability is good then you can wait and book the whole thing in one go on the phone and it’ll all be on one PNR.

    Good point, and presumably no £35 change fee per passenger?!

    meyerbro 3 posts

    Hey everyone, I’m new here and planning to do my first 2-4-1 booking in two steps.

    I just want to confirm a few things please.

    1 – Should I buy the first (outbound) flight using max avios min cash or it doesn’t matter?

    2 – The return flight (inbound) that I need to book later, should on this one I definitely maximize avios as I only get 50% refund on this?

    3 – Should I just do everything online and then request the refund of avios later via chat/twitter?

    4 – Is there a way to do the same here but using the Barclays upgrade voucher in 2 steps too?

    Thank you for your help!

    strickers 718 posts

    There won’t be a change fee to add an open jaw return because you can’t do it over the phone. One advantage is that of you cancel having made one booking it will be £70 total for two passengers, if you make separate bookings and cancel it will be £140 total. With good availability I’d make one booking over the phone, if not at you are booking at T-355 then make two.

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    Hey everyone, I’m new here and planning to do my first 2-4-1 booking in two steps.

    I just want to confirm a few things please.

    1 – Should I buy the first (outbound) flight using max avios min cash or it doesn’t matter?

    2 – The return flight (inbound) that I need to book later, should on this one I definitely maximize avios as I only get 50% refund on this?

    3 – Should I just do everything online and then request the refund of avios later via chat/twitter?

    4 – Is there a way to do the same here but using the Barclays upgrade voucher in 2 steps too?

    Thank you for your help!

    All this is covered here and in the relevant articles and other threads! Note that it doesn’t matter which cash/avios option you pick, but it needs to be the same on both legs.

    Start here:

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/01/03/how-do-british-airways-american-express-2-4-1-vouchers-work-2/

    scholar wong 46 posts

    There won’t be a change fee to add an open jaw return because you can’t do it over the phone. One advantage is that of you cancel having made one booking it will be £70 total for two passengers, if you make separate bookings and cancel it will be £140 total. With good availability I’d make one booking over the phone, if not at you are booking at T-355 then make two.

    Cool, will aim to wrap up in one PNR!

    ans91 3 posts

    Just called the US number to try and book flights at T-355 using a couple of Barclaycard vouchers only to be told that their T&Cs have recently changed and that they are no longer able to book on behalf of UK residents and that that call centre is for US bookings only. Explained to him that i have booked other flights a couple of months ago using this method but wouldn’t budge. Kept saying definitely not that call centre and to call back in the hope of being re-routed to another one.

    Has this happened to anyone else? Pretty sure he was trying to fob me off judging from recent posts on here and he was probably looking to leave at 1am. Called up at 12.45am and got through, call ended at 12.55am and as expected when calling back the lines were closed.

    Aston100 1,449 posts

    Just called the US number to try and book flights at T-355 using a couple of Barclaycard vouchers only to be told that their T&Cs have recently changed and that they are no longer able to book on behalf of UK residents and that that call centre is for US bookings only. Explained to him that i have booked other flights a couple of months ago using this method but wouldn’t budge. Kept saying definitely not that call centre and to call back in the hope of being re-routed to another one.

    Has this happened to anyone else? Pretty sure he was trying to fob me off judging from recent posts on here and he was probably looking to leave at 1am. Called up at 12.45am and got through, call ended at 12.55am and as expected when calling back the lines were closed.

    I discussed this recently with an agent on that number.
    Upshot is that it depends on the individual. Some will do it and others won’t.
    Also, they are meant to finish work at the time the tickets go live so can’t imagine they’d be happy to hang around for 10 minutes after finishing time in order to service people from outside North America on a number supposedly for North Americans.

    highlander61 7 posts

    Hi, my 1st post so be gentle !! i have booked 2 x flights INV to MLE in business using my 241 companion voucher leaving 26/03/25. I now wish to book return MLE to INV leaving 02/04/25 with overnight stop in LHR. Is it possible to book the MLE to LHR leg 355 days out and then add the LHR to INV leg when it becomes available.I have enough avios to book return and then claim 50% back

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    Hello @highlander61! Yes – you’ve picked a popular route (good result) so will need to be on the ball. BA can add the INV leg when it’s released. This thread contains all the information you need to plan your strategy!

    Take note as well of the limitations of the 241 – you’ll now only be able to access the “extra availability” by calling BA.

    highlander61 7 posts

    Thanks @NorthernLass, it was very easy to book outbound, wasn’t booked until 06:00hrs but return seems more difficult. I have read the thread and plan to phone @01:00hrs and have tried a dummy booking which I have got down to aprox 30sec, so hopefully will have bases covered.Any idea what is best number to phone, seems to be conflicting advise but I have USA number saved in phone and tried it to make sure it works.
    I tried to contact BA on X earlier, 2 1/2 hrs before someone answered

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    They can’t do bookings on X, though they can refund your 50% avios after booking. I’ve never called at T-355 but there is plenty of recent discussion in the last few days in this thread of which numbers people are having the most success with.

    highlander61 7 posts

    Yes some saying its pot luck if you get a decent agent or not. I will try phoning and booking online @01:00hrs, fingers crossed

    AFKAE 151 posts

    Thanks @NorthernLass, it was very easy to book outbound, wasn’t booked until 06:00hrs but return seems more difficult. I have read the thread and plan to phone @01:00hrs and have tried a dummy booking which I have got down to aprox 30sec, so hopefully will have bases covered.Any idea what is best number to phone, seems to be conflicting advise but I have USA number saved in phone and tried it to make sure it works.
    I tried to contact BA on X earlier, 2 1/2 hrs before someone answered

    Deffo USA and Skype. Make sure you select change an existing booking, you get much better quality agents than making a new booking. I suspect they put the trainees/limited experience people on new bookings as in theory they are simpler, whereas a change booking may well require some greater experience.

    Good luck!

    highlander61 7 posts

    thanks, will try Skype and changing booking

    Michael C 703 posts

    Thanks @NorthernLass, it was very easy to book outbound, wasn’t booked until 06:00hrs but return seems more difficult. I have read the thread and plan to phone @01:00hrs and have tried a dummy booking which I have got down to aprox 30sec, so hopefully will have bases covered.Any idea what is best number to phone, seems to be conflicting advise but I have USA number saved in phone and tried it to make sure it works.
    I tried to contact BA on X earlier, 2 1/2 hrs before someone answered

    Deffo USA and Skype. Make sure you select change an existing booking, you get much better quality agents than making a new booking. I suspect they put the trainees/limited experience people on new bookings as in theory they are simpler, whereas a change booking may well require some greater experience.

    Good luck!

    …although the recent comments on US agents above suggest they may no longer do this? Risky to get wrong at midnight -355

    mflyer135 1 post

    Hi
    So this system seems to have changed a bit over the last few years and I’m trying to get my head straight as to best way to go about this for my situation.

    1. Book outbound flight online at 12am GMT (not BST)
    2. Wait until inbound flight becomes available then phone Aussie call centre (USA one will be closed)
    3. They will apply the discount for the 241 voucher to both legs.

    Questions
    A) how long is wait time at Aussie call centre?
    B) do I need the full price avios available in my account to book inbound leg on phone even if a part will be refunded?
    C) how long is wait at that time on Aussie call centre? Obviously need to time the run as it were.

    Ideally I’d like to do it all online then call later to merge bookings and get the refund but I don’t have enough miles… so have to do it the long way.

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    It’s BST at the moment. Everything you’ve asked is answered in this thread and the HFP articles on using avios, except maybe about the Aussie call time wait, I expect that’s similar to the piece of string question!

    totestornot123 50 posts

    Managed to snag our CW seats LHR to HND last night using our 2v1 BAPP voucher! Thanks to all the helpful people here for all the advice. It definitely is luck of the draw in all honesty. This was our second attempt.

    Called the USA number at 00:40, got through in 5mins (thankfully to an agent in the UK) who was extremely friendly and chatty, and me and the missus were just talking to him about anything in general. He was happy to stay on the line with us until 1am, gave us some tips about BA hotels in Japan. Also told us, BA are cracking down on customers ringing up too early and keeping the agent ‘occupied’ until seats are released. Also said that technically, the USA BA number is only for USA customers, and so it is up to the agents discretion whether they will they will proceed with the call or tell them to call the UK office (or book online, which technically one can do). Agent also said, as there are multiple agents all online at that time when seats are released, all trying to snag the CW seats, it is very difficult to be successful as there are only 4 CW seats. (WIth regards to cherry blossom season)

    Paid a £15 fee pp on our booking, and we went with the 100k + 550£ option using our voucher (in hindsight maybe we should have used less avios). Now for the return flight to book in a few weeks time. Agent did tell us it was peak dates for a lot of April 2025 and it would cost is 10k more avios (i think in total, not per person). Debating between CW and PE on the return, tbc/

    highlander61 7 posts

    Update on my 241 booking !!
    I eventually got message from BA on X and they advised it was a tricky one but doable, They can add my inbound flights once they open for sale as they are currently outside of date range – either by calling them, or by booking my inbound flights online and then contacting BA to advise that I have an American Express Companion voucher from my booking XXXXXX, and BA will then refund the additional Avios and update the new booking to say it’s part of my Companion booking. All subject to availability. But it gets tricky with my overnight stay. As they don’t want me to risk losing the chance of the Avios Reward flight availability, I can go ahead and book the Male to London Heathrow flight and then once the London Heathrow to Inverness opens for sale too contact BA to add this flight (again subject to availability) as part of your American Express Companion Voucher booking)

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