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

  • NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    @totestornot123 – Great result – don’t forget you need to use the same ratio of avios and cash on the inbound (doesn’t matter which cabin).


    @highlander61
    , you could have found all that out here! It’s SOP for this kind of booking, loads of accounts here of people doing exactly that.

    What people don’t realise at first is just how fast these seats can go so being on the phone or online at the right time is crucial.

    emilyspc 1 post

    Thanks to everyone on here for all the tips and tricks. Just wanted to share my positive experience to reassure other first-timers.
    Having booked the outbound LHR-CPT online, I called up the US executive club number (available under the contact info once you log in) at 12:50am and was connected to a lovely agent within 2 minutes. I used Skype to call and didn’t have to load any credit as it is a free number. The agent knew exactly what was needed and checked with me which options for the two daily flights I would prefer, before bagging them for me at the stroke of 1am. He also advised me that their shifts finish at 1:20am (BST) to account for all the bookings that are made through this method and so, as this was his last call of the shift, he was happy to wait for a few minutes until the flights came live.
    Thanks again for all the advice in this thread and hope everyone has stress-free travel soon!

    totestornot123 49 posts

    @totestornot123 – Great result – don’t forget you need to use the same ratio of avios and cash on the inbound (doesn’t matter which cabin).



    @highlander61
    , you could have found all that out here! It’s SOP for this kind of booking, loads of accounts here of people doing exactly that.

    What people don’t realise at first is just how fast these seats can go so being on the phone or online at the right time is crucial.

    Thanks NorthernLass. Is that ratio for myself booking online and then contacting BA later to get 50% avios refunded or even if we book the return via BA phonelines? Not sure if the agent over the phone can apply any ratio of avios + taxes and still ‘link’ it to our outbound 241 voucher resulting in 50% less avios?

    BigJim 1 post

    Hi all! I read through this thread, thank you for all the info (especially those posting their success stories it gives me hope!). I couldn’t find answers to two (hopefully) questions

    1. I have set up household account for my and wife, the companion voucher is on her account but I’m set as the head of household account – planning to call at midnight, does it matter if it’s her or I that book it? (She’d prefer I did it, I’m worried as voucher on her account they won’t let me)
    2. I’ll add return leg by calling in a couple of weeks time to add it. But is the tax bill not a lot higher as this ends up being two singles rather than a return? (Or have I got the wrong end of the stick completely ?)

    Thank you for your help and patience!

    jmartz17 5 posts

    Hey guys,

    This is my first time using a companion voucher and last night I called up at 1am to secure the return leg of my trip.

    Over the last couple of weeks before calling I had research the cost of each leg by starting fake bookings online when the tickets were released.

    My trip is a business class Gatwick to Bangkok and I’d worked out using Robs rule of 1p per avios that the best value option was the 3rd most amount of points. For the outbound leg this was 75k + £700 fees and for the inbound it was 75k and £207 fees.

    When I got through last night and the agent added the return flight to the outbound I’d booked 3 weeks ago online they said I would have to pay 75k + £700 (on top of what I’d already paid). I queried this and discussed what I could see on the website and they said that because of the amount of points I’d picked on outbound it would have to be an RFS fare which had a further £700 cost. They then said if I didn’t want the RFS fare the total fees would be an extra £1050.

    Obviously I didn’t want to lose the flights so I accepted and paid the further £700 but just want advice from the forum. Was the agent correct or have I made a mistake? When I look at the 2 one way fares they’re definitely cheaper

    Thanks for your help

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    @totestornot123 – if you book the inbound by phone the agent will charge you at the same price as you booked the outbound. There’s no “linking” as such, so don’t ask for that as it has caused confusion and someone having their booking refused in the past. If booking on the phone, you need to ask the agent to add your inbound leg to the current booking. If booking online, you make a separate booking, which stays on a separate PNR, and just ask for 50% avios to be refunded.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    @jmartz17 – normally both legs will cost exactly the same in terms of avios and cash on RFS bookings. I think what may have happened here is that BKK – LGW booked separately causes lower taxes to show, which is down to some countries having different departure taxes (GIG is another one).

    The other reason could be that the lower price showed initially, but these can change when you click through to the booking page, so if you didn’t go far enough with your dummy booking you wouldn’t see the full charges you need to pay.

    In the first instance, if you have both flights on one booking, you have to pay BA’s charges, which in this case are higher. If you want to pay the lower rate, you need to book the inbound separately and request 50% avios back.

    I realise this is a very long thread, but so many people have posted here in the past few weeks with problems they could have avoided by reading it closely before booking! (Also applies to the shorter HFP articles on the site 😂)

    Garcia 3 posts

    I know this is the thread for using a Companion Voucher but I thought it best to post my experience booking an inbound flight using a Barclaycard Avios voucher here, as others have done.

    A few weeks ago I noticed two business class reward seats were still available at 7am U.K. time for London to Tokyo so I booked them on line. I had two vouchers on separate BAEC accounts, mine and hubby. We would be in Tokyo a few days earlier than planned but I am sure we will find something to do.

    Last night was time to use the inbound part of the voucher. I phoned the blue US number (001 800 452 1201) via Skype (never used Skype before) at 00.40, my call was answered immediately and I was given a series of options, I choose the following:

    1)Amend booking – 1
    2)Flight only – 1
    3)Booked using Avios – 1
    4)Change, upgrade or cancel an Avios booking – 1
    5)Booked using a voucher – 2

    The last one didn’t work and I was given 4) again, so selected 1) and I was immediately put through to an agent in the U.K. I explained what I wanted and he said I was too early, so I asked if he could give me some quotes on hotels, no problem he said.

    We went through security for myself and nominee. Then he gave me quotes on a few hotels I was interested in.

    At 00.55 he started to set everything up ready for the seats being released. I was a little worried that he would get one seat but not the other as I was using two vouchers. He had to select each booking one at a time and add the inbound seat, but he was fast and I got them both on the 13.15 flight from Tokyo.

    I feel like I have won the lottery!

    Thank you to everyone who posted their experiences on here you really helped.

    jmartz17 5 posts

    @northernlass – thanks for your response! I promise I read both the “beginners” and “expert” article on headforpoints before booking as wanted to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes and nowhere does it mention the taxes are more if done as a return than single! Maybe something we could get added?

    Would it be possible for me to cancel my return leg and then rebook it as a single separate trip and then call up again and get the 50% avios refund?

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    It’s discussed quite a bit in this thread, which is why it’s essential reading! It’s only a couple of destinations (also used to be HKG but I think that changed), which is why it won’t be mentioned in a short article.

    Have you checked which scenario applies? There might be no CW to do a dummy booking with but other cabins should give an idea of what the difference will be. If the fees shoot up when you get to the payment page, it’s probably not worth rebooking.

    Otherwise you’d be on the hook for £35 pp cancellation fee if outside 24 hours and a slight risk of your seats not going back into the inventory or someone else snapping them up. You might have to cancel the whole thing unless BA can remove the inbound leg on the phone.

    I’d be tempted to stick with what you’ve got on this occasion; this whole avios thing is a learning process and everyone gets better with practice!

    JDB 4,553 posts

    @northernlass – thanks for your response! I promise I read both the “beginners” and “expert” article on headforpoints before booking as wanted to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes and nowhere does it mention the taxes are more if done as a return than single! Maybe something we could get added?

    Would it be possible for me to cancel my return leg and then rebook it as a single separate trip and then call up again and get the 50% avios refund?

    It isn’t a question of the taxes being different for the return or single (with the notable exceptions of Hong Kong and Brazil), it’s that you chose a particular Avios/cash option on the outbound so when you add the return, BA insists on using that same mix. If you make a separate booking and ask for 50% back, anecdotally they will also only do that with the same combination. If you were to try an cancel and rebook you run several risks – the seats may not return to inventory, they may say you can’t have the 50% back because it’s too late and/or them insisting on the same combo as the outbound. If you have picked a combination that makes sense, you shouldn’t be any worse off as whatever extra you spent in cash should be offset by paying fewer Avios.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    @JDB, that’s not what happened – as per the OP’s original post they had done a dummy booking and seen lower fees on the return leg but not clicked through to the payment page where it would have increased. They were expecting to be charged 75k avios plus £200ish but instead it was 75k avios plus £700.

    The BA agent charged the correct amount as per BA policy on surcharges when the full amount is applied.

    If you try booking BKK-LGW you’ll see what I mean!

    JDB 4,553 posts

    @JDB, that’s not what happened – as per the OP’s original post they had done a dummy booking and seen lower fees on the return leg but not clicked through to the payment page where it would have increased. They were expecting to be charged 75k avios plus £200ish but instead it was 75k avios plus £700.

    The BA agent charged the correct amount as per BA policy on surcharges when the full amount is applied.

    If you try booking BKK-LGW you’ll see what I mean!

    But since the ‘standard’ Club price is either 100k/110k off peak/peak it’s not surprising that if you select the option to pay only 75k Avios you are quite clearly going to be paying more than £200 cash whatever the direction of travel.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    Not if you do a one-way dummy booking when fairly new to the process.

    Searching BKK – LGW in CW, the 3rd option comes up initially as 75k avios plus £278.61. Click through and this goes up to £416, which still doesn’t quite tally with what BA charged, but it shows why the OP might think the cash element would be lower.

    JDB 4,553 posts

    Not if you do a one-way dummy booking when fairly new to the process.

    Searching BKK – LGW in CW, the 3rd option comes up initially as 75k avios plus £278.61. Click through and this goes up to £416, which still doesn’t quite tally with what BA charged, but it shows why the OP might think the cash element would be lower.

    The OP may be fairly new to the process but others who aren’t were suggesting it was to do with local TFCs being lower etc. when that wasn’t the issue so that the OP was contemplating rebooking etc. when what they have been charged is entirely normal.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    They’ve been charged a different amount by BA on the phone than they would have paid by booking online, whether it’s because of lower TFCs or just some weird pricing thing that BA currently shows on that route. There are times when it is advantageous to book the inbound and outbound separately but it’s important to look at all the pricing options before booking. OP was urged more than once to double check all the figures.

    This is the pricing currently showing for BKK-LGW:

    100k avios plus £68
    90k avios plus £103
    75k avios plus £278
    52k avios plus £613
    36k avios plus £803

    Bears little resemblance to standard RFS pricing!

    jmartz17 5 posts

    Thanks for the help all. So just to check im understanding right:
    – the 75k and £278 I saw would’ve jumped up to £416 if I’d completed the transaction online (does anyone know why do they do this? surely they could show the correct price on 1st page)
    – if I’d booked return leg online I would’ve saved the ~£300 more I got charged by calling up (but would’ve risked the agent not refunding half the avios later? how often does this happen?)

    Out of interest does anyone know how they justify the more expensive cash element I paid? It’s all very confusing having 3 fares for the same thing (one of which isn’t even correct?)

    I completely agree not worth me losing the seats over £300 but good to better understand this process for future booking

    JDB 4,553 posts

    @jmartz17 – don’t panic, you haven’t overpaid at all. The sum you saw on first screen is often wrong and it does say, final pricing will be on the next screen which represents your actual quote. From what I understand, you ended up paying £1400 cash out of which you have got 2 x UK APD, 2 x airport charges at LGW/BKK (these are both quite low), 25k or 35k Avios off the ‘standard’ pricing (depending whether it was peak, or off peak) each way and the BA surcharge is a bit variable, but appears to run at c. £150pp each way on this route. The breakdown of the charges should be on your confirmation. The ‘standard’ return RFS would have been £550pp but you have paid a smaller amount of Avios, so have paid £150pp more.

    Smudger 1 post

    Hi all, Long time reader, 1st time contributor…. I Just wanted to give feedback on my recent experience of booking flights and using the 241 companion voucher…2 weeks ago I booked (online at 00:00 GMT) 2 outbound flights from LHR to MLE in CW using the 241 voucher. (I managed to get the online process down to about 20 seconds before hitting the “make booking” button).

    Last night I booked the return inbound flight in PE (again online at 01:00 BST) and paid full avios (I didn’t attempt to go for CW as I’m happy in PE for the day flight back and this probably would’ve involved the dreaded phone call to the US number!). So then today I used the messaging/chat function on the BA X/twitter account to contact them to reclaim the 50% avios on the inbound booking and I sent the following message:

    “Hi, my BA executive club number is xxxxxxxx and I’ve just booked on http://BA.COM, my inbound avios flight (booking number xxxxxx) that became open for booking at 1am this morning (09/04/2024) for travel from MLE to LHR on xx/xx/xx. Please can you refund me half the Avios on this booking as this is the return journey of my open flight using the other half of the BA companion voucher. I understand the taxes and fees element will remain the same?”

    After about an hour they responded on the chat asking me for account security info and the outbound booking reference. I sent these through and within 10 minutes the 50% avios was refunded back on my account.

    So my overall experience of the 241 voucher was relatively good and quite an easy process to claim back the avios…. but obviously on the basis you can afford the outlay of the full avios cost upfront, which I know isn’t always the case..

    scholar wong 46 posts

    I just made an open jaw booking over the phone, it wasn’t a problem for us, but the exact outbound flight I wanted which is still showing as available online, wasn’t available when booking over the phone, so we ended up on an earlier outbound flight.

    Is this because the when searching online with the Companion Voucher it showed extra availability? However this wasn’t the case when booking over the phone? Wouldn’t have thought it would make a difference online or over the phone.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    No, they should have been able to book it. Was it all on BA or other/mix?

    If still within 24 hours you could HUACA and see if you can get someone to change it for free.

    scholar wong 46 posts

    No, they should have been able to book it. Was it all on BA or other/mix?

    If still within 24 hours you could HUACA and see if you can get someone to change it for free.

    All BA, that’s useful to know for next time, the earlier flight actually works out a bit better, so we’ll stick with it. Thanks!

    scholar wong 46 posts

    No, they should have been able to book it. Was it all on BA or other/mix?

    If still within 24 hours you could HUACA and see if you can get someone to change it for free.

    All BA, that’s useful to know for next time, the earlier flight actually works out a bit better, so we’ll stick with it. Thanks!

    Ok, so me thinking it works better doesn’t necessarily mean that the wife does. I called up and they changed it without charging any fees as it was within 24 hours.

    Thanks @northernlass

    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)

    Hi folks, I phoned earlier this morning, 00:51, via skype to the US number and got a very helpful agent who got me sorted out with my 2 x CW seats MLE to LHR.
    Many thanks to @northernlass for advice on choosing the option to change booking, agent was very helpful & knowledgeable and knew exactly what was required.

    toekneeheart 15 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)

    Hi folks, I phoned earlier this morning, 00:51, via skype to the US number and got a very helpful agent who got me sorted out with my 2 x CW seats MLE to LHR.
    Many thanks to @northernlass for advice on choosing the option to change booking, agent was very helpful & knowledgeable and knew exactly what was required.

    What was the actual number you called? I tried similar last night – 1-800-452-1201 using Skype and after going through the telephone tree I was told that this line was now closed. Can’t find anyone else having this issue so I am quite confused. Was this because it was A Saturday morning?

  • 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.