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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

  • AB29 12 posts

    Thank you NorthernLass

    jamie 31 posts

    For those that booked their return using full avios & contacted the twitter team for the 50% refund, how long did the refund take? I’ve been waiting over a week, is this normal?

    Iainm 55 posts

    Does anyone know how long it will take to receive the Avios and voucher back on a cancelled Iberia 2-4-1?

    I did have an open jaw booking from Madrid to USA for next year.

    I know I should have did it before hand, but once I calculated the positioning flights to and from Madrid, plus an internal in USA to get to where I want it was actually going to be more expensive than with BA (albeit BA would be a bit more Avios).

    Anyway, I cancelled the flights yesterday and as soon as the Avios and voucher are back I’ll book the BA flights, so was just wondering if anyone had experience of how long that will take? I know BA are refunded immediately.

    Would it be worth phoning BA to make it quicker?

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    @jamie, have BA confirmed via Twitter that they have processed the refund? It should really be instantaneous after that and definitely within a couple of days. If this hasn’t happened, I’d follow it up, maybe via chat as you can have more of a normal conversation that way.


    @Iainm
    , again it’s usually instantaneous but you might need to log out and back in to see them. If they’re not there after a couple of days, you might need to chase up.

    jamie 31 posts

    @jamie, have BA confirmed via Twitter that they have processed the refund? It should really be instantaneous after that and definitely within a couple of days. If this hasn’t happened, I’d follow it up, maybe via chat as you can have more of a normal conversation that way.


    @Northernlass
    the reply I had from the twitter team was that they had requested a 50% avios refund for the booking. I chased them a couple of days ago and they said they couldn’t give me any idea of timeframe.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    If it’s been over a week I’d get onto chat as the request may have got lost in the system and need re-doing. I had this once with a 241 which didn’t come back and they did it there and then.

    DJP31 96 posts

    For those that booked their return using full avios & contacted the twitter team for the 50% refund, how long did the refund take? I’ve been waiting over a week, is this normal?


    @jamie
    as suggested by @northernlass if you haven’t already I’d ring BAEC – I rang them today to get a 50% refund and it was immendiately processed and my Avios balance updated staightaway.

    Iainm 55 posts

    @NorthernLass.
    Points haudn’t appear back by late afternoon yesterday.
    Quick phone call did the trick.

    xefo 49 posts

    Sorry if this has been asked before, when booking the return leg separately, am I able to use a different combination of avios + taxes or must it match what was used for the outbound flight. Outbound is IB inbound with BA if it matters.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    Asked numerous times on this thread, but briefly most BA agents stipulate this, you might be lucky and get one who doesn’t, but don’t count on it.

    xefo 49 posts

    Asked numerous times on this thread, but briefly most BA agents stipulate this, you might be lucky and get one who doesn’t, but don’t count on it.

    Thanks very much, what if I’m booking the return online (separate bookings), do I have free choice then?

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    You can, but you might struggle to get the 50% avios refunded, if that’s your plan. Several data points (in this thread!) where BA has refused to do this.

    SandsofEss 33 posts

    I called the US number at 00:50 last night. Was told I had to call back in 3/4 minutes. Then when I did, I got the “This office is closed” message. As others have experienced.

    I managed to book my flights online thankfully, but I need to book the return leg next week. Given the issues with the US number, is the Australian one the best to call please? Or is there an alternative office you’d recommend?

    I don’t have enough Avios to do a “book and refund” unfortunately.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    People have mentioned Australia and Japan, I think, though they may be the same number.
    Where are you going? Have you been tracking seat releases to see how fast they are getting booked?

    SandsofEss 33 posts

    People have mentioned Australia and Japan, I think, though they may be the same number.
    Where are you going? Have you been tracking seat releases to see how fast they are getting booked?

    Tokyo, so I need to move fast! Thanks for the pointer. I’ll look up the Japan / Australia numbers.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    Well, SeatSpy is showing 2 and 4 x CW for May 12th and 13th. I’ve been keeping an eye on the route just out of curiosity – it’s one which has just never appealed to me but who knows, I may well be converted one day! Return seats do seem to be hanging around longer now than they certainly were in March/April/Easter/Cherry Blossom season.

    CJD 75 posts

    What’s the best way of seeing the additional availability opened up by the 2-4-1 voucher, particularly if you’re connecting from a regional airport to Heathrow?

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    The easiest way is just to search for it via BA (or call them and ask).

    R2 17 posts

    My experience of successfully booking Club World flights on a sought after route, 355 days in advance, as below.

    I did a couple of online trial runs at 1am prior to when my desired seats were released. I worked out exactly how many Avios was required (are the dates I required peak or off peak?) by looking at BA Avios Reward availability. The next ‘unavailable’ date (Available at 1am tomorrow) indicates whether its peak or off peak.

    My plan was to execute the bookings online only and tidy up with a call to BA after. I used a Chrome browser (Private relay off and Safari didn’t work for me). I had my second passenger first name copied to clipboard and the 4 digit Amex CVC code to hand (My BA AMEX PP details were already in my BA account as a saved payment card).

    Both times I logged in and at 12:55 selected ‘Book a flight with Avios’. Then I inserted the search criteria and hit search the moment it turned 1am.

    Outbound was booked with companion voucher. You need to whizz through the people travelling and payment screens (Choose the most avios if using companion voucher). Done this within a minute. When searching for the same seats a couple of minutes after my booking, all reward seats were gone.

    The same process was applied to book the inbound at a later date. I had enough Avios to book the return flights in full without the use of a companion voucher (if you have another companion voucher, you can use that also and get refunded when you call).

    I then called BA in the morning after selecting the correct options e.g. amending an avios booking using a companion voucher (No wait time for me). The two booking references were linked and half of the inbound avios was refunded and hit my account within 10 mins. There was no recalculation of taxes also 🙂

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    Glad you got your seats, but your booking references aren’t actually linked, they are still 2 separate PNRs. So you’d be liable for double fees if you change or cancel, but you do have extra flexibility if your travel plans change.

    No need to recalculate taxes on a straightforward CW RFS booking, this would only happen if you had one leg in F, or your destination had lower tax on the return, and you were asking BA to add the inbound leg rather than refund the 50% avios.

    R2 17 posts

    The Agent specifically said I would only be charged one set of fees if I was to cancel.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    They’re wrong, I’m afraid! If you still have 2 separate PNRs, you’d be charged for each of those. Unfortunately there are quite a lot of poorly-informed agents these days.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

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

    Rob mentions it in this article and several of us on here can confirm that this is what happens!

    I’ve found it mostly works in my favour – e.g. last year we decided to fly home from MCO on VS rather than MIA on BA. I’d booked the inbound separately so there was no issue cancelling and getting the standard refund even though we’d flown the outbound.

    cfnbennett 6 posts

    Sharing a recent experience with booking a 2-4-1 companion voucher ticket LHR-SFO HND-LHR by way of giving back the benefit of my experience, having used the information from this community heavily in the last few months!

    Tl;dr – Key Takeaways
    1. There are good agents and less good agents. If you don’t get what you want and believe it’s within the rules, keep trying! Particularly be aware that you might get ‘the B team’ who seem to have a poorer grasp of the rules during unsociable working hours.
    2. As noted elsewhere, US customer service agents appear to have been instructed that they shouldn’t be assisting UK customers.
    3. The open jaw companion voucher rules around distance hold up (distance from in route A-B, C-A, distance B-C must be shorter than both A-B and C-A), although it seems it is possible to change the return leg outside of routes within the same fare zone. (see ‘The British Airways Open Jaw Rule section here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/03/21/booking-open-jaw-redemption-flight-using-avios-points-2/).
    4. Thanks to HfP for helping me and my partner plan the trip of a lifetime!

    Booked LHR-SFO approx. 355 days out for 27th September 2024. Fast forward to late April 2024 and we’re waiting for J availability from HND to LHR to become available but despite calling the US customer service at 1am/just before 1am on multiple occasions we had no success. Several agents were quite rude and confirmed that they were not supposed to be serving customers in the UK. We called the UK customer services and despite having a helpful agent there was no availability from Tokyo so we settled for a return from LAX to LHR under the advice that we would be able to change it at a later date if availability from Tokyo came up (we’re planning several months of traveling, so this was far from ideal but we could make it work).

    Availability came up few weeks later so we called up on two consecutive days during the late May bank holiday and both times the agents denied us the change on the basis that we couldn’t return from a different continent. On both occasions the agents put the call on hold to check with their duty managers. At first I wondered if we’d come up against the problem of changing a ticket to a different avios fare zone (LAX and HND are different fare zones) but the second agent explained that this was not the issue and it was simply that the route we were proposing was not permitted regardless.

    However, the Tuesday after the bank holiday we tried yet again and had a completely different experience. The agent was very helpful and more than happy to change the LAX-LHR leg to HND-LHR, subject to a 35 GBP pp ticket change fee, 50 GBP pp additional taxes and 5k pp avios. In fact, the agent remarked upon what great value we were getting for such a significant increase in the distance we were flying, and he even congratulated us on getting the most out of our voucher.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    @cfnbennett, that does sound like the trip of a lifetime! I bet you were giddy about getting those HND seats, lol. Do you mean you booked them today? Had they reappeared in the inventory, or were they “extra” availability that the agent could see?

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