Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • hugol0ver 54 posts

    BA.com:

    If you have booked directly with British Airways and you notice a mistake with your booking after you have paid for your ticket(s), you can cancel your flight booking and claim a full refund without penalty, up to 24 hours from when you make the original booking. Refunds under these circumstances can be requested by calling our contact centres, with the exception of bookings made for travel within 24 hours, Avios bookings which can be managed online, and British Airways Holidays bookings made on ba.com which are not covered under this option.

    My understanding of the cooling of policy is:

    -Valid for any flight booked more than 24h in advance of departure time
    -For all BA.com bookings, including redemptions, but excludes BA Holidays
    -If both criteria are fulfilled, a full refund can be issued via the Call Centre if cancelled within 24h from booking

    By example, an Avios or Cash booking made for a flight at 4PM for departure the next day at 6PM could be cancelled for a full refund until 4PM the next day. Technically, you could even ticket at 24 and 2 mins, and you’d be able to make use of it, however, if it was 23h59min you’d be SOL.

    It doesn’t matter if its less than 24h to departure when you wish to cancel as long as you booked more than 24h from departure. As in the above example, it’s therefore fully refundable until 2 hours before departure.

    Cooling off policy supersedes other policies, for example, fare rules for cancellation, Avios rules etc.

    Would that be correct?

    memesweeper 1,317 posts

    My understanding was you couldn’t cancel for free within 24h of the flight. However your interpretation may be more in line with what the rules say.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    I’d booked a flight more than 24h from departure and I needed to cancel it inside the 24h period but I was refused saying it was now too close to departure, being less than 24h.

    I had push back from poorly informed staffers who were informing me the conditions I accept on the Avios booking page are paramount, however, that is not the cooling off policy, its the Avios T&C where you pay £35 for the privilege or they eat up your cash component if its less and its available up to 24h before departure, as all Avios tickets. Cooling off is FOC.

    They were telling me that the cooling off is calculated as a differential between the booking time and 24h to departure. Book at 6PM for a 9PM flight the next day you have a 3 hour cooling off. This is incorrect and quite amusing. And also, the text I quoted above means the time you act…this was especially the case with the second-language English speakers I spoke to, who struggled to understand “with the exception of bookings made for travel within 24 hours” they couldn’t get their heads around this is the exemption that it doesn’t apply if you book less than 24h to departure its not *when* you call BA.

    The cooling off is over decade old, and was sometimes poorly understood by staff but by checking the so-called “Easy Guides” it was clarified what to do. That’s no more. I am not sure they even exist?

    In this case, the agent could have easily put it through as a cooling off but refused to do so. There was an option on the system to tick this type of cancellation and she informed me the system would recognise its eligible for a full refund (!) but they said the “Avios terms” supersede the cooling-off policy. The logic of a cooling-off existing to supersede all other cancellation policies was lost on her. I asked, “could you tick that box for any booking then, even if I’d booked 6 months ago and put it through free of charge” she answered “No, it would give me an error and wouldn’t work” so I replied “Might that not be an indicator that the system is setup per the policy, if it would let you put it through, might that not be by design?” “No, it’s for me to decide which policy”.

    I asked how would it be if this was a cash ticket, not Avios and was informed that she had no idea because all she did was cancel Avios bookings, she didn’t even change them that’s “amendments”, another department. What a job…not even competent at that.

    It was funny, it was a Carole Beer computer says “yes” situation, but I know best, and I’m saying no.

    After much back and forth, the time was up anyway so the cash and Avvies were lost. She said she would send me a cancellation email, but I didn’t even get that.

    I will complain, but what a lot of fuss and now time and cost to solve something so simple.

    CWS wrote on FT in March:

    If you book an Avios flight you do get a 24 hour cooling off period for a full refund, but not if you buy it with less than 24 hours to departure. So in this sort of scenario you may want to buy at say 26 hours to departure, you can still cancel until 2 hours to departures but if you buy it at 23 hours to departure then there is no refund.

    Fortunately, I don’t fly BA very much anymore but obviously needs can arise. Its been a real eye opener just how awful their call centre’s have become, they were never amazing but they were generally competent, especially Manchester. This is an incredibly simple matter, had the agents followed what their system was allowing them (read: setup to do) I could have been off the call quicker than the pointless data protection questions take to answer. Even Gold and GGL agents are rubbish now. The biggest issue is making stuff up as they go. GGL agent in India told a friend “Avios is 48 hours cancellation, no cooling off”. Another was told he had to pay J YQ on a LAX ($800) when upgrading with a GUF from Y to PE because the European segment goes from Y to J therefore the whole journey needs the J YQ, this was backed up by the similarly useless and ill-informed “fares department”.

    When I call LOT I’m typically through in seconds to someone who is generally competent and shockingly, can even reissue a ticket without sending it to a queue :D.

    JDB 4,813 posts

    @hugol0ver – I’m not sure your interpretation of the BA cooling off policy is correct, nor is there anything to suggest that it overrides the Avios redemption booking terms; the reference to Avios bookings is at best ambiguous, but the intention is clear. The outcomes you have highlighted show that it makes little sense. My understanding is that the 24hr cooling off policy has or is moving to 7 days prior to booking.

    PS your experience with LOT is obviously very different to my son’s who recounted the hours he has spent this week sorting out a booking with LOT using a covid era voucher. Resolved in the end, but not easy and he definitely knows his way around the system.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    It hasn’t moved to 7 days prior to booking. You’re getting confused with the DOT rules which have always said you need to book more than 7 days in advance to have 24h. That goes back years. BA’s cooling off is quoted in my post and applied to all BA.com bookings, except BAH online.

    The purpose of a cooling off is to allow pax to cancel regardless of the rules associated with their type of ticket.

    Using vouchers on LOT, is very easy, what was the matter? Had they expired? They can still issue vouchers for cancelled flights, by the way.

    JDB 4,813 posts

    It hasn’t moved to 7 days prior to booking. You’re getting confused with the DOT rules which have always said you need to book more than 7 days in advance to have 24h. That goes back years. BA’s cooling off is quoted in my post and applied to all BA.com bookings, except BAH online.

    The purpose of a cooling off is to allow pax to cancel regardless of the rules associated with their type of ticket.

    Using vouchers on LOT, is very easy, what was the matter? Had they expired? They can still issue vouchers for cancelled flights, by the way.

    It’s clear the policy doesn’t apply to Avios bookings – your interpretation re Avios, is I believe, incorrect and would give an advantage to Avios bookings originally made on the telephone which would be an absurd distinction.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    With your experience I am surprised you’re struggling with this one, especially your categorical “its clear”.

    There is already an “absurd” distinction, that BAH booked on the phone benefit from the cooling off, that BA.com sales of BAH do not.

    British Airways Holidays bookings made on ba.com which are not covered under this option

    You now think that Avios bookings don’t have any cooling off at all, when booked online? Or they’re 7 days, per your earlier post? What’s making you think that Avios bookings only benefit from a cooling off when booked via phone.

    I mention BA.com because that’s how I booked, but the terms are clear.

    If you have booked directly with British Airways and you notice a mistake with your booking after you have paid for your ticket(s), you can cancel your flight booking and claim a full refund without penalty, up to 24 hours from when you make the original booking. Refunds under these circumstances can be requested by calling our contact centres, with the exception of bookings made for travel within 24 hours, Avios bookings which can be managed online, and British Airways Holidays bookings made on ba.com which are not covered under this option.

    “Direct” means by phone or telesales. To be clear for anyone reading, Avios and cash bookings sold direct, that means by phone or online are covered. Tickets issued via agencies or other intermediaries, do not.

    Avios bookings which can be managed online

    Is this what’s throwing you? That refers to the ability to manage online or not. If it works online, no need to call.

    I’ve trawled through FlyerTalk this morning and I can see nothing to counter my interpretation of the rule posted on BA.com.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    By the way, you won’t share the LOT voucher issue?

    JDB 4,813 posts

    By the way, you won’t share the LOT voucher issue?

    I didn’t share because it’s quite tedious! In short my son got a £250 by email but a month later was told it had been sent in error and should have been for £175 which after much to and fro LOT agreed was wrong and sent a replacement £250. All in writing. When he came to use it last week, they said it was still only £175. Supervisor then agreed should be £250 but needed to pass to ticketing who said thru couldn’t make voucher work for £250. Eventually manager created a new £75 voucher and ticket was issued.

    JDB 4,813 posts

    @hugol0ver – we aren’t going to agree on this!

    There is nothing at all to say that the cooling off period supersedes Avios/redemption booking terms, so it’s not surprising that you haven’t found anything to support or refute your argument there.

    I don’t think anyone else has ever suggested that you can make an Avios booking at T-26 hours and thereby be able cancel at two hours notice. Avios bookings have the added penalty of losing the return Avios as well, even if that were a month a way.

    Let us know how your complaint to BA goes or how you intend to pursue the matter if they say no, as you are so convinced of your position.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    It’s a pity you didn’t post here, especially due to all the time spent going back and forth. An EMD (voucher) can’t be magically increased, it would need to be voided, then reissued for a higher amount or a second EMD issued to supplement the EMD. You can also check the value of the EMD on the website, and indeed bookings can be made there too.

    Nevertheless its good it was resolved by common sense prevailing. Not something I can say about BA.

    hugol0ver 54 posts

    @hugol0ver – we aren’t going to agree on this!

    There is nothing at all to say that the cooling off period supersedes Avios/redemption booking terms, so it’s not surprising that you haven’t found anything to support or refute your argument there.

    I don’t think anyone else has ever suggested that you can make an Avios booking at T-26 hours and thereby be able cancel at two hours notice. Avios bookings have the added penalty of losing the return Avios as well, even if that were a month a way.

    Let us know how your complaint to BA goes or how you intend to pursue the matter if they say no, as you are so convinced of your position.

    I did find it, it’s written here. The cooling off policy quoted below.

    The staff are not denying it exists, they are saying it’s calculated as a differential between the ticketing time and 24h from departure. Book at 3PM for a flight at 6PM the next day, the cooling off is 3 hours only. They quote the text below, but as you can see, there is no mention of this supplementary rule which is vastly different from what I quote. The procedure is the same for cash tickets as it is for Avios tickets, booked by phone or online.

    It’s written here: https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/legal/customer-commitment/our-customer-commitment#cancellations

    If you have booked directly with British Airways and you notice a mistake with your booking after you have paid for your ticket(s), you can cancel your flight booking and claim a full refund without penalty, up to 24 hours from when you make the original booking. Refunds under these circumstances can be requested by calling our contact centres, with the exception of bookings made for travel within 24 hours, Avios bookings which can be managed online, and British Airways Holidays bookings made on ba.com which are not covered under this option.

    The text during the Avios flow:

    or bookings cancelled up to 1 full day before outbound departure, a charge may be levied. All Avios will be re-credited to the member’s account and cash will be refunded.

    is the standard terms and conditions.

    There is no mention of the cooling off at all, I carefully read the terms, going by the terms there you’d think there is no cooling off whatsoever. But, it’s a separate policy, the link of which I’ve posted above.

    There’s plenty of examples on Flyertalk. I posted one earlier. Is there anyone more informed that C-W-S about BA? He’s certainly more informed about BA than BA (but that’s not difficult).

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/2114741-avios-cooling-off-period.html

    If you book an Avios flight you do get a 24 hour cooling off period for a full refund, but not if you buy it with less than 24 hours to departure. So in this sort of scenario you may want to buy at say 26 hours to departure, you can still cancel until 2 hours to departures but if you buy it at 23 hours to departure then there is no refund.

    I think it is expained upthread, so there isn’t much point repeating it again, but yes it’s a 24 hours for all bookings except BAH but including redemptions. This is for refunds or amendments without fee (but any fare differences may still apply). The simple exception it that it doesn’t apply if your flight is less than 24 hours off at the time of booking, no refund / amend provision on that. 24 hours and 1 second hypothetically gives you the protection. The 2 hours I used in my example was simply 26-24=2, there wasn’t anything special about it being 2 hours.

    Unless the policy changed recently (but I think not, as I see from Wayback the text remains the same for a long time) I’d be willing to bet my house it’s as CWS described. Plus, as I pointed out, the system would allow the agent to refund it, she just refused to.

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