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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club How much of a rush should I be in?

  • Ross Phillips 7 posts

    Hi there,
    First of two posts. I have £200k avios and an economy 2-4-1 voucher which expires on 25th June 24 and I’m looking to book flights for myself, my wife and two kids (3&5) from Bristol to Brisbane. I’ve seen I can use the voucher to fly from Heathrow to Sydney (we could stay with friends and then get a local flight to Brisbane a few days later) for 150k avios and £600 which seems like a good deal. The website suggests there are 6 seats available on the 24th and 8 on the 25th, either of which would work for us. Ideally I wouldn’t book until our Visa’s have come through but that could take a long time…so my question is how likely are those seats likely to last? (Yes I realise I’m asking how long a piece of string is, but any rough guide would be useful). Stretch question… I’m currently spending a fair bit on my Amex (house extension) and might trigger another 2-4-1 voucher in January or February… Would it make sense to use it on the same flight for the children or are they treated differently to adults and therefore not worth it?
    Thanks in advance,
    Ross

    phil-lavin 75 posts

    Re 241 voucher for your kids. Assuming they are older than babies and need their own seat, they are treated largely the same.

    However, you must be one of the tickets on a 241 voucher booking. You cannot use two vouchers on the same flight.

    The way around this is to have your wife apply for a BA Amex and qualify for the voucher herself. Then you can have you+kid1 on your voucher and wife+kid2 on hers. You then pay cash fare for other kid(s).

    If you add your wife to your BA household account then she can earn and spend Avios as a combined pool.

    AJA 1,027 posts

    I think the inability to use 2 2-4-1 vouchers on the same flight is a restriction of the blue card economy only version. You definitely can do that with the BAPP version.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 1,866 posts

    The 3 & 5 year old will require their own seats and will pay the full proper taxes and airport fees, BA may do a small discount on their surcharges – they do on revenue tickets so I assume it’s the same with avios. You can check my doing a dummy booking,

    I can see your point about waiting for visas but the good thing about reward seats is that they are cancellable for a £35 fee per person. I’d prefer to get those seats now whilst they are available and cancel if I have to than wait and rely on seats still being available once it comes through.

    phil-lavin 75 posts

    I think the inability to use 2 2-4-1 vouchers on the same flight is a restriction of the blue card economy only version. You definitely can do that with the BAPP version.

    Hmmm! Just read the rules and it seems you’re right. This changes my understanding of the voucher.

    So if I had 2 companion vouchers, I could use them for my partner and I as well as my parents on the same booking? I.e. pay 2 persons Avios for 4 people?

    tiriavpo 300 posts

    You can use 2 vouchers on the same booking, for 4 people, never done it but it is allowable – seems to be the same terms for both free and paid card – quote: Paras 9 and 15

    9. A maximum of two Companion Vouchers can be redeemed at any one time on the same booking e.g. 2 Avios reward fares plus 2 Companion Voucher tickets.

    https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/offers/terms-and-conditions/amex-companion

    I make it 50k avios per person each way – so I think it would be 100k avios plus £600 return per voucher/pair. That seems reasonable compared to BA economy tickets for 2 at about £1500 each although I can see cheaper cash fares on other airlines. The children are a smidge cheaper on cash fares but the same it seems on reward seats.

    Without the second voucher you don’t have enough avios at the standard rate right now, but you can flex the split of avios/cash to use more cash/fewer avios. Although that is low season for travel to Australia, there is no guarantee the seats will be there tomorrow or any time into the future, so if you wait you risk losing the seats.

    As for visas – if all you need is an e-visitor visa, it is likely to come through within a few hours and is valid for a year so you might want to get that done right away.

    Froggee 837 posts

    Hello @Ross

    In summary:

    – nobody knows how much of a rush you should be in to book these flights. Depending how OCD you are you check both dates every morning and if one goes then PANIC.
    – to use two 241s for all four of you, you have to book the flights in one go (ticking both vouchers) for four people. You cannot book with one voucher and then book two more passengers later. If booking two seats, you have to be one of the passengers, if booking four seats you have to be one of the passengers. Golden rule!
    – because you have but tadpoles for children, if you make two separate bookings one child will need to be with one adult. This then gives you the problem that BA will probably seat half your family somewhat distant from the other half. This is suboptimal. You could of course pay to all sit together after doing such a booking but that is more money.

    So my suggestion is do everything you can to trigger the second voucher as soon as you can.

    Here is a thread with some thoughts on bringing forward your Amex spending. If you’re short on ideas I’d love a hot tub thanks very much. If you end up paying interest on credit card debt doing this then it is less beneficial.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/tips-to-hit-amex-platinum-6k-spend-target/

    John 968 posts

    The 3 & 5 year old will require their own seats and will pay the full proper taxes and airport fees, BA may do a small discount on their surcharges – they do on revenue tickets so I assume it’s the same with avios. You can check my doing a dummy booking,

    It’s economy so no APD for the kids, but I thought the surcharges would be the same

    I would just book now or as soon as you have the vouchers. 6 months is plenty of time for visas, even permanent residence visas. Unless you are a secret agent born in a hostile country, grew up in a refugee camp and your kids have different mothers neither of whom you have ever lived with.

    TooPoorToBeHere 255 posts

    Redemption availability to Australia is quite precious. I’m afraid I don’t think the “try to trigger another voucher and hope it’s still there afterwards” idea is much cop.

    Get it booked now.

    If you have the second 2-for-1 you can later *consider* later cancelling it, hoping the inventory becomes immediately available again, and then re-booking it on the same call using the voucher.

    I have done this sort of thing before (cancel a booking, have the seat drops straight back in to inventory as available, then immediately rebook it) and been lucky, but it’s not guaranteed to work.

    If you have the second 2-for-1 and it’s coming up to departure time, you *may* find a risk-free re-booking opportunity arises, because more inventory becomes available. This is a thing I have had happen: as the departure date nears, if there are a lot of unsold seats, BA open up more of them for redemption.

    Ross Phillips 7 posts

    Thanks everyone for the replies and sensible advice. Reward flights booked, using the voucher I have. Will still think about cashing out the remaining avios I have and switching to another loyalty programme wth easier points accumulation in Australia or just keeping them for the longer term future!

    Ross Phillips 7 posts

    An update:

    I upgraded my amex last month as my spend was on just over £9k and sure enough this month I have triggered another 2-4-1 voucher, but this time the one that lasts two years and can be used in more than just economy.

    As a reminder I’m planning to fly (family of four) to Oz in June one way as we’ll be there for 3.5 years whilst my wife does a PhD.

    So I currently have 4 economy tickets booked from Lon to Syd using a previous 2-4-1 voucher + 150,000 Avios + £600 on June 24th. Worth noting that I have 50,000 Avios left.

    The question is whether I should cancel that and try to rebook using both vouchers which would still cost £600 but reduce Avios spend too 100,000. That would mean I would have 100,000 left for help with flights back to the UK within the 3.5 years (assuming I won’t be able to earn many Avios points while living out there and earning in AUD.) The alternative is to leave as is and I might be able to buy enough Avios / spend before we go, to get to enough to be able to use the new voucher during the next two years for a last minute flight back (which with elderly and not terribly well parents feels quite likely)… My understanding is that the better 2-4-1 vouchers opens up more rewards flight availability so perhaps worth keeping just for that!

    Lastly, am I being silly using vouchers for one way flights?

    Cheers in advance for any thoughts!

    The Savage Squirrel 545 posts

    (which with elderly and not terribly well parents feels quite likely)

    My thoughts are that Avios are made for situations like that.

    Last minute availability (i.e. tomorrow) is often quite good even on airlines with joke regular availability (Qantas). Conversely, cash tickets, even in economy can be many times the “normal” cost for next day travel.

    I hope you never need it but I would definitely get my ducks in a row here:

    – always retain sufficient Avios for one “emergency” flight back to the UK
    – If this means you just have to pay cash for one or more of your current Aus flights then so be it. Take the hit. You don’t want to save £300 on something now vs cash costs and then have the additional stress forking out £1000s when it REALLY matters to get there and you have enough worries.
    – have your BA account setup so that it is linked to Qatar and check that Avios can flow between them with a small transaction; this will give you more options.
    – hopefully all this will be entirely redundant and unused; one of those situations where you’re very happy if it turns out to have been a “mistake” doing things this way, but still a comfort to know you have it in place…

    NorthernLass 6,706 posts

    @Ross – the BAPP 241 only opens up more availability in CW (and even then it’s not guaranteed), so you’d need to factor in the number of avios you’d need for that.

    AJA 1,027 posts

    I think The Savage Squirrel makes some good points though I think I’d stick with what is booked. Don’t forget that RFS pricing allows you to use fewer Avios and more cash so it’s not critical if you have only got 50k Avios. If the worst happens you can buy Avios for 1.6p if you need to. Just keeping a pot of 200k Avios in case you need to travel last minute seems a bit risky to me especially as they expire after 3 years if you don’t earn or spend Avios. This is something to consider if you are moving for an extended period to Australia although if only for 2 years the Avios would not expire.

    Aquarius12 37 posts

    Avios not necessarily expiring after 3 years – The Avios you’ve earned will stay in your account as long as you collect, spend, share or purchase at least one Avios every 36 months. Plenty of ways of making sure you keep hold of Avios sure there was an article on it

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