BA Companion Voucher Tips

One of the big benefits of collecting Avios is activating ‘companion vouchers’ – also known as a 2 for 1 voucher which enables you to redeem rewards flights using Avios for 2 people – but only using the Avios for 1.

The companion is activated via British Airways American Express Credit Cards – either the Premium Plus (PP) or Standard (Free) version. Read the review of each here.

How do you activate the 2-4-1 Voucher?

The voucher is activated by meeting the required spend threshold. £10,000 per year on the Premium Plus card of £20,000 on the Standard.

Can you have an additional cardholder on the credit card?

Yes! Adding a supplementary card holder means you essentially have two people spending towards the required annual limit.

Can you get more than 1 voucher per year?

No. Not individually anyway.
I’ve tried and only one voucher is allocated to one Primary card holder per annum. Note if you take a BA PP card and hit the £10,000 threshold, you can then ‘downgrade’ to a Free card (and in doing so receive a pro-rata refund for the annual fee you will have paid on the PP card).
When downgrading, it will carry over your spend from the PP card to the Free one. Meaning it will look like you have spent £10,000 of the £20,000 threshold. Note – even if you do then spend up to £20,000 per year, Amex will appear to credit you another voucher but BA (who process the vouchers) will not do this because you have hit your annual limit.
The only workaround is to refer your friend/partner who can then start spending towards their own voucher.

What should I do once I hit my spend threshold and activate a voucher?

If you find you have hit £10,000 spend on the PP card and activated the voucher, you have a few options.

  1. Downgrade the PP card, to receive a pro-rata refund and then spend on the Free Amex card. Note you will drop in £ : Avios ratio for any spend on your card but this is a marginal loss
  2. Cancel the PP card, and look to use another Amex card to work towards other reward bonus (Like an Amex Platinum, Gold or Green). You then can re-open the PP card after 6 months to be eligible for the 25,000 Avios welcome bonus. Note cancelling or downgrading the card does not affect the voucher.
  3. Refer your partner for a PP card, so you can both start spending on your partner’s new card and annual spend limit.
  4. Do nothing. Keep the PP card and wait until your 1 year anniversary has lapsed so you can then work towards another voucher. Although this doesn’t have a lot of value if you consider point 1

How long do I have to use the voucher?

2 years if gained through a PP card or 1 year via the Free version

What flights can I redeem my voucher on?

Any flight that originates and returns to the UK. Only flights that are flown directly with BA are eligible i.e. flights via OneWorld partners are excluded

Where can I check what flights are available?

Either through here or through the Avios portal. I personally prefer the ease and usability of the Avios site. Its easier to navigate around and see what flights/classes are available.

Are there any restrictions on what dates I want to redeem on?

No. However, booking as far out as possible returns more availability as you would expect. That said, flight availability is extremely volatile in my experience so you may think that a certain day/flight class is unavailable and suddenly it can appear!

Can you change your booking with a voucher?

Yes, you can easily change any flight booking you have 24 hours before departure. The cost is £35 per change, per person (plus any changes in taxes which can be both incremental costs or part refunds due to constant changes in airport taxation), so as there would be two of you travelling it would cost £70.
I have done this to upgrade my flight class which wasnt available when orignally booking but became available at a later date, and it actually cost me next to nothing as I got a refund on already paid taxes! So a few extra Avios and around £20 meant I could fly First instead of Business.

Can I fly to and from different locations?

Yes! A lot of people think you cannot do this, as there is no option online to book it. To book an ‘open jaw’ flight you will need to phone BA. Its simple enough to do and you can use the BA/Avios sites to get an idea of the individual flight availability and cost before booking.

You can contact BA directly on: 0844 493 0 747 option 2 (from the UK)

They are available: Daily 07:30 – 20:00

Why Avios?

Let’s start at the beginning. Collecting airmiles can be a great way to travel the world for reduced air fares, whether it be slummin’ it in Economy or drinking champagne in First.
The first thing to note, is there are plenty of mileage/loyalty schemes by a whole plethora of airlines.
In this blog are tips on how to collect and spend Avios points. Avios being the loyalty scheme of British Airways in particular, but due to BA being part of the OneWorld alliance – you can redeem and enjoy flights with a number of different airlines. 17 in fact.

Why bother collecting air miles?

Here’s why I collect.
One of my first jobs was working in Savings and Investments (which is as exciting as it sounds). Its a fairly mundane world. But I took a few life lessons from it. One key one – always make your money work for you…because you can be sure that financial companies do!
Whether it be maximising the interest gained on savings, airmiles on credit cards or loyalty points for your shopping at your local supermarket, always get something back.
The amount of people out there who spend huge percentages of their income and get nothing in way of rewards or benefits is scarily high. You work hard your money, so make it work hard for you.

But anyway, why Avios for me?

A bit of background. I am UK based and a casual traveller (meaning I dont travel for work and therefore don’t accumulate that way), and personally chose Avios for a few reasons.

Firstly, my nearest airport is London Heathrow. The hub of British Airways. I’ll park the debate around whether BA is a good airline or not, but what BA conveniently offers for me is flights to most European and International destinations.
Secondly, as touched on above, being part of OneWorld, the redemption of Avios can be done across different airlines on an endless amount of worldwide routes which makes Avios even more appealing to me personally.
In the last couple of years alone, I’ve been able to fly First class to a number of destinations such as Hong Kong and Tokyo, Business to San Francisco on BA plus a load of flights within Club Europe (BA’s Business Class offering in Europe which is a debatable product) as well as experiencing Business Class on Cathay, Japan Airlines, Air Canada amongst others.
I’ve not done the maths on the total cash saving I have managed to accumulate over the years, but a recent trip in First Class to Hong Kong & Japan cost £550 return (plus an Avios contribution). The equivalent cost on the British Airways website was just over £7,000.

My first bit of advice is to align yourself with one scheme (whether it be Avios or Another).

Collecting points/miles requires quite a bit of dedication (and spend), so if you are like me and a casual traveller, spreading your attention (and spend) across different schemes will make the quest for reward flights that little bit harder. Unless of course, you are a frequent traveller across different airlines already in which you will probably find you can accumulate loyalty rewards quicker than those who are less frequently in the air.

Regardless of the airline scheme you choose. There is one commonality amongst them all. They all require you to spend money. Whether it be on flights or on credit cards. So read on, for some tips on how you can boost your Avios and Redeem to get those flights you want!