The questions on Inside Flyer or Quora reveal significant confusion around the British Airways Companion Voucher. Responses are often contradictory, adding to the lack of understanding around this valuable perk of British Airways AMEX cards.
British Airways companion voucher myths
Some readers are adamant that short haul is the best way to use the ‘AMEX companion voucher’, whilst others stress that long haul is better. Here’s some research I undertook on this subject.
Disagreements arise over availability, value and quality. So if you are wondering, whether to invest in a BA AMEX card, to earn your own BOGOF deal, stay tuned over the coming weeks. We will reveal the answers to a ton of frequently asked questions.
Introducing the British Airways companion voucher
If you are a seasoned travel hacker, this voucher will need no introduction. Hell, you have probably redeemed a bunch of them yourself and figured out some of the restrictions and benefits.
However, if you are a newbie to this game, the companion voucher is awarded to British Airways AMEX card holders after reaching a set amount of spend in a year. If you opt for the FREE British Airways AMEX card, then you will need to spend £20,000 on the card. But, if you decide to apply for the Premium card, you will only need to spend £10,000.
This voucher allows you to redeem AVIOS for one flight, but two of you actually get to travel. You still have to pay taxes and fees for both travellers, but for long haul flights in Club or First, this voucher can literally save you thousands.
FAQs about the BA Companion ticket
Now that you have a basic idea of what the companion ticket does, I am sure you have plenty more questions. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to create a dedicated BA companion voucher series. This series will be your ultimate guide to the companion ticket, answering all the most common questions.
These seem to fall into the following categories.
Earning a companion ticket
Typical questions are:
- How can I quickly earn a companion voucher?
- Can I earn more than one companion ticket in a year?
Maybe you have a different query. Just pop it in the comments below and we will make sure it gets answered over the course of the next month.
Redeeming companion vouchers
This is the topic which generates the most queries and includes a raft of things, such as:
- What is the best way to use your BA companion voucher?
- Do I have to pay the taxes and fees for my BA companion voucher on a AMEX card?
- Is the BA companion ticket worthwhile?
- Can you mix classes using the British Airways two for one ticket?
- Is it possible to fly open jaw using the BA together ticket?
- Can companion vouchers be used on all flights?
- Can I use my companion voucher and cash to cover the cost of a flight?
- Should I use my companion ticket for long haul or short haul flights?
- Where is the best place to go with my voucher?
Does this list cover everything you want to know? If not, pop your question below. I may even give you a shoutout, but don’t expect BBC to come calling any time soon.
Interplay between the credit card and the companion ticket
This mainly revolves around whether you can cancel your card before using the AMEX companion voucher. Again, do let me know if you have any other queries.
Am I missing anything?
I’m not sure how many posts this will cover as that is really down to you and the number of questions you have but the plan is to deal with each topic in detail, providing top tips to help you earn or spend your vouchers.
I’m contemplating a trip next year where me and a friend would fly out from the UK to South America, and my friend would fly back (and take the return leg of the flight) while I’d stay on to do some more travelling. Obviously the T&Cs of the voucher state that I must be one of the travellers and my companion must travel on the same flight & cabin with me – theoretically, is there anything stopping me (as lead traveller) just not turning up for the flight and my companion still flying? (Or, more cynically, both of us checking in and me inadvertently “missing” the flight…?)
HI there, thanks for asking. Can I just check, are you saying that you would do one leg only and then simply aim to book another flight for the return leg?
Also I presume you are the Executive Club member. Is your friend also a member and looking to piggy back on your companion voucher?
In honesty, I have never tried to do this. The T & C do state ‘The Member and their Companions must travel together at all times and therefore must be booked onto the same flight and cabin class when travelling using a voucher’ but whether in practice your suggestion would work is unknown. They could insist that your friend cannot travel without you and then what would you do? If I am honest, I am not sure it would be worth the risk. Furthermore, if you were to use the CV to upgrade, wouldn’t you want the benefit both ways? Or were you proposing redeeming in economy class which I do not recommend in any case as you will get considerably less value than for business or first class redemptions. Where are you planning to go?
I’m a massive fan of the 2-4-1 voucher and have recently redeemed for a First Class Flight to Japan. Whilst the BA product which you’re limited to is now quite dated, visiting the likes of the Concorde Room at Heathrow is a very memorable experience.
Yes, I loved the Concorde room. Where have you booked in Japan? We went skiing there a few years back and are considering booking for NY 2019. It was incredible.
Having recently got my first voucher, I’ve looked at baredemptions.com a couple of times, but it’s not very easy to use on a mobile. I’ll persevere on the PC soon.
I know I need to be very flexible, but that in itself seems to be a bit problematic.
So… questions… is it possible to book from, say, Inverness, where taxes and duties are (considerably!) more favourable? Are there any other similar tricks to minimise costs and maximise value?
Can the voucher be used to buy non-direct tickets, so some stop overs could be taken advantage of? Is there an impact to this?
Simon I will come back to you this evening with a full response. Great questions
Hi Simon, I read a post on HFP last week about booking from Scotland for lower taxes. I’ve never tried it and sadly I can’t find the post. If I come across it I will send you the link.
It is possible on CV tickets to stopover and it will ask whether you want to when you go to redeem. If you have plenty of time, this can be a great way to view multiple destinations. You can also use your CV to fly into one city and fly out of another but you need to ring BA to book. What you can’t do is use your CV to fly airlines other than BA so that can be limiting but they have such a good route network you should be able to find something.
You might want to check out some of the other CV posts to help you out. https://frommilestosmiles.com/?s=Companion+voucher
Sadly the three biggest tips I can give is to be flexible, book as far in advance as possible and book off peak. There always seems to be availability for China, India and the Middle East but it’s more difficult for the Far East. I tend to pick three to five destinations I fancy and a rough date, then do a bunch of search options,
I was surprised by how easy I found it to get first class to Canada, maybe another reunion? Sounds like you have had a great year of travel. Have you been to SOuth Africa? Sadly I’ve never managed to find a reward seat but wow, what a country!
I must have missed this reply, sorry…
I was VERY lucky to have to travel down to south Africa for work a few years back. Well, I say ‘lucky’, but it was a bit of a double edged sword, so to speak. I flew there seven times, all but the last two in CW. The penultimate flight was down to Cape Town/back from Jo’burg, though because the budget was running out, I was sent Economy. However (and this was part of the double edge), most of the time I was catching an overnight from Heathrow and going straight to the office when I landed, for some very intense meetings with clients. So when I flew to CT, they said ‘go a day or two early and recover’. Cool, I thought – swim with the sharks, do Table Mountain, etc – particularly as the other visits left no time for sight seeing.
However, Table Mountain was closed due to bad weather and apparently sharks don’t have umbrellas, so I couldn’t see them either 🙁
But I did stay over one weekend, and was very lucky to get taken to Addo Elephant Park by one of my clients. And, probably the best thing in some respects, got bumped at the gate on the way home one time and flew back in First on a 747 – typically, though, as it was at the end of the week, I spent loads of it asleep!
But that’s another story!
Hi Simon we are in British Colombia at the moment having flown out in first to Vancouver. It really makes the world of difference. I actually didn’t want to get off the plane.
What a shame you didn’t get to see more in South Africa though. That place stole my heart. What were you doing for work?
Maybe time to go back although I’ve yet to ever have any joy finding reward flights for South Africa. Let me know if you do…
I’ve just got a new CV and am planning on using it for Costa Rica next year. Have you been?
I love Canada – the warmth and welcome of America without the attitude or artificialness 😁
I was working on the implementation of social housing IT systems in Jo’burg – very boring, I’m afraid!
I haven’t been to Costa Rica… sounds exotic. I’m starting to think more about an SF/LA split for our CV – quite a bit of availability!
Sounds fascinating honestly. Very worthwhile.
I was talking only yesterday to Jason about combining his 50th celebrations in Vegas with SF and Yosemite. I haven’t been on twenty years so things will have changed a bit! We are heading to Seattle in a few days and it will be my first visit to the States in five years (used to go 2-3 times a year) but the whole Brexit/Trump debacles makes it look expensive and makes me feel jaded lol 😂
I always used to fancy the idea of Vegas, but having been to Caesars in Windsor, I though there was quite an air of tragic to it…
Mind you, that was just ‘on the floor’. The shows and entertainment always look good.
Omg we went to see Kelly Clarkson there and I was so ill, I had to keep running to the bathroom to throw up. There’s no real comparison though. Vegas is all about the showmanship whereas Windsor is just a casino. I’m not a gambler but I loved Vegas because of all the shows, drama and exhibitionist casinos. Plus it helps that it is near to some incredible scenery. You should definitely go once!
Yeah, I probably should… I realise there’s a vast difference, particularly as Vegas is full of competing venues that have to offer something bigger and better than the next place.
And it definitely does that. Last time I went was 2003 so a while. It constantly reinvents itself so suspect things will have changed a lot since I was last there
My brother stayed at the pyramid- thingy in 96, then got married in a helicopter flying around the area. He seemed to enjoy it! 😀
Ha ha you mean Luxor. Getting married in an helicopter would be prettt cool. I thought about renewing our vows in the canyon but we will more likely go do something really tacky like renew our vows with elvis in the little white chapel
Yup, that’s the one! The only sad thing about it was nobody got to share the experience, as they just went out by themselves.
Tacky is great for renewing your vows, though!
Oh yeah tackier the better for a renewal! Our friends are coming with us so they would be so up for it too. I might even be able to persuade them to do the deed as they’ve been together about 23 years
You always have the best tips for flights! I’ve never heard of this, but I don’t every fly BA, so it looks like I should definitely look into it. Learning more about travel hacks needs to be one of my 2018 travel resolutions.
Well this is the first I have heard of the British Airways Companion Pass but it sounds like a good deal to me! I suppose I would really need to be British to take advantage of this type of deal? In my last job I had an Alaskan Airlines credit card and it offered a companion fare for $99 – it was a great deal! Especially because they flew between most west coast cities and Hawaii. Perfect for a quick beach break with your significant other!
I have yet to fly with them but I hear so many good things
We use miles for flying a ton but we rarely fly through BA so we haven’t really had a chance to explore this option yet. It sounds really fantastic though! BOGO’s are always nice, especially when they are in regard to flights! Looking forward to learning more throughout your series!
I never knew about the voucher! Anything that allows me to fly for free I am interested to know more about. Fantastic and thorough post. I really enjoyed learning more 🙂
I have never heard of this before! It did sound confusing at first, but I’m glad that you’ve spelled it out a bit more clearly for people wanting to take advantage of this! I flew British Airways for the first time last year and had a great experience!
Seems like Companion ticket is a great idea. We hardly ever need to fly BA where I live and non of the local airlines seems to have something equivalent. I hope some airlines are hearing in India!
All the same I would like to know the answers to the questions you have listed 🙂
First time I’m hearing of the companion voucher, but it sounds like a great scheme – an even better one if there was less confusion and a clear set of guidelines for people on how they could use it! I think you’ve covered a great list of questions here, and look forward to reading your continued series on the companion vouchers. From having participated in credit card rewards schemes before, my guess would be that you would forfeit your voucher if you cancel the card, but I’ll wait to find out once you post.
I will definitely cover that as there is a lot of confusion on that point. Thanks for the comment
I’ve heard so many arguments about this as well. I’m not a British Airways card holder, but I’m intrigued by how it works. Great research on your part! Glad to say that I know a little more about the companion pass, might consider getting a card to use a companion pass with my fiance someday.
Yes definitely go for it. I love being able to fly Club class knowing I paid less than others in economy.
That’s a very informative post. I have never used British Airways but I know a London based friend of mine who frequently does. I will alert her about this deal as she often flies with her Austrian husband. I feel that long haul has more advantage. I am looking forward to your next blogs where you will spill the beans on the FAQs. I wanted to know if in case my BA companion voucher expires, is it possible to extend it? And for how many months is the voucher valid?
Thanks Abhinav. Sadly it does expire. The free card voucher lasts for 12 months whilst the premium plus card vouchers lasts 24 months. I imagine tons of people will lose their voucher if they opt for the free one simply because availability can be limited. For this reason I absolutely advocate the premium card. Thanks so much for your question though and I will be sure to address this
We LOVE diving deep into the tips and tricks of the trade and this is exactly the kind of thing we love, figuring out which flight really gives us the best value. We just booked a huge round the world trip on points and, the more we researched the ins and outs of the rules, the more excited we got.
Good for you. I find there is always something new to learn and I get very excited when I feel I’ve pulled off a coup
Never even heard of this from my home nation’s national airline. But I have to admit, they are an airline I try and avoid as I dont think they are the best. 😛 But would consider looking into this a bit more.
I think it depends who you are comparing to. If it is budget airlines then they are pretty good. If it is emirates or Singapore Airlines, then that is a different story. However using the companion voucher to fly Club beats most other options for me as frankly I’m not going to pay to fly business in emirates (not until I win the lottery anyway)
We dont fly British Airways too often but southwest airlines here in the states offers a companion pass and it is a great benefit for Darcee & I to fly around the US. This is a great guide to help anyone understand British Airways Companion Voucher though. Seems that many travelers dont even know it exists so great job getting the info out there to help them save $$ on travel
Oh I get so jealous when I hear about the southwest pass. That is one hell of a sweet deal. So much so, it makes me want to move to the States. If only our budget airlines in Europe would do something similar
I never heard of this companion voucher before. It’s quite a rewarding feature of American Express cards and a great benefit for people frequently travelling by British Airways. It’s important to be aware of the additional benefits of our credit cards that we generally ignore. Looking forward to your next post in the series.
We enjoy flying BA, so a companion pass would just sweeten the deal. We might even be able to afford the upgrades with that. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Haven’t traveled with British Airways yet, but this post is really informative. I love that cardholders have the ability to earn points and flight vouchers for their friends/SO.
Oh gosh this just reminds me of how more often I should use all these advantages when flying! I have membership cards of I don’t know how many air companies but I rarely use them. Take an exemples of my Airasia card. If I have used the advantages of the card I could have earn so many points since 2011!! That is why your post of how to use correctly the British airways companion voucher is great for those who fly frequently with British airways!
Oh! I haven’t heard of this! But then I haven’t traveled by BA at all!
You’re right. This would serve right only in long haul flights, if we still have to pay the taxes etc!
This voucher is completely new to me. However, one of my goals this year is to be more savvy when it comes to these credit cards and vouchers. Flying for cheaper, and even free, would be a real achievement! Look forward to reading more on this.