This post is inspired by a question I received from a reader recently. She was questioning whether she could use her AMEX companion voucher to redeem AVIOS for business class reward flights as she was struggling to find availability. I have covered redemptions before but thought it might be worth revisiting with some further tips on how to redeem for business or first class rewards.
What is an AMEX Companion voucher?
For those who don’t know, the AMEX companion voucher is a perk of either of the British Airways American Express credit cards. It allows the cardholder to book a reward flight for two people but only use the AVIOS for one person. Hence why it is called the companion voucher, although people use many other names to describe the voucher. British Airways Companion ticket, British Airways Companion pass, the together pass and AMEX companion voucher are all terms I have heard.
Can you redeem a BA companion ticket for business class reward flights?
Firstly, you can definitely use a BA Companion ticket to book Club and First class rewards. In fact, to get best use of a British Airways companion pass, you should use your voucher and AVIOS for long haul flights in premium cabins. This way you might save 150,000 AVIOS rather than the 12,000 you might save on an economy ticket to Europe.
Will there be availability?
Availability can be tricky. Each flight has a minimum of two reward seats but if only two business class reward seats are available on the flight you want and you wish to use your British Airways voucher to secure them, it can be a challenge. Less popular destinations may offer more business class reward seats and additional seats may be released nearer to departure.
Many of my readers complain that there is that never availability but often they leave it until the last minute to book and are inflexible on dates and destinations. Here are some tactics you can use to increase your chance of success in finding availability.
How to successfully use an AMEX companion voucher
1. Book as far in advance as possible
British Airways releases flights 355 days in advance. If you have set dates on which you would like to travel, diary the release date, and get searching as early as possible 355 days in advance. Leave it to 50 days in advance and your chance of success will reduce dramatically.
2. Be flexible
If you are wedded to set dates and one destination, it can he hugely frustrating trying to find availability. Instead, I recommend you make a shortlist of a few destinations you might like to visit.
Also extend your timeframe. Rather than selecting specific dates, consider searching the entire months surrounding your chosen dates. I will show you how to do this next.
It’s unlikely that no availability will exist for all your chosen destinations and dates, especially if you abide by rule number one.
3. Use the British Airways app
The BA companion voucher rules only allow you to use your BA voucher for British Airways flights limiting further your ability to redeem. To search you need to be logged in and I find it easier to search the app for availability.
If you use the flexible search function, you can search by region, country and city. The more vague your input, the more options you will find. The screenshots below will show you exactly how this works.
How to use the BA App to research and redeem AVIOS for business class flights
Open the app on your phone and make sure you are logged in then from the menu on the right-hand side, scroll down and select reward flights.
On the screen, select the top option (Reward Flight finder) which allows you to find multiple options.
As you can see in this first example, I have selected January – February 2020 for the Caribbean. I have also highlighted Business class flights.
Unfortunately however, there is no availability as it is only a few months away.
If I change this to August – October 2020, lots of options come up.
If I click on any of those, it then highlights how many flights are available. This gives me an idea of how likely I am to be successful in securing flights. I selected St Lucia and as you can see there is reasonable availability for this timescale. The screenshot shows 12 outbound flights during this period and 9 inbound so there is a reasonable chance I will be able to find flights.
If I click on the St Lucia button shown above, this screen pops up. I can quickly scroll left and right to find days with blue bars. Blue bars denotes availablility and once I select dates, they turn to green.
Once you find dates that are acceptable, you simply press continue and proceed to book. Follow the screen prompts and your booking should be done in less than a few minutes.
Now you have booked your flights, check out your hotel options on hotels.com. For every ten nights you stay, you earn one FREE night and are not tied to one chain of hotels.
If you want to book extras such as airport parking, Holiday Extras is my preferred website. This allows you to easily compare prices for airport parking, car rentals and holiday insurance.
Finally, for trips you can check out to Get Your Guide app which allows you to select the best deals on trips in one convenient location.
This article also offers some guidance and how to get better value from your hard earned points.
Have your say
If you have successfully redeeemed AVIOS for business class flights, what are your top tips for other readers? I would love to know. Perhaps you use a different method which we could all benefit from? Don’t be shy – let us know in the comments.