I have a British Airways American Express credit card. For many years I’ve had the basic Blue card. This card has no fees but does have a number of benefits. I gain Avios points for all spending on the card and as long as I pay off my full bill every month I didn’t pay any interest at all. It’s essentially free Avios for spending money.
In addition to this if you spend enough per year they will give you what they call a “companion voucher”. The idea of the voucher is to allow you to take someone with you free of charge on any British Airways Economy flight. That is, as long as you book it with Avios points. There was a recent change to the rules that allows you to use the voucher on your own. Previously it was only useful for two people, but now you can get a 50% discount on the amount of Avios your flight is going to cost.
Recently I upgraded to the Black version of the BA AMEX card which comes with increased benefits. This includes more Avios per £1 spent, but at the cost of an annual fee.
Note that the Blue BA Amex card only allows you an Economy seat with your companion voucher. If you have the Black card, which comes with an annual fee, you can get a booking in any cabin.
To book using the voucher you need to book a reward seat. There are limited numbers of seats on every flight, so you have to find flights with availability. BA offer some tools to help you find flights with reward seats. In addition, we also offer a tool that shows all reward flights for the coming year – making it super easy to find seats. Contact us for more information.
When you’ve found suitable flights, go to the British Airways website and log into your Executive Club account. From the booking menu at the top click on Book a flight with Avios.
Book with Avios.
Now you’re on the book with Avios tab. If you have more than one voucher, choose which one you wish to use. It will show you the expiry dates. Then fill out the details of your trip and for the purposes of what I’m doing, change it to one adult. Hit Get Flights when ready.
On the next page choose your flights and you’ll see a calculation at the bottom of your payment options.
You’ll see there’s an option for more pricing options where you can pay more money and fewer Avios. Usually, these deals aren’t particularly good but in this case I did the maths on it and most of them are roughly the same amount of money.
You should always check the value you’re getting with these deals before you try any of them. As a general rule I roughly value an obvious point at about 1P.
Avios to cash selection.
Now you can proceed to book your flights as normal.
One interesting catch I found is that you have to pay with your British Airways Amex card. This means I’ll get one extra Avios for my booking too.
The booking process was simple on this occasion as there were plenty of Avios seats. However, this is not always the case. So make sure you do your research before making any plans.
With the Avios cost of the flight halved, or the option for 2 people to fly, the voucher certainly gives you a very good deal on a flight.
What about long haul? Well, I did a quick search for you, a trip to New York in June would have cost me £100 with 25,000 Avios, which also a great deal!