You’ve follow the process, spent enough on your BA credit card and earned a British Airways companion voucher, but have you ever found yourself at a dead-end, trying to find some British Airways reward flights on the BA website, only to be met with limited options and a lack of flexibility? You’re not alone. Travellers often face this challenge, and it can result in expired companion vouchers, unused Avios points, and missed opportunities.
so, let’s see if we can uncover the secrets to finding the best reward flights on British Airways and other major airlines so that you don’t end up spending all your Avios on cases of over-valued wine with which to drown your sorrows because you didn’t get to go on that trip.
The Challenge with Airline Websites
The primary issue with most airline websites, including British Airways, is that they often lack the necessary functionality and flexibility to display all available award flights. This can leave users feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and ready to throw in the towel. To make matters worse, this confusion often leads to travellers spending their Avios on things other that flights and letting their hard-earned companion vouchers expire.
Missing the Mark: Why Airline Websites Fall Short
Airline websites are designed to cater to a broad range of users, which can sometimes result in a cluttered interface and a lack of focus on specific features. For example, searching for reward flights using companion vouchers and redeeming Avios’ points can be a challenge due to:
- Limited search options: Most airline websites only show a limited number of available award flights, making it difficult to find the best options for your trip.
- Lack of transparency: It’s often unclear how many Avios points are required for specific flights, leading to confusion and frustration.
- Poor user experience: The overall process of searching for and booking reward flights can be cumbersome and time-consuming, discouraging users from making the most of their rewards.
Making Reward Flight Searches Easier, Quicker, and Less Confusing
Now that we understand the challenges faced by travellers, let’s explore some practical suggestions for improving the search process for British Airways reward flights and other major airlines. With a little creativity, perseverance, and the right tools, you can turn those unused companion vouchers and Avios points into an unforgettable travel experience.
Harness the Power of ExpertFlyer
ExpertFlyer is a powerful tool that offers a more comprehensive view of award flight availability than airline websites. By subscribing to their services, you can access detailed information on the reward flight seats and seat availability, including British Airways flights. To make the most of ExpertFlyer, follow these simple steps:
- Create an account: Sign up for a free account or take out an ExpertFlyer subscription to gain access to their award flight search tools.
- Search for flights: Use their Award & Upgrade search feature to find available reward flights on your desired route and dates.
- Set up alerts: If your preferred flight isn’t available, set up an alert to be notified when award seats become available.
ExpertFlyer is designed to provide you with all the airline flight information available to make each trip you take as comfortable and stress-free as possible. We are dedicated to providing you with the best service every step of the way.
Utilise Award Flight Search Engines
There are several award flight search engines that can help you find reward flights using companion vouchers and Avios points. Some popular options include:
These search engines aggregate data from multiple airlines, providing a more comprehensive view of award flight availability. Simply enter your desired route, travel dates, and preferred class of service, and let these tools do the hard work for you.
Explore Partner Airlines
British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which means you can also use your Avios points and companion vouchers to book reward flights on partner airlines. This can significantly expand your options, as you’ll have access to a wider range of destinations and flight options. Some Oneworld alliance members include:
- American Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
To search for reward flights on partner airlines, visit the British Airways website and use the ‘Book with Avios’ search tool. Make sure to tick the ‘Include partner airlines’ checkbox to see all available options. Keep in mind that some partner airlines may not show up in the search results, so it’s essential to cross-check with the partner airline’s website or call the British Airways call centre for assistance.
Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates and Destinations
When searching for reward flights, flexibility is key. By being open to different travel dates, times, and even destinations, you increase your chances of finding the perfect flight using your companion vouchers and Avios points. Consider the following tips to maximise your flexibility:
- Avoid peak travel seasons: Reward flight availability tends to be limited during popular travel periods, such as school holidays and major events. Try to plan your trip during off-peak times to increase your chances of finding available reward flights.
- Consider alternative airports: If you can’t find a reward flight to your preferred destination, try searching for nearby airports. This can open up more options, and you may even discover a new destination you hadn’t considered before.
- Book early or last minute: Reward flights tend to be released either well in advance or close to the departure date. By booking your flights early or being prepared to travel at short notice, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect reward flight.
Use Social Media and Online Forums for Insider Tips
Connecting with fellow travellers on social media and online forums can provide valuable insights and tips for finding reward flights using companion vouchers and Avios points. Some popular platforms to engage with other travellers include:
These online communities are treasure troves of information, with users often sharing their experiences, tips, and tricks for finding the best reward flights. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice from seasoned travellers who have successfully navigated the reward flight booking process.
Earning a British Airways Companion Voucher
A British Airways Companion Voucher is a valuable perk that allows you to book a reward flight for a companion at no extra Avios cost, aside from taxes, fees, and carrier charges. This essentially means you get a two-for-one deal when redeeming your Avios points for flights. Earning a Companion Voucher is relatively straightforward, but it does require you to meet specific spending thresholds using a British Airways co-branded credit card. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to earn a BA Companion Voucher:
Step 1: Choose the Right British Airways Credit Card
To earn a Companion Voucher, you’ll need to sign up for a British Airways co-branded credit card, which is available through various financial institutions. In the UK, there are two primary options:
- British Airways American Express® Credit Card: This card has no annual fee and offers a Companion Voucher when you spend £20,000 within a card membership year.
- British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card: This card comes with an annual fee but offers a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 within a card membership year, as well as other premium benefits like a higher Avios earning rate.
Choose the card that best suits your spending habits and rewards preferences.
Step 2: Meet the Spending Requirement
Once you have your chosen British Airways credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending threshold associated with your card within a card membership year to earn a Companion Voucher. For the British Airways American Express Credit Card, this threshold is £20,000, while for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card, it’s £10,000.
Make sure to use your card for everyday purchases, bills, and other expenses to help you reach the spending requirement. Keep track of your spending to ensure you meet the threshold within the specified timeframe.
Step 3: Redeem Your Companion Voucher
After meeting the spending requirement, your Companion Voucher will be added to your British Airways Executive Club account. To redeem the voucher, follow these steps:
- Log in to your Executive Club account on the British Airways website.
- Search for your desired reward flight using the ‘Book with Avios’ option.
- Select a flight with available reward seats for both you and your companion.
- During the booking process, you’ll see an option to apply your Companion Voucher. Select this option and proceed with the booking.
Remember that you’ll still need to pay taxes, fees, and carrier charges for both passengers, but the Avios cost for your companion’s ticket will be waived.
- Companion Vouchers are valid for 24 months from the date of issue, giving you ample time to plan your trip and redeem your voucher.
- Both travellers must be booked on the same flight and in the same cabin class.
- You can use your Companion Voucher on British Airways flights and, in some cases, on reward flights with certain Oneworld alliance partner airlines. Check the British Airways website for more information on eligible partners.
Disadvantages of the British airways companion voucher
While the British Airways Companion Voucher scheme offers undeniable value for travellers, it’s important to acknowledge the potential disadvantages and challenges. Understanding these drawbacks can help you make informed decisions about whether the scheme is right for you and how to make the most of your reward flight bookings.
One limitation of the Companion Voucher scheme is that it applies solely to reward flight bookings made with Avios points. This means that you cannot use Companion Vouchers for cash bookings or a combination of cash and Avios. To maximise the value of the companion vouchers earned, it’s essential to accumulate enough Avios points to cover the cost of both your ticket and your companion’s ticket.
Another challenge is that, despite the companion voucher entitles you to a second ticket at no extra Avios cost, taxes, fees, and carrier charges still apply. These costs can be substantial, particularly for business class seats or long-haul flights. It’s crucial to consider these additional expenses when calculating the overall value of your companion voucher booking.
Business class availability can also be limited, especially during peak travel periods. To increase your chances of finding reward flight seats in your desired cabin, it’s recommended to be flexible with your travel dates and book well in advance. Remember that only companion vouchers earned through the British Airways American Express card can be used for reward flights, so it’s important to ensure you’re using the correct card for your bookings.
A common hack to maximise the value of your BA Amex card and companion vouchers earned is to aim for business class redemptions, particularly for long-haul flights. This allows you to experience the luxury of Club World cabins, with lie-flat seats and premium in-flight service, at a fraction of the standard Avios cost.
If you’re a solo traveller, the voucher may seem less appealing; however, you can still benefit from this scheme by using the American Express Companion Voucher to invite a friend or family member to join you on your journey. Another option is to aim for an upgrade to Club World or business class instead of booking two economy tickets, maximising your comfort and overall travel experience.
To earn more Avios points for your reward flight bookings, consider using your BA Amex card for everyday purchases and bills, maximising the points you earn for every pound spent. Additionally, take advantage of promotions and special offers from Executive Club members and partner companies to boost your Avios balance.
The required spend to earn a Companion Voucher can be a hurdle for some travellers. To overcome this challenge, consider using your card for large purchases or expenses, or explore options for referring friends to the card to earn bonus Avios points.
When it comes to redeem Avios points, keep an eye on the companion voucher terms and expiry dates to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to use your voucher. Also, remember that business class tickets can offer the best value for your Avios redemptions and Companion Vouchers, so prioritise these bookings when possible.
In conclusion, while the British Airways Companion Voucher scheme has its limitations and challenges, savvy travellers can still benefit significantly from the programme. By understanding the potential disadvantages and implementing strategic hacks, you can maximise the value of your companion vouchers earned and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences. So, get ready to fly British Airways and explore the world with your Companion Voucher!
Don’t Let Your British Airways Companion Voucher Expire
Finding British Airways reward flights using companion vouchers and Avios points doesn’t have to be an impossible task. By utilising tools like ExpertFlyer, award flight search engines, and partner airlines, being flexible with your travel plans, and tapping into the knowledge of fellow travellers, you can uncover a world of possibilities and make the most of your hard-earned rewards. So, don’t let those companion vouchers and Avios points go to waste – start planning your next adventure today