BA Amex 2-4-1 vouchers – my view & how to redeem for what you want

British Airways B747 First class review to New YorkBritish Airways B747 First

Hilton APAC

Last week Paul wrote an article about his views on the BA Premium Plus Amercian Express card 2-4-1 voucher and whether they are worth having. This caused some fairly lively debate amongst our readers! The TLFL team all have different travel styles, I thought I would put across my point of view aimed at those who do not have gold upgrade vouchers. 

How do I personally use my 2-4-1 vouchers?

how to use ba amex 2-4-1 two for 1 voucher

Unlike Paul, I do actually have a BAPP Amex and  I generally earn a voucher every year. I also hold an Amex Platinum due to the versatility of the points and the extra benefits. Finally, I also hold a Virgin card for times when you can’t use Amex. I do not generally care what an Avios is worth. It is worth whatever you want it to be and depends on your circumstances.

 

What should you use your 2-4-1 vouchers for?

Shanghai skyline at night

Shanghai skyline

I generally either use mine as Paul suggested for a RFS club flight to Europe, or for First class redemptions. Given that many of the taxes and charges for business class are now around £600, it makes less sense to me to redeem for Club World. I would rather pay a bit more and do an ex EU or sale fare and get some Avios and tier points. In terms of taxes, there is little you can do to reduce the cost other than starting your journey from an airport in the UK where there is no APD – Jersey or Inverness. 

First class to the Far East can often start at well over £3000, so this is my other most frequent redemption with the voucher. Last year Roving Reporter and I used it for an open jaw to Shanghai, returning from Kuala Lumpur.

Long haul economy and WTP redemptions

As Paul said, long haul economy redemptions are often extremely poor value for a 2-4-1. If you book a reasonable time in advance there can often be less than £50 difference between the taxes and charges and buying a cash ticket. However, there are two situations where they can be useful. If you want the flexibility to cancel or change then it can make sense to book on Avios with a 2-4-1 as you can change or cancel with a £35 fee up to 24 hours before. The other situation would be if you wanted to fly at the last minute and the economy prices were crazy expensive, using a 2-4-1 can actually be reasonable value in this case. The same applies to World Traveller Plus. 

 

How to snag the most popular seats

There are certain routes that are very tricky to get First class seats on. Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore and Los Angeles to name but a few. If you want to go for one of these you need to be organised. BA do not guarantee to release any First seats unlike Club where they guarantee two Avios Club seats on every flight.

The easiest time to get the availability is to book the day the flight is released for redemptions. This is 355 days before the flight at 12am GMT (so 1am UK time in summer). The flights are not always loaded up online immediately, so if it is a very popular route you may want to call a BA office that is open at midnight to secure it (Japan, Hong Kong and or USA).  There have been reports of some offices refusing to do this in the past but it is worth a try.

Cape town cheap business class flights

Cape Town waterfront and Table mountain

However, there is a catch to booking at D-355. If you are booking a return flight that means only the outbound flight would be available on that day. Don’t be tempted to wait, as by your return date -355, the outbound flights will have probably gone. If you are using a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher, you should buy the outbound flights at D-355 and then as soon as the inbound flight is available, telephone British Airways for them to add the flight to the booking. They should not charge you for the change.  You may need to explain that you could not have booked the flights before, as I have known BA to try to charge sometimes. You could just book the return online and then call BA to combine them but there is one drawback with this. On routes such as the US-UK where taxes and charges are very high, you will end up paying a much higher cash price as BA do not recalculate the charges when combining the flights into one booking. 

Another option with very popular routes is to look at nearby airports. For example, Johannesburg is not quite as hard to get as Cape Town so you could buy a connecting flight onto Cape Town from there. You could also do an open jaw where you fly into one airport but return from another. This is allowed as long as the distance between the two airports is shorter than distance from the starting point to the airports.

BA Gatwick new B777 club world seat with bedding

Club World

Another thing to consider is a mixed class booking. You can fly a different class on the outbound to the return. However, both passengers must travel together in the same class. This could be an option if you can’t get both ways in First. You could then set up a free alert on rewards flight finder in case 2 first seats become available at a later date. 

What do you use your BA 2-4-1 voucher for? What has been your best redemption? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

15 Comments on "BA Amex 2-4-1 vouchers – my view & how to redeem for what you want"

  1. Thanks for the article, before having kids my wife and I used 241 mostly for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and a few times to Vancouver. You guessed it Beach and Ski holidays!! Finding 241 availability during kids holidays for our chosen destinations is now near impossible. I still think using 241 for Club seats is worth while, Club to DXB and YVR direct from London can easily be more than £1.7k. Before the devaluation of Avios and the increase in charges we could bet tickets for less than £1k and 100k Miles. Which for a Non Gold card holder was achievable. Now these same tickets using peak avois charges / miles are now over 120k Avios and £1.2k (for both). In my mind still worth it. Most of my friends and family use 241 for family holidays so are stuck to school holiday dates. What I couldn’t make out from your article is can we book 355 days in advance for one leg and then rebook when the return comes available?

    • Yes that’s exactly what you can do. Just book the outbound and then you can add a return at any point.

    • Completely agree – though if you are finding £1.7k club out of London for YVR in the school holidays (short of the anniversary sales) you are a master!

      We are YVR First out in early December this year (pre holidays) and back mid-December in Club. 160k Avios and £1,290.08, no Avios, no Tier Points.

      Given YVR is a T3 route (non T5 first wing and concord lounge) and a few months back there were non-holiday club seats available for YVR for a little over £2,019 for two – I don’t feel like we’ve snagged a bargain – it just forms part of the regular spend.

      Redemption finder subscription at £3 a month is really worth it’s weight in gold – current situation is workable – my fear is sooner or later BA will make redemption even harder / more costly.

  2. I tend to use it for first class flights to the Caribbean or club when Avios points are getting low. Always look to book off peak where possible as Avila redemption much less.

  3. Isnt Barbados the only route to the Caribbean that has First Class?
    D – 355 for out bound then ring BA at D-355 for the return leg BUT there has to be redemption available, which wasn’t made clear. This could mean daily or twice daily checks on line for seats and nail biting times!

  4. I’ve done what you suggested a number of times when First both ways is not available & traveled First one way & Club the other way. I try to do the outbound flight in First so you get to use the First Wing & then Club on the return. This combination also brings down the number of Avios required for the other seat.. Being flexible with your destination & dates is also key. For us we have ended going to places we would normally never have chosen. A recent trip to Beijing in First was amazing & wasn’t on our chosen list of destinations but was one of the few places with First seats both ways on the dates we were able to go so decided to give it a go & so glad we did. Be adventurous & who knows where your 2-4-1 will take you.

  5. Where I can I book outward in F to enjoy the facilities at LHR, and then, if it’s a night flight on return, I book CW – partly so save on Avios and secondly, I can’t tell the difference between the two when I’m asleep.
    I have used a 2-4-1 voucher for the last 15 years and have always enjoyed the benefits it brings.

  6. Due to horrible taxes/airport charges/extra surcharges I use the voucher less and less often. Personally I think it makes sense for expensive destinations ( even on super sales) like Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Osaka etc as still can save significant amount of money or first class anywhere. European flights have very poor business class so if expensive ticket in business I prefer to travel economy with extra space for legs than use the voucher.

  7. To add a different perspective, I am sorry, but not ashamed, to report that I have not been able to use the 2-4-1 BAPP vouchers since the last time I used one in 2008 for a trip to New York with a friend.

    This is because I am never able to plan a trip more than a few weeks in advance, due to work-related demands that change when clients change their plans. And it is increasingly difficult to find a friend who is willing to avail of the opportunity because of their own challenging schedules.

    Nevertheless I continue to earn the 2-4-1 vouchers and who knows, I might just be able to use one of them?! 😉

  8. Miles. On Point | 2 September 2019 at 12:54 pm | Reply

    My brother & I used a 2for1 voucher to fly First to Rio for the 2014 World Cup. We ended up sat next to Arsenal & France legend Patrick Vieira – Mark Lawrenson & Danny Murphy had to make do with Club World as we saw then at baggage belt afterwards! Haha.

    Did an open-jaw and came back from EZE (Buenos Aires) in J, at the time it was the longest single flight on the BA network and had 2 full sets of cabin crew and pilots.

  9. My first 241 Business class was 2 years ago going EDI – SFO, returning from LAX. We took an internal first class flight from SFO – LAX with United which was £88 ! My second one is February 2020 to DXB World Traveller Plus going and Business flying back from DXB. (Didn’t have enough points for Business both ways). I do find the tax and seat price is a bit expensive but I would never been able to pay for them without the 241.

  10. @Tom, I’d love to be a master ! But £1.7k to YVR is off peak sometimes during sales. Most of my ski visits are in late Dec or mid Feb and nearly every trip was booked as cash in WTP and then upgraded to Club. Closer to check in BA was offering upgrades at silly prices. Around £800 for original WTP plus £350 each way for Club upgrade is the cheapest I ever received.

    What I found really interesting was one year (maybe 2015/16) I managed to book row 3 (both ways) , thinking the aircraft was only a 3 cabin service. Turns out I had bagged the “old first class seat”. Up until that point I had never sat in a first seat. The Cabin crew told me they weren’t offering a First service as they used this route to rotate planes that were being upgraded to the new First seats. And would you believe my return leg was in the NEW First seat.

    Haven’t had that much luck since then but now totally appreciate what First has to offer in terms of seat comfort. The old first class seat is still better than the current (out going Club) seat.

    @TLFL do you get any intel on which routes are being used to rotate Aircraft over to new Club Seats?

  11. We flew business from LGW to Miami and flew back from Fort Lauderdale to Heathrow business in March using our companion voucher, and total cost was exceptionally good value, so happy man!

  12. I’ve just used a 241 to book me and my wife a first class flight to Cape Town in first – £750 for both of us! I don’t think I’d ever consider flying first class otherwise so I’m happy enough. But we are fairly flexible in when we travel and don’t have kids- I can see for many people the practicalities of using the voucher are tricky.

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