NEWS: British Airways improves travel vouchers & rebooking + complete guide to BA flight & holiday refunds and vouchers

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BA improves travel vouchers and rebooking

Today BA has improved the terms of their vouchers and rebooking policies. If your flight is not cancelled and you can’t or don’t want to travel you can request a Future Travel Voucher. From today they have extended the travel period to existing bookings ticketed any time, for travel (outbound or inbound) between 14th March 2020 and 31st July 2020. (it was previously 31 May 2020). It is also still valid for new bookings made from 3 March to 31 May 2020 for travel until 31 December 2020. 

The vouchers were originally only valid for a year after the ticket date. Now they are valid for travel until April 2022 which makes them a lot more flexible. You must complete your trip by 30 April 2022. We were also expecting this week for BA to allow rebooking with vouchers online, but this looks like it has been delayed by a few weeks. 

You can see all the details and FAQs on BA vouchers below. 

If you wish to rebook your flights instead of a voucher, the policy has also improved. You can now be rebooked on a BA service at any time during your ticket validity (one year). Before you had to be booked into the same fare bucket if you were moving your flight by more than 14 days. Now you do not need the same fare bucket to be available to move your flights to a different date. This also means that there does not have to be Avios availability if it was an Avios booking. Therefore you would be better rebooking than taking a refund if you know you want to rebook and what dates you want. 

 

Refunds

british-airways-refunds-vouchers-guide-money

If British Airways have cancelled your flight or substantially changed it such as different timings or even departure/arrival points, you can request a refund. This includes partially flown tickets. The only way to do this now is to call British Airways. If you struggle to get through it can be worth trying a British Airways office in another country. You can find a list of all the international contact numbers here. 

If you did not cancel your flights by applying for a refund or voucher, there will be an issue if the flight still departed even if the destination had a travel ban. If you simply did not show up, you will be shown as ‘No show’. In this case, the only option is a voucher. 

If you are requesting a refund of a cancelled Lloyds voucher booking, you should get a new Lloyds upgrade voucher valid for 6 months from the date of the refund request. British Airways Amex companion vouchers have been extended for 6 months as well. 

 

Rebooking

Rather than take a voucher you may wish to rebook as this gives you more flexibility now that you don’t need the original fare bucket to be available. You do need to rebook in the same cabin though. You just need to rebook for the same trip on another date within 355 days. If you want to book beyond this or change destination then you can go for the voucher instead which allows travel until 30 April 2022 and can be used on other routes or BA Holidays. It may be possible to rebook for a different destination if the airports are close to each other (usually it’s allowed within 300 miles). 

For bookings made from 3 March until 31 May 2020, with a departure date up to 31 December 2020, you can go to Manage My Booking to change your dates. BA have waived their change booking fee so you will not be charged, although you will need to pay any difference in fare. The rebooking option is only available for flights to the same destination.

If your original flight is cancelled you will probably need to call to rebook. 

 

British Airways Future Travel Vouchers – everything you need to know

Who can apply for a refund in voucher form?

You can cancel your booking and get a voucher for the full amount against a future booking for:

  • Bookings made at any time for travel between 14 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 (as long as the outbound flight is by 31 July)
  • Bookings made between 3 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 for travel until 31 December 2020
  • If you have already used the free change, you can still get a voucher
  • Applies to both flights and holidays

 

How to get the voucher and what you can claim for

To get a voucher DO NOT CANCEL your booking online using manage my booking. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have your booking email with the ticket number and PNR booking reference kept somewhere safe. You also need to keep a note of how much you paid and whether it included any extras. This is to ensure that the voucher is calculated correctly. You can get a copy of your e-ticket or receipt from Manage My Booking. 
  2. Go to this page to fill in the online form if you booked direct or contact your travel agent
  3. It will take quite a while to get a response. It says that vouchers take seven days to be issued but it is often longer. 
  4. Flight only bookings can be exchanged up to the close of check-in.
  5. Changes to date on flight + hotel and flight + car packages must be made up to 48 hours before departure.

Points to note:

  • Vouchers are available for the following flights booked with BA:
    • BA marketed routes
    •  Combined BA routing with other airline joint ventures such as Qatar, American and Finnair 
      o IAG partners such as Iberia and Aer Lingus
      o BA routings which include Comair and Sunair (where the routing is in connection to/from a BA mainline flight)
  • Other carriers issued tickets may have different rules such as codeshare tickets – call BA to find out more
  • Charges such as excess baggage or seat selection will be transferred to the new booking.
  • If you have a BA holiday booking but have not paid the balance, you can get back the deposit via voucher. 
  • The value of any non-changeable hotel and/or experience products on a BA holiday booking it will be excluded from the voucher credit.
  • If you have part-paid or fully with Avios you can still claim using the same form. 
  • You will not see Avios go back into your balance or the BA Amex companion or Lloyds voucher. These remain in your voucher. 
  • If you are likely to want to rebook something quickly, phone and see if you can just change your existing booking rather than waiting for a voucher.
  • If you apply for a voucher by phone, you may not receive a voucher at all. Your e-ticket and booking ref are all you need to use the voucher
  • Unless you plan to rebook, I would advise not to take a voucher for Avios booking as you can cancel for free up to 24 hours before, so take a refund. Rebooking is worth doing as there now does not need to be availability on Avios if you rebook. 

 

What you can use the voucher for

  • The vouchers will now be valid for travel until 30 April 2022 providing you complete travel by that date.
  • The voucher is valid for use against any flight booking on ba.com, it doesn’t have to be a BA flight.
  • It can also be used against a BA holidays booking
  • The voucher can be used on any British Airways marketed route with a BA flight number. Vouchers can’t be used for bookings on Comair and Sun-Air franchise airlines.

How to use the voucher

  • Sadly at the moment, you have to call the BA contact centre to use the voucher. This should change soon by around the end of May so you can rebook online. By phone you just quote the voucher code or your e-ticket number to use it.
  • If you have a flight only booking, you’re free to use your voucher however you want. Each person in a booking will receive their own voucher code. This means you can use the voucher to make a booking for someone else, exactly the same as you can now with Avios or cash. You can use up to three vouchers per booking but they must all be in the same name. 
  • For flight + hotel and flight + car packages, there will be one voucher per booking, the lead customer will receive an email with full details.
  • If the new booking is less than the original then you will receive the balance in a voucher. 

You can find all the relevant information on this page.

 

BA holiday balances

One of the questions I have received a lot is whether you should pay your balance on your holiday booking with BA. Obviously, if you do not wish to travel you can just change the dates or take a voucher if it is within the allowed timeframe. If you are not likely to travel and are not sure you want to rebook or take a voucher, it is a different matter in terms of whether to pay the balance. This is a tricky one as once you have paid there is a risk that your flight may not be cancelled and then even if there are still travel bans in place, you may be left with a voucher for a large sum of money.

My advice is to leave it until the last minute to pay in the hope that BA cancels your flight first. BA have confirmed that you do not need to pay your balance until 3 weeks before. BA have confirmed this in writing on their website on this page. Do not expect the correct payment due date to be shown in your Manage My Booking. BA should contact you if you miss the payment date before anything happens to your booking. 

 

45 Comments on "NEWS: British Airways improves travel vouchers & rebooking + complete guide to BA flight & holiday refunds and vouchers"

  1. All sounds very reasonable, if not rather good – let’s hope they get the voucher booking IT sorted soon, for those that need to

  2. So I’m going to end up with two vouchers… and I really hope they’ve got the sense to allow people to use multiple against a single future booking.

    • you can use up to 3 vouchers in the same name on one booking

      • Isn’t it 2?

        “14. A maximum of two Companion Vouchers can be redeemed at any one time.”

        • No, this article is referring to the BA Future Value Vouchers taken when you cancel or BA cancel a booking. UP to 3 FTVs can be used per new booking if they are all in the same name.

    • Yes you can use up to three vouchers per booking if they are all in the same name

  3. I’ve got a BA booking for4 people but will only ever have 2 of the people retravelling together again. Guessing a voucher of no use to me? The flights were a surprise so all paid by me. Would be happy with a voucher if it was for the full booking value

    • If it is a flight only booking, each person will get a voucher in their name. They can then book separately in the future but can also book a flight for someone else which could be one way around it. If it is a holiday booking ie flight + hotel or car, then you will get a voucher for the whole amount. This could be worth investigating whether you could turn it into a holiday by adding a cheap one night stay? But I would speak to BA staff about this to confirm if you wished to cancel it would then count as a holiday.

  4. Hi Michele, that is a great explanation article so thank you for that. I have one question, I’ve made a BA holiday booking and used GUF1 and GUF2 on it which obviously by now would’ve expired. Do you know if I’d cancel the booking and get the voucher will my GUF’s be returned with updated validity on will I just lose them? If it’s the latter then I’m sure it’s better for me just to rebook the holidays for next year. Please advise. Many thanks.

    • I believe they have extended GUFs for six months which they do normally anyway if you ask. If the flight was cancelled by BA I would expect to get the GUF back with 6 months validity. If you don’t want to travel but it is not cancelled you could take a voucher as that will include the GUF within it to reuse. Or rebooking is a good option as they don’t need the fare bucket to be available – just a seat in that cabin

  5. Hmmm, BA agreed to refund me for 3 flights over a month ago and still no sign of the money. I am thinking of going to the credit card company for help.

    • That is not unusual. Most airlines are taking up to 3 months to process refunds due to the volume of them.

  6. What is the case if I’ve taken a voucher from BA and then my circumstances change dramatically, which they did financially! Can I ask for a refund at this point having taken but not used the voucher to re-book?

    • You can try if your flight was cancelled but I believe that when you accept the voucher you waive your rights to a refund. However I do know that some people have managed to subsequently get a refund but that is usually when the flight was cancelled after they took a voucher.

  7. ClaytonTheCruton | 29 April 2020 at 1:53 pm | Reply

    Spoke with BA yesterday and they still aren’t allow you to use vouchers against existing bookings which is infuriating and makes more work for everyone ( forces refunds to be taken) not to mention giving a nod to customers loyalty.

    The girl I spoke with also couldn’t explain the apparent conflict re holidays: BA have extended the due date to +3 weeks before departure but are cancelling flights between +18 – +16 days before meaning there’s a strong chance you will be in default of booking conditions/ balance due date. She agreed it’s a problem but that she couldn’t give an answer apart from “sit tight for now”

    Can anybody answer the following as well: We received an email regarding our next booking ( 03 Jun 20, BA Holiday, Italy) offering us a voucher. As we cant use it against existing bookings I called to request a refund instead but was told this couldn’t be done as flights not yet canx. If a company has acknowledged your holiday will not be going ahead and is offering you date changes and/ or a voucher then where do they stand on refusing an actual refund at the same time? In my mind if they have said the booking wont be going ahead so have a voucher then surely they have to allow a cash refund at that point?

    Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

    • Hi. As far as we can work out, they could well still cancel your flights. People have had that email and then been told the flights are cancelled a few days later. I would hang on for the moment. I am in the same situation for a trip in June. Their email doesn’t say it won’t go ahead. Just there is a lot of uncertainty. It’s in their interests to get you to take a voucher before they cancel it. Similar for holidays. If they don’t cancel until after you have paid the balance then they have your money and they can take their time refunding it or hope that you take a voucher. All highly questionable tactics but not illegal. In terms of the holiday, BA generally get in contact before they would cancel your booking for lack of payment.

  8. paul davison | 4 May 2020 at 1:05 pm | Reply

    I have 4.5 flights booked in June and am confused how the voucher system works. We were obviously no longer expecting to travel and were getting ready to move the booking to April 2021.

    My flights are 4 x Club World London – Delhi returns booked with 2 x BA Amex 241 vouchers, and a separate flight which i was in the process of completing when the lockdown came: 1 x London – Delhi Club World using Avios (outbound leg is booked but return leg not booked so far).
    I have received an email from Amex saying my 241 vouchers are extended for 6 months (1 of these was due to expire in July 2020 so this one would expire now in January 2021).
    I have received emails from BA for each booking above stating i can claim a voucher for future travel.

    so my questions are:
    1. If i take the voucher am i only allowed to rebook flights where Avios seats are available or do you get full seat access?
    2. What happens if one of my 241 vouchers has expired?
    3. What happens to my booking that is currently outbound only, how do i cost effectively move that to a full return booking?

    • Don’t take a voucher unless you want to. You can just cancel if you want and if they cancel first it would be free. They normally send that email when they are about to cancel your flights. If you do a straight rebook then there doesn’t need to be Avios availability so that may be the best option. With a voucher as far as I understand there does need to be. You should be able to rebook the one leg to Delhi and then at the same time add the return leg if available using the same voucher. If not you can call back to add at any point when it is available. Assuming BA are doing the same with as with LLoyds vouchers, if they cancel the flight you should get the 2-4-1 back with 6 months validity. I would have a look at SeatSpy and see what availability there is first. If you take a voucher you currently have to call to rebook which is a pain. If you take a refund you get the Avios back and can book online when you want to.

      • paul davison | 5 May 2020 at 1:24 pm | Reply

        Thanks Michelle – Sorry to be slow here but how does a straight rebook work – is that after they cancel? And then why does Avios availability not matter?

        • Yes. After they cancel if you call to rebook then you no longer need the particular fare bucket available, just space in the cabin. So it means there does not have to be Avios availability. This means more people are less likely to ask for a refund which is why they are doing it. After they cancel you need to request a voucher, refund or rebook. It does not happen automatically any more. Just call up and rebook if it is cancelled.

          • paul davison | 19 May 2020 at 1:20 pm |

            Hi Michelle
            My flights have now been cancelled and it appears that i can actually change the dates online.
            Does this mean that i need not worry about the fact that one of my 241 vouchers is extended but will still expire January 2021, even though my flight would be in April 2021?
            Thanks
            Paul.

          • If it will allow you to do it online then it’s fine. Normally if it’s cancelled you can just rebook even if the voucher has expired

  9. ALAN RIDDELL | 6 May 2020 at 6:17 pm | Reply

    I’m not a frequent traveller so I’m a bit unfamiliar with all this. I have a flight from London to Lima and back which I booked for 2 using an AMEX companion voucher. The flights have been cancelled. I’ve rebooked my Peru holiday for a year from now, but I can’t just rebook the flights for June next year. If I take a BA voucher what happens to the companion voucher? Do I have to make an extra trip somewhere else in the next 6 months or so to take advantage of the companion voucher?

    • Hi Alan. If you take a voucher then in effect it becomes a copy of your booking with all its elements, vouchers, cash and avios – you can just apply the companion voucher to your new booking and it will be valid as long as the voucher is.

  10. Today I tried to use a voucher to make a booking for someone else and this is not possible. I think the above needs correcting. They can only be used by each person on the original booking, which is actually very frustrating – it isn’t a BA voucher in the true sense. I even spoke to a manager to confirm this. I would advise everyone to get cash!

    • That’s interesting as it was someone who is working on the vouchers that told me that. I will double check.

      • paul davison | 26 May 2020 at 3:07 pm | Reply

        Michelle (apologies for this dragging on)
        I managed to get a chat session with a real BA person just now…
        She said i needed to phone up, take a voucher and then rebook at the same time, as that way my expiring 241 companion voucher wouldnt matter.

        I now have the avios to add the return leg to my daughters avios booking for the same flight. i think i can rebook and do that online.

        Now the next possible complication….. my daughter may want to bring her boyfriend and if a get another companion voucher i would just cancel her avios booking and redo a new one using the companion voucher (assuming availability). HOWEVER,,,, this would be a new booking and i would not be flying on that booking so would that work or not?

  11. If BA cancel the flight, how long do you have to choose to either re book or get a voucher. I have a reward booking with the amex 2for1. If the flights are canceled then I would just want to travel next year on the same dates. Even with the 6 month extension the companion voucher will have expired by then so can i wait until 10 days after the original return flight that is canceled (when next years flights are released) or do we have to re book before this?

    • Pretty sure you can rebook afterwards as just because it’s cancelled doesn’t mean you can’t rebook but I would call BA just before to confirm your options.

  12. Robert De Mornay Davies | 26 May 2020 at 9:54 am | Reply

    Hi Michelle

    BA cancelled my first class Avios flights to Singapore in April – the only option online was a voucher which I accepted. It had a year validity. Is this now automatically extended to 2 years? Some people have been saying that the companion voucher used in the booking – and would have expired (with the additional 6 months extension) in Oct – will now be calid until the expiry of the flight voucher. What have you heard?

    Also if – as there was no option online in March to get a refund – and no instructions to phone up for a refund – do you think I can now call and ask to exchange the voucher for a refund.

    Thanks!

    Robert

    • Hi Robert. Legally if BA cancel the flight you are entitled to a full cash refund. Yes the voucher means that the companion voucher is valid for the length of the voucher. I would phone and ask as legally they owe you a refund, putting aside the fact that it was a refundable flight anyway. The only plus side of the voucher is that it does mean the companion voucher is valid for longer.

  13. Hello I have a couple of points to make,
    1 when we went on the BA website after our flights were cancelled in March & April there was two choices 1 change flight or 2 future voucher as we understand refund was taken off the system, due to not being able to cope as stated by Willie Walsh when asked by a member of the select committee, my second point is why do people have to phone up to book a flight using the voucher when most of us book flights on line & why hasn’t British airways installed this on their system as you still have thousands of people trying to get through to claim their refunds, it would take pressure off BA staff to let them concentrate on refunds!

  14. Good evening,
    My husband and I were due to fly on the 17th March ’20 but due to Gov guidelines not to travel to our destination we did not fly and filled in an online form requesting a refund/voucher. We were told we were classed as a “no show” but as we filled in the online form they would help us?..We booked the flights using a companion voucher and Avios and at the same time booked the hotel with BA on a separate transaction using the Amex card with the same BA Agent. We are still waiting for a refund or voucher for the Flight and for the hotel but after numerous phone calls and 3 months on we are not getting anywhere. Our travel insurance company will not pay as they say its a package holiday and the Atol Certificate states its a Package (multi contract) and BA says its not a package and to claim on our insurance. They say we cannot get the hotel money back as they booked via Expedia who cannot get their monies back either from the Hotel (2.5K) . After another phone call we were sent an email confirming we will get a Book with Confidence Voucher but we haven’t received anything yet and nothing at all about the hotel.
    What is your advice on this matter?

    Kind Regards

    Anita

    • So in law it’s tricky as if the flight still went ahead and you did not fly, legally they did not have to do anything. For future reference what you should have done was called them ( I know it’s tough to get hold of them) and asked for a refund as the tickets are fully refundable usually. However if you asked for a voucher online then that is what you would get. You may not physically get a voucher email but usually if you wanted to rebook you could just phone BA and quote your old booking reference to make a booking. The good news is that BA did recently introduce a new policy that allows you to request the Avios and cash back even after accepting a voucher. Here is the detail. https://www.turningleftforless.com/news-british-airways-changes-voucher-policy-even-on-vouchers-already-claimed/. So if you haven’t spoken to them in the last few days I would try again. The hotel is tricky as BA says that they will not refund non refundable hotel bookings. This would normally be where you would claim on insurance. I would expect them to pay out. I don’t understand why they are using that as an excuse. It should not make a difference. If there is an FCO warning then the insurer should pay. I would try again and perhaps get BA to put what they said in writing.

  15. Hi my daughter was travelling to Barcelona in August on a BA flight and through them booked a non changeable hotel too. BA have offered a voucher for the deposit paid so far- which they have stated is for the flight only. The full balance is due soon, and they are saying no refund on the hotel. However nothing has been paid towards the hotel according to BA, they are offering alternative travel until 2022, but is she still liable for the hotel cost payment due, even though the flight has effectively been cancelled? BA are not being clear in letters at all.

  16. Hi I have got 2 future travel vouchers to use I don’t seem to be able to get through to rebook flights due to the call centres being busy . Is there any news on BA allowing the vouchers to be used online ?

    • They are gradually doing it. Currently only those with one passenger and no ancillary items are being converted. Then they will do those with more passengers. If you can’t get through try first or last thing or one of the other countries that are listed on the site. US or Hong Kong are usually good options.

  17. Ok Thanks am on hold at the moment will give it half an hour then will have to try again tomorrow!!

  18. I understand that if BA cancels your Avios flight, the call centre will rebook you irrespective of whether Avios seats are available. Does this work even if you used a companion voucher that was due to expire soon? I used a companion voucher that was due to expire in September 2020 but had my flights cancelled. I assume they only allow me to rebook on any flight within the 6 month extension granted to companion vouchers? (Rather than the full 355 days ahead)

  19. Hi I coming to this rather late but… I cancelled my Avios booking to Lisbon and have voucher. I now want to re book but very little reward seat availability (no surprise!). There are no reward seats but there are cash seats available for dates I want. I can’t use the voucher on line you have to ring. UK too busy to join the queue so tried helpful BA lady in India office. She agreed seats available but… as they are not avios reward seats she can’t book them with my voucher.
    I thought I understood from the above. If there are seats available then avios voucher can be used (even if not reward seats available).
    Have I got this wrong?

    • It is only if they rebook you straight away after the flight was cancelled. If you take a voucher that does not apply.

  20. HI Michele,

    I’ve been reading through your comments and just wanted to run the following scenario by you to make sure I have understood the options correctly whilst talking to a BA customer service person and reading your comments on this post! I’ve flights to Thailand for Dec 2020 using my BA amex voucher, 165,000 points and £1100 in taxes etc. I want to cancel as Thailand has quarantine for 14 days once you hit the country making the holiday pretty pointless. My Amex voucher should have ran out Aug 2020 but had the auto 6 months added until Feb 2021 because of covid-19 (hence the rebook from a may 2020 holiday to a Dec 2020 holiday). I’ve come to the conclusion that I have the following two options:

    Option 1: request the refund of the flight from BA direct on the phone and receive everything back bar £100 cancellation/service fee (£50 pp) and regain my BA amex voucher, that from what I have been told will automatically have a further 6 months on it. I’m not sure however if this is from the point of cancellation or post the original expiry date? Can you clarify this? whatever the option the latest expiry date I’m potentially going to get is Aug 2021.

    Or

    Option 2: Take the future travel voucher which will have all of the above added to one voucher (amex CV, £1100 and 165,000 points) but gives me until April 2022 to book in exactly the same process as normal (limited to voucher reward flights)?

    I am not desperate to receive the tax/surcharge money back so is it actually worth me taking the future travel voucher as it will give me an extra year to choose a holiday and I won’t have to pay the cancellation fee of £100.?

    Hoping you can help! Thanks

    Rachel

    • I would personally take the voucher as in these current uncertain times it means you would have until April 2022 to use the voucher. Otherwise even with an extra 6 months that is still quite tight to do a long haul trip. It is usually £35pp per person to cancel an Avios booking. You will be able to use the Avios for any type of booking, not just using the companion voucher. They are separate elements of the voucher. If you use part of the BA refund voucher you would get the rest back as another voucher.

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