NEWS & OFFERS: A cautionary BA 2-4-1 tale, BA to Sydney from £2321 & Singapore Airlines to NZ from £2248

cheap business class flights australia sydney melbourne perth adelaideA view of Sydney Harbour Twilight

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British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher – a cautionary tale

I often write about how best to use a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher to get the flights that you want. One of the top tips is to call up BA at midnight GMT 355 days before departure. This allows you to hopefully snag the two Club World seats as they are released. However, at this point you will only be able to book the outbound flights. You then need to add the inbound flights at D-355 for them as well. 

Previously it was possible to book the return flights online and then call BA to get them to combine the bookings afterwards. Obviously you would need to have enough Avios to do this anyway but DO NOT DO THIS now for US/Canada flights! BA stopped allowing this a while ago and if you want to be charged the same fees/taxes as if you had booked it as a return, you can only add flights to a 2-4-1 booking by calling them. You can still add the return flight if you booked online and get the Avios refunded for the 2-4-1 voucher BUT the fees are another story….

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

A reader emailed me to tell of his experience when he tried to call BA and add the return flights to his existing 2-4-1 booking – he had booked the return online. As our reader found out, whilst BA are happy to give you back the extra Avios by applying the voucher, you will get stung for more taxes and charges. Normally by adding the return leg by phone it would costs around £30 in extra taxes depending on the destination. In our reader’s case, BA wanted to charge him a whopping £500pp extra for his return from the US flights. This is because with this method they will not recalculate the fees and charges. They will simply charge the same as two one way tickets. 

The moral of the story is, make sure if you want to add a return you book by phone, not online – mainly for the US. You should then not pay any phone or change fees if the return flights were not released at the time of booking the outbound. The only additional charge should be the extra tax which is usually low. 


Singapore Airlines to NZ from £2248 return business class

There is usually a regular good offer from Stockholm to New Zealand with Singapore Airlines which features a stop in Moscow. Roving Reporter and I did this trip a couple of years ago and whilst it’s great value, it is a lot of flights.

The latest deal is from Oslo and features a nicer routeing via Heathrow. If you can manage to time it so that your stop is less than 24 hours, you could build in a free stopover and break the journey up (or spend the night at home if you live nearby). It also means a better departure experience with the Singapore Airlines lounge at Heathrow. 

You fly from Oslo to Heathrow on SAS and then continue to Auckland via Singapore. Singapore uses its A380 on the Heathrow route. You can read my review here. They now have even better seats on the A380 on the route from London which are in a 1-2-1 layout and are very wide. 

You could either credit the flights to Virgin Atlantic or any Star Alliance airline. 

Singapore A380 new business class

The fare only appears to be available to book via travel agents. 

The rules are:

  • Travel:  Until the end of the year
  • Refundable: No
  • Changeable: Yes for a fee

I found the fare on Expedia but you can try Skyscanner to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.


BA to Sydney from £2321

cheap business class to sydney

Bondi beach

British Airways have one of the best fares I have seen for them to Australia and appear to be trying to compete with the other great fares from Qatar out of Oslo. You can read about flying from Oslo including where to stay the night before your flight in this article.

You fly back to Heathrow before then continuing on to Singapore and then Sydney. With 5 transfers available in each direction it could be possible to rack up some extra tier points on this trip. 

The rules are:

  • Book by: 21 days before
  • Travel:  available all year
  • Minimum stay: Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 12 months
  • Transfers: 5 Transfers permitted in each direction free:
    • 2 free in Europe in each direction
    • 3 free in Japan/Korea, rep. Of/Korea, dem. People’s rep. Of/s.W. Pacific/Southeast Asia except for China in each direction
    • 1 free at via points between China and Southeast Asia in each direction.
      and – 1 transfer permitted in each direction free
    • 1 free in china in each direction
    • 1 free at via points between China and Southeast Asia in each direction
    • 1 free in Qatar in each direction
  • Stopovers: No
  • Refundable: No
  • Changeable: Yes for a fee
  • The fare component must include travel via SIN airport on
    one or more of the following
    BA flight 11
    BA flight 12
    BA flight 15
    BA flight 16.
    the fare component must include travel via HKG airport on
    one or more of the following
    BA flight 27
    BA flight 28
    BA flight 31
    BA flight 32.

You can book direct with British Airways or try Skyscanner to get the price down lower. 


7 Comments on "NEWS & OFFERS: A cautionary BA 2-4-1 tale, BA to Sydney from £2321 & Singapore Airlines to NZ from £2248"

  1. This is not new – booking the return online and then calling to apply the voucher has always resulted in the trips remaining as 2 separate tickets with appropriate taxes. The result is more expensive than a return for USA but can be cheaper for the Far East. There are other pros and cons to having separate bookings such as changing or cancelling flights independently but double the fees if you cancel the whole thing (as we have just done to Hong Kong!)

  2. The article seems to suggest that if you book the outbound at -355, by phone, then at the same time, you can book your return even if it’s more than 355 days away (which of course it will be). Surely you cant do this as the seats wont be released either for sale or for Avios? So having booked your outbound you run a real risk of not getting your desired returns as someone will pip you to the post on the phone!

    • Sorry if it wasn’t clear. I’m trying to say you book the outbound 355 days before the date of the outbound. Then the return 355 days before the date of the return.

  3. Ian McDowall | 25 February 2020 at 7:43 am |

    You can book your outbound on at midnight gmt, but they are not available in the UK on the phone until 0600 local time.
    Had anyone got a suggestion on which BA office to call when you want to add the return?
    This is going to be at midnight gmt again and so presumably it would need to be Asia/Australia. Unless there isvac24hr office somewhere.
    Has anyone got experience of this and how easy it was to explain what was needed.

  4. Simon Brewster | 25 February 2020 at 10:18 pm |

    Michele, you mention to avoid booking a USA or Canada online 241 return due to doubled high taxes not later being half refunded and I agree with another reader that it works out favourably when doing this from Hong Kong; do you know what the return taxes are like from Costa Rica please?

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