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British Airways companion flight - best uses?

46 replies

loves2plan · 16/01/2022 17:04

Hi all,
I have a BA companion flight voucher to use before May 2023 and I was looking for recommendations of where to go to use it! Flights would be from London and the list of possibilities includes Caribbean, Maldives, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Singapore etc. Thinking of using it in October or November this year. If you could go to any of those places which would it be? Has anyone been to them and can recommend places to stay/experiences etc? I'm desperate for some sun and just want to get something nailed down! Any comments welcome Smile thanks in advance

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Fedupofballs · 16/01/2022 19:09

Best use would be in business class or first, so your first place to start would be too see if any on your list have availability. Next is how much you want to spend and what you want from holiday/accommodation. We’ve been to the Maldives and Mauritius and both were fab, but you’ll need a decent budget, and availability is usually more challenging….

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 19:31

Thanks for your reply @Fedupofballs. I've got around 50,000 avios so I'm not even sure it'll stretch to anything better than economy but will have a look! We are kind of leaning towards Mauritius but don't really know where to start in terms of location on the island etc. Have been looking at Travel Republic for hotels

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TizerorFizz · 16/01/2022 19:46

We have used them for the USA. Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and San Diego. NY can be tricky to get. We’ve also used them for India, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and Rio. So always long haul and business. It’s been wonderful. Got another one but ours runs out in 1 year.

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Totalwasteofpaper · 16/01/2022 19:52

I would def do long haul and book premium economy and then bump to business.

I'd go for South Africa-
do kruger and or private reserves near Jo berg its some of the cheapest safari in Africa I saw loads of baby rhinos, wild lions herds of elephants and wildebeest. Our guide was just incredible.
then take the garden route to Cape Town have a generally amazing time there. I loved the restaurants vineyards penguins beaches and absailing off table top mountain. 🤩

Super super fun holiday

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roastednut · 16/01/2022 20:13

This is useful similar situation here but thinking of going in December and perhaps to Mexico. Paper what do you mean by bump to business class? Smile

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roastednut · 16/01/2022 20:16

Ah dh just explained it Smile

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 20:29

Thanks all! Sorry @Totalwasteofpaper I'm still confused what you mean by bump to business?Smile

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TizerorFizz · 16/01/2022 21:01

If you are on a companion voucher I think you are more likely to be bumped downwards! You are probably not Gold Executive club! The companion voucher seats are very limited. You are lucky to get them on the dates you want. Getting bumped up isn’t what will happen!

South Africa is a good shout. We did that too. We have always been flexible about destinations but you are unlikely to get holiday destinations in high season where there’s high demand. There won’t be anything.

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 21:13

That's true. For economy I haven't had too much trouble finding availability for the dates I am looking at in the places I want. But it's confusing me a bit because it's say 45,000 avios plus £660 taxes for two people using the companion voucher but that's pretty much how expensive it'd be if I just booked through Skyscanner so I don't really get the incentive to use the avios I've saved up

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TizerorFizz · 16/01/2022 21:56

That’s the issue with flying economy. You make bigger savings with business. They tend to allow more seats on less used destinations. We tend to be very flexible with dates for example. You don’t pay a lot more tax for business but your avios used will be much higher. I always compare actual flight costs with tax charged on the companion voucher flights. Sometimes business flights are not that expensive! Having said that, we have just reinstated business flights to Buenos Aires from 2020. We found BA and everyone else was charging substantially more! Cheap seats might be gone at the moment.

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Hairbrush123 · 16/01/2022 22:11

First of all, when did you earn your 241 voucher? If it’s after September and it’s on a BA Blue card - you can only use it in economy alas.

If not, I would advise using it in Business/First. You don’t have much savings in Economy. You can buy Avios in a sale normally which can be cheap. Go onto Flyertalk to find ways to maximize your voucher. Have a read through this thread:
www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/2031580-ba-american-express-companion-voucher-master-thread.html

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 22:13

Yeah absolutely. I'm definitely flexible on the dates so will just have to do some research and have a look I guess. I find the BA website really user unfriendly which doesn't help 😂

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 22:14

Thanks @Hairbrush123 it was since September and blue so I guess that's why availability for anything other than economy isn't showing! I just don't understand how it is actually cost effective in that case 🤦🏼‍♀️

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CrimbleCrumble1 · 16/01/2022 22:19

I just used my companion voucher for business class flights to New York.
Out of your list I’d pick South Africa or Mauritius if there is any availability.

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Fedupofballs · 16/01/2022 22:20

Your best use would probably be using them for a reward flight saver somewhere in Europe - if you’re wanting somewhere different how about the azores? Long haul you’d be better off booking a flight/hotel package. The alternative is to accumulate more avios and get the premium plus credit card, it gets fairly complicated but long haul business class could by achieved (albeit less easily than 13 years ago when I got to Mauritius in club through buying nappies!)

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SallyMcNally · 16/01/2022 22:25

We are going business class to Kenya for our honeymoon but I have been diligently spending as much as possible on my platinum Amex to get us there (you need 10k spend in a year) and it's costing 100k miles. With fewer miles I think you need to go economy. I'd heartily recommend Kenya if you are interested in a safari though. Cheaper than SA and I think probably safer.

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mrsbyers · 16/01/2022 22:27

I transferred all of mine into nectar points , once you start to look at options a new lawnmower was a better deal

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loves2plan · 16/01/2022 22:34

Haha @mrsbyers that's honestly how I feel.

@SallyMcNally I've been looking at Kenya quite a bit today and trying to convince OH, especially because we're talking about starting a family and adventure holidays may be off the cards for a while after this year! Don't really know where to start though to be honest I've never been to Africa at all. It just looks so nice and some of the accommodation on Airbnb etc look fab!

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Hairbrush123 · 16/01/2022 22:40

@loves2plan sorry OP. www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/offers/terms-and-conditions/amex-companion

Me personally in your situation, I would use the voucher to somewhere in Europe but longer routes (North Africa, the Canaries or perhaps Tel Aviv - I know these aren’t Europe) you can often get reward saver fares for as little as £1. 241 vouchers aren’t worth it for economy fares long haul as you don’t save that much and you have to pay two sets of British Airways Privilege charge taxes which isn’t cost effective.

If you want to try again with a 241 voucher - stick with the Blue card and when you’re close to triggering a £10,000 spend, call British Airways to upgrade your card to the Black card. It’s a pro rota card so you will only be charged for the time you use it not the whole annual fee. You can use your 241 voucher in any cabin if it’s from the Black card.
Use the eAvios store portal to buy your stuff online, I did a lot of shopping at John Lewis in 2021 and always waited for the 6 Avios per £1 offer to appear! But have lots of shops on there.

Don’t despair, 241 vouchers are wonderful if they’re used properly. DH and I used his 241 voucher to Vancouver & Toronto in Business and we are using another 241 voucher next month to Chicago in First.

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gogohm · 16/01/2022 23:16

I can't help you with avios I gave up trying to use mine, wasn't worth the effort as could book cheaper other ways. But I can assure you that children are only as limiting as you let them be - we backpacked with ours, ok strictly speaking I had a large case on wheels and backpacks plus a double buggy!

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TizerorFizz · 17/01/2022 07:12

@SallyMcNally
I think you are somewhat deluded if you think Kenya is any safer than SA. Most violence in these countries isn’t aimed at tourists anyway but you should always be careful in the cities. and when driving. Out and about on safari when based in a camp is different and both countries are fantastic for game viewing. Always be careful and look after your possessions though.

We have taken our DC on more adventurous holidays @loves2plan. We didn’t fly long hail with them until youngest was 5. However there are safari camps with child activities and they can be accommodated if you choose a specialist family holiday company. We did base holidays around what they liked and could enjoy when they were younger than 5 and I hated the idea of long haul with a baby, but when they are old enough to be entertained it’s fine.

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SallyMcNally · 17/01/2022 13:42

Yeah I did slightly question that when I said it, perhaps what I meant is, having visited both countries, I felt safer in Kenya.

We are heading off to Uganda and Rwanda in search of gorillas this time anyway so as you can probably tell we are quite happy with slightly riskier destinations/off the beaten track travel anyway!

Wherever you choose safari is an amazing experience and I would heartily recommend it.

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SallyMcNally · 17/01/2022 13:45

Although looking back at the OP if you are after sun I would also really recommend Barbados which was lovely and for me had a good mix of lovely beaches and things to see/do whilst also not being too resorty.

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loves2plan · 17/01/2022 14:00

Thanks all for your advice! I've had a quick look and I think we are going to go with Mauritius. The reward flights I've looked at do work out around £250pp cheaper than if I just booked regular flights through Skyscanner so I can't complain with that for somewhere I wouldn't normally think to go

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CrimbleCrumble1 · 17/01/2022 14:00

OP have you checked to see if booking a package to one of these places is cheaper compared to trying to use the flight voucher and booking the accommodation separately.
When I went to Cape Town with Virgin holidays it was £300 cheaper to book a package with 8 nights B&B in a a family suite in a lovely hotel than to just book the flights.

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