How to Best Maximise a BA Companion Voucher With 100,000 Avios

Aug 5, 2019

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If you’ve earned a valuable Companion Voucher via a British Airways cobranded American Express card, you may scouring route maps, flight times and availability but unsure of how best to use it. The question we are asked more than any other from readers here at TPG UK is: ‘How should I use my Companion Voucher?’

The answer will differ from person to person, based on your travel style, timing, likes and dislikes. But most importantly, how many Avios you have in your account. Someone with 30,000 Avios to burn will have different redemption options to someone with 300,000 Avios. So, we will be doing a regular series on some of the best options, based on different Avios amounts.

Today, we are looking at the best ways to use the Companion Voucher if you have 100,000 Avios to spend.

With this balance, you have a few options. First, you can fly in economy return on BA’s longest routes like Sydney or Santiago. There’s also off-peak premium economy options on long-ish routes like the Caribbean, West Coast US or Asia. You could even go premium and fly off-peak business class return on short-ish routes or a one-way first class redemption on many routes.

Those are plenty of different options, but my personal recommendation is to look at a return off-peak Club World (business class) redemption. When you get to Club World, there’s a big step up from premium economy. You’ll receive lounge access, priority everything, Champagne and lie-flat beds at 35,000 feet. While first class is also great, if you can only afford a one-way itinerary (and say economy back), I think a return in Club World is a sweet spot, as you’ll be comfortable both ways rather than having an amazing outbound experience and then an average return flight in a much lower class.

"Ornate columns of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates"
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

With 100,000 Avios, you can book a return, off-peak Club World redemption for two people in Zones 1-5. This means destinations up to 4,000 miles in length (each way). This opens up a huge number of popular destinations that feature a proper long-haul product, including:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Bermuda (BDA)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Lagos (LOS)
  • Moscow (DME)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Washington (IAD)

While some of these flights are less than seven hours in length, for overnight flights, a lie-flat bed is a lifesaver. Note that most shorter destinations than Zone 5, while requiring fewer Avios, do not have a long-haul product. So spending the extra Avios on business class over economy on those shorter routes may not be worth it.

Remember some of these destinations like Dubai and Toronto will receive British Airways’ brand new Airbus A350 this year, featuring its all new Club Suite.

(Photo by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy)

A frustrating condition of using a 2-4-1 Companion Voucher is that the booking must be ex-UK on British Airways. This means that in Club World, the UK APD Tax kicks in on these destinations, which combined with BA’s own fees, taxes and fuel surcharges, means you will be hit with a hefty co-payment when using the Voucher and both passengers are subject to this.

Unfortunately, there is no way around this unless you are willing to begin your journey from Inverness (INV) or Jersey (JER) where the APD does not apply although these departure points are not convenient for many passengers. For New York from London as an example, you will be looking at around £1,300 in total fees, taxes and surcharges. It’s still a huge saving over the cash prices on these routes and a great use of your Companion Voucher, just be ready for a bit of a shock when it comes to the payments page.

You could use your Companion Voucher for a Reward Flight Saver instead, where fees and taxes are much lower. But with 100,000 Avios to burn, we would recommend aiming for a Club World redemption instead.

Featured image by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy

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