How to best maximise a British Airways Companion Voucher with 150,000 Avios

Oct 18, 2019

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If you’ve earned a valuable Companion Voucher via a British Airways cobranded American Express card, you may be 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 than someone with 300,000 Avios. So, we will be doing a regular series on some of the best options, based on different Avios amounts.

You can read our previous guides on the best way to use your Voucher if you have either:

Today, we are looking at the best ways to use the Companion Voucher if you have 150,000 Avios to spend.

With this balance, you have a few options. You could fly return in Club World (business class) to some of the farthest long-haul destinations BA operate to on off-peak dates for exactly 150,000 Avios total, including:

  • Bangkok (BKK)
  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Lima (LIM)
  • Mauritius (MRU)
  • Osaka (KIX)
  • Rio de Janeiro (GIG)
  • Sao Paulo (GRU)
  • Seoul (ICN)
  • Shanghai (PVG)
  • Tokyo (NRT or HND)

For peak dates to these destinations, you would need another 30,000 Avios return.

For slightly shorter — though still very much long-haul — flights like the Caribbean, Florida, India, South Africa, Central America and Western North America, you could either do the journey in off-peak Club World and have 20,000 Avios from your 150,000 Avios balance to spare, or do a return on a peak date for the full 150,000 Avios.

Park Hyatt Shanghai. (Photo by Danielle Vito/The Points Guy)

If you have your eyes on first class, there’s still plenty of options but you’ll have to look at mid-haul flights, rather than some of the long-haul destinations above. For 136,000 Avios return on an off-peak date, you can look at booking the likes of:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Bermuda (BDA)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD)

For a peak return, you’ll need another 10,000 Avios to use your Companion Voucher — for a total of 160,000 Avios.

Beach in south side of Hamilton Island in Bermuda.
Beach in south side of Hamilton Island in Bermuda. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

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 and first, 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.

Featured photo by Kelly Cheng Travel Photography/Getty Images.

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