How to Best Maximise a BA Companion Voucher With 50,000 Avios

Aug 20, 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 20,000 Avios to burn will have different redemption options than someone with 200,000 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 50,000 Avios to spend.

With this balance, you have a choice between two very different options. If you’ve never flown (real) business class before, you could consider using your voucher for a one-way off-peak Club World flight for two people in Zones 1-5. This means destinations up to 4,000 miles in length (one-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)
  • Montreal (YUL)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Washington (IAD)

Most of these are Zone 5, which will set you back exactly 50,000 Avios one-way (off-peak). You’ll need to stick with an off-peak travel date, as peak dates are priced higher at 60,000 Avios. Club World is a noticeable step up from premium economy. You’ll receive lounge access, priority everything, Champagne and lie-flat beds at 35,000 feet.

New Club World aboard the Boeing 777-300ER. Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways.
Club World aboard the Boeing 777-300ER. (Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways.)

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

**STRICT EMBARGO** LONDON, UK: New Club World seat developed through Project Vector, photographed on 10 Decemeber 2018 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite. (Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

Now, the big downside of this strategy is that you will have used all your Avios on a one-way flight and would presumably need to find a return flight — whether that is paid with cash or points in perhaps another currency. If you can afford it and really want to try proper business class for the first time, then this redemption may work perfectly.

If a return journey is more important to you, then consider a return (off-peak) journey in World Traveller Plus (WTP), which is British Airways’ premium economy product. This is priced at 26,000 Avios each way, so a return redemption will require a couple of thousand additional Avios to book, though there are plenty of ways you can earn extra Avios. This price is for Zone 5 destinations, so you can choose a return journey in WTP to the same destinations listed above.

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 £900 in total fees, taxes and surcharges for the two passengers for a one-way Club World redemption using the Companion Voucher. 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. The return WTP redemption will have similar total fees and taxes to the one-way Club World redemption for New York.

You could use your Companion Voucher for a Reward Flight Saver instead, where fees and taxes are much lower. But with 50,000 Avios to burn, we would recommend aiming for a one-way Club World or return World Traveller Plus redemption instead.

Read more about the Companion Voucher here:

Featured image by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy

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