TPG reader question: What happens to the fees and taxes for a cancelled Avios redemption?

Aug 15, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.co.uk.


While travel is definitely rebounding following the end of the international leisure travel ban in May, many travellers are still concerned about planning trips during these uncertain times.

If you’ve booked long-haul travel, you may be notified by your airline that your flight has been cancelled as they are no longer operating the flight. For example, the United States remains frustratingly closed to British travellers, so British Airways has reduced some flights to the U.S.

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We have covered your options about what you can do if your flight is cancelled, or if you wish to cancel your trip and take advantage of the British Airways Book With Confidence policy. As a reminder, if an airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a full cash refund, regardless of whether the airline would prefer you to accept a voucher instead.

If your cancelled flight was paid for using Avios, the situation is a little more complicated as the payment was made with Avios, plus cash to cover the fees, taxes and surcharges.

This brings us to this week’s TPG reader question of the week.

If I accept a Future Travel Voucher for a cancelled British Airways Avios redemption, what happens to the fees and taxes I paid? Are they refunded to me, or kept in the voucher?

Angela, TPG Reader

If BA cancels your redemption flight, you have the choice of accepting a Future Travel Voucher online or calling them for a full refund. If you call for a refund, the Avios will be redeposited back into your Executive Club account, and the full fees, taxes and surcharges will be refunded onto the card you used to pay for the redemption in the first place.

If you choose to cancel your redemption yourself (i.e. British Airways has not yet cancelled the flight), you can choose to accept a Future Travel Voucher online. The full amount of the Avios, and all fees, taxes and surcharges will be held in this voucher for your use at a later date. This is a frustrating situation because you would probably rather have the Avios back in your Executive Club account to use as you wish, and the cash put back on your card.

Related: 8 ways British Airways could improve its Future Travel Voucher process

If you call British Airways to cancel your Avios redemption, all Avios will be returned to your Executive Club account. The fees, taxes and surcharges will be refunded to you, less a cancellation fee of £35 per person or the full amount of the fees, taxes and surcharges — whichever is lowest.

So, what this all means is that if you choose to cancel your Avios redemption and you want the fees and taxes reimbursed as soon as possible, you should pay the cancellation fee. If you’re not bothered about having that amount back to use as you please, you might want to accept a Future Travel Voucher instead given there is no fee to do so.

Featured image by Mirko Hördt/Getty Images

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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