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How To Research And Redeem AVIOS For Business Class Flights

This post is inspired by a question I received from a reader recently. She was questioning whether she could use her AMEX companion voucher to redeem AVIOS for business class reward flights as she was struggling to find availability. I have covered redemptions before but thought it might be worth revisiting with some further tips on how to redeem for business or first class rewards.

British Airways First Class cabin configuration
British Airways First Class cabin on our recent trip to Vancouver

What is an AMEX Companion voucher?

For those who don’t know, the AMEX companion voucher is a perk of either of the British Airways American Express credit cards. It allows the cardholder to book a reward flight for two people but only use the AVIOS for one person. Hence why it is called the companion voucher, although people use many other names to describe the voucher. British Airways Companion ticket, British Airways Companion pass, the together pass and AMEX companion voucher are all terms I have heard.

Can you redeem a BA companion ticket for business class reward flights?

Firstly, you can definitely use a BA Companion ticket to book Club and First class rewards. In fact, to get best use of a British Airways companion pass, you should use your voucher and AVIOS for long haul flights in premium cabinsThis way you might save 150,000 AVIOS rather than the 12,000 you might save on an economy ticket to Europe.

Will there be availability?

Availability can be tricky. Each flight has a minimum of two reward seats but if only two business class reward seats are available on the flight you want and you wish to use your British Airways voucher to secure them, it can be a challenge. Less popular destinations may offer more business class reward seats and additional seats may be released nearer to departure.

Many of my readers complain that there is that never availability but often they leave it until the last minute to book and are inflexible on dates and destinations. Here are some tactics you can use to increase your chance of success in finding availability.

How to successfully use an AMEX companion voucher

1. Book as far in advance as possible

British Airways releases flights 355 days in advance. If you have set dates on which you would like to travel, diary the release date, and get searching as early as possible 355 days in advance. Leave it to 50 days in advance and your chance of success will reduce dramatically.

Diary the date in your calendar
Save the date somewhere you will see it!

2. Be flexible

If you are wedded to set dates and one destination, it can he hugely frustrating trying to find availability. Instead, I recommend you make a shortlist of a few destinations you might like to visit.

Also extend your timeframe. Rather than selecting specific dates, consider searching the entire months surrounding your chosen dates. I will show you how to do this next.

It’s unlikely that no availability will exist for all your chosen destinations and dates, especially if you abide by rule number one.

slinky toy to demonstrate flexibility
Flexibility pays!

3. Use the British Airways app

The BA companion voucher rules only allow you to use your BA voucher for British Airways flights limiting further your ability to redeem. To search you need to be logged in and I find it easier to search the app for availability.

If you use the flexible search function, you can search by region, country and city. The more vague your input, the more options you will find. The screenshots below will show you exactly how this works.

How to use the BA App to research and redeem AVIOS for business class flights

Open the app on your phone and make sure you are logged in then from the menu on the right-hand side, scroll down and select reward flights.

On the screen, select the top option (Reward Flight finder) which allows you to find multiple options.

As you can see in this first example, I have selected January – February 2020 for the Caribbean. I have also highlighted Business class flights.

Unfortunately however, there is no availability as it is only a few months away.

BA app screenshot
BA app screenshot showing no availability

If I change this to August – October 2020, lots of options come up.

BA screenshot showing business class availability
BA screenshot showing business class availability

If I click on any of those, it then highlights how many flights are available. This gives me an idea of how likely I am to be successful in securing flights. I selected St Lucia and as you can see there is reasonable availability for this timescale. The screenshot shows 12 outbound flights during this period and 9 inbound so there is a reasonable chance I will be able to find flights.

BA screenshot showing flights to St Lucia
BA screenshot showing flights to St Lucia

If I click on the St Lucia button shown above, this screen pops up. I can quickly scroll left and right to find days with blue bars. Blue bars denotes availablility and once I select dates, they turn to green.

BA screenshot showing date availability for St Lucia
BA screenshot showing date availability for St Lucia

Once you find dates that are acceptable, you simply press continue and proceed to book. Follow the screen prompts and your booking should be done in less than a few minutes.

What else?

Now you have booked your flights, check out your hotel options on hotels.com. For every ten nights you stay, you earn one FREE night and are not tied to one chain of hotels.

If you want to book extras such as airport parking, Holiday Extras is my preferred website. This allows you to easily compare prices for airport parking, car rentals and holiday insurance.

Finally, for trips you can check out to Get Your Guide app which allows you to select the best deals on trips in one convenient location.

Read more

This article also offers some guidance and how to get better value from your hard earned points.

How To Get The Best Value From British Airways Rewards

Have your say

If you have successfully redeeemed AVIOS for business class flights, what are your top tips for other readers? I would love to know. Perhaps you use a different method which we could all benefit from? Don’t be shy – let us know in the comments.

This post may contain affiliate links which pay me a small commission should you click on them and make a purchase. These help towards the cost of running the site, and the occasional glass of wine, but you are under no obligation to use them.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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8 comments

  1. I use Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Chase BA card. By charging $30,000 per year I get 2 first class tickets tor the exorbitant fees, but still much cheaper than buying 2 first class tickets.

    We plan a year in advance and book to London. As the dates get closer, then we decide where we will go from there. European air travel can be inexpensive. We have used this plan to go to Israel and Moscow.

    The downside is you must return to London the day before your return to the USA

  2. Brilliant tip about using the app – I used Reward Flight Finder (https://rewardflightfinder.com/) to find and secure our recent California redemption (it’s best used on a desktop, as mobile views are tricky to work with), but will definitely try the app in future.

    One other good thing about the Reward Flight Finder is the ability to get email notifications when seats become available – after we had booked two Club seats to San Francisco and a return from San Diego (open jaw flights, so had to be done by the Call Centre), I set up an alert for redemption availability in First Class. If you pay the £3 per month subscription, you’ll get hourly notifications. I woke one morning to find out there were two seats in First for the outward journey, so – for a mere pittance – we got to visit the Concorde Room and really fly in style 🙂

    • Hi Simon are you back from your road trip now? That’s a great call regarding the hourly notifications. I’m definitely going to check that our in future

      • Yup – got back Saturday. Fantastic time, though a bit chillier than we were expecting – no rain, though, so max time with the roof down!

        • It can’t have been as 🥶 as it is here! I went to san Francisco in October once and it was definitely not warm but if you had the roof down that’s a winner

          • Taking advice from various sources regarding traffic flow and parking costs, we decided to not get the car until after we checked out from the SF hotel, 3rd November.

            It was definitely warmer, definitely sunnier and most definitely drier, just not really stretch out on the beach weather for some of it.

            And so many of the beaches down to San Diego were amazing – long, wide expanses with sand soft as sugar.

          • It’s pretty windy there too! Great coastline though although it’s a long time since I was there.

          • Definitely windy at Paradise Point, if you’re on the wrong side!!

            There were parts of Highway 1 that had only recently reopened after flooding and fire incidents, so we were lucky with the timing in that respect.

            I doubt much has changed route wise.

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