British Airways Updates Companion Voucher Terms: A Shift in Reward Strategy

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 11, 2024 02:30 AMNews
White red and blue airplane above buildings
White red and blue airplane above buildings. Source: unsplash

British Airways, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, has announced significant changes to its Companion Voucher program, a move set to impact both new and existing holders of its co-branded American Express credit cards. For the first time in two decades, the airline will increase the minimum spending requirement necessary to earn the coveted Companion Voucher. This adjustment, effective from November 1st, aligns with an upward revision of the annual fee for the BA Amex Premium Plus Card, marking a pivotal shift in the program's structure since its last enhancement in 2022.

The Companion Voucher, a flagship benefit of the BA American Express credit cards, offers cardmembers a unique opportunity to book a second ticket for a companion on the same Reward Flight booking without additional Avios cost or at a 50% discount for solo travelers. The upcoming changes will unify the spending requirement across both the free and paid Amex card variants, setting a new threshold at £15,000 ($19,040), up from £12,000 ($15,230) and £10,000 ($13,960) respectively for the BA Amex Credit Card and BA Amex Premium Plus Cardmembers.

This revamp reflects British Airways' strategy to enhance the value proposition of its Companion Voucher program, which has seen several significant improvements over the past two years. Notably, the ability to redeem vouchers across any cabin class, the introduction of Avios and Money options to reduce cash prices on award tickets, and the expansion of voucher usability to include flights with IAG partner airlines Iberia and Aer Lingus.

In response to inquiries, an American Express spokesperson highlighted the goal of delivering exceptional rewards and value to cardmembers, emphasizing the Companion Voucher's status as an industry-leading benefit amidst the adjustments. The changes are part of a broader effort to maintain the program's competitiveness and appeal in a rapidly evolving travel rewards landscape.

The BA Amex Premium Plus Card will see its annual fee increase from £250 ($317) to £300 ($380), applicable to new applications from today, April 10th, 2024, and to renewals from August 1st. The blue BA Amex Credit Card remains the sole option without an annual fee among the British Airways-branded credit offerings.

In a parallel development, British Airways is enhancing its loyalty program, allowing frequent flyers from competing airlines to match their tier status with the British Airways Executive Club. This initiative, coupled with a promotional offer doubling tier points on certain bookings, signifies the airline's commitment to rewarding its most loyal customers and enticing new members to its Executive Club.

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