American Express and Companion voucherBack to Forum
Anonymous17 Jan 2014
I had my first experience with the Companion voucher concept this week.
It was not a nice one.
One thing is that the offering is limited in the first place, and when you want to travel with someone, the options are simply not good enough.
I have to call a number that is open only 9 to 17. Most of us work those hours, and when you have an unpredictable set of destinations / dates (none of them being what you had in mind) on offer and your select one does not work at the same place as you, this is not functional.
I think that AmEx will have to reconsider this offer if they want anyone to take it as a serious incentive and not just a top of item you might consider in lack of a better use.
I read about this in this forum before I tried it myself, and albeit I saw all the issues others faced, I had a kind of naïve hope it would be different for us. But it wasn’t.
Anyways, I will give AmEx that, that if you have no companion, you can get half off your cost for a single trip. Definitely a bargain for them, and for me it is of course better than losing all of the treat.
I’d say that if the airliners and AmEx want this to be considered serious, they should change it so that you as an individual can book a ticket on pts, then call in to the service desk and ask them to add your companion ticket. If there are no additional travel for points seat, they should make one.
I am more or less confident this was my first and last year with AmEx, also becasue of additional fees on transactions and that most non travel business do not accept them.17 Jan 2014
1. BAEC can now service your account from any call centre, so the reference about 9-5 is not correct. Just call the UK line, free on skype.
2. Most 2 for 1 bookings (except open jaws) can be serviced online, so there’s rarely a need to call up. It is easy to check availability online.
3. Flexibility for using the Amex voucher on one way, open jaw and mixed class itineraries (the latter two which you do have to call in to arrange) is excellent.
4. While I’m unsure of your country of residence, which may make Amex challenging, in the UK it is widely accepted, and you can see where at http://www.whoacceptsamex.co.uk
5. Mileage and affiliate cards are among the fastest growing credit card sectors and the offer of an Amex Companion Voucher and earning avios is a serious incentive for millions of avios collectors.17 Jan 2014
As with all Avios booking early planning is essential. But my experience has been consistently positive. I end up using a voucher every year and have almost always ended up with flights and cabin of choice. Off to NYC in Feb out F back J booked in November. There was plenty of choice when I booked. The bit that gets though is the massive amount of tax you still have to stump up. But it’s still a great saving and can also help get around expensive rules requiring a Saturday night stay. My advice is don’t give up just book well ahead ( if you are able).17 Jan 2014
I have used 3 companion vouchers over the last 4 years. Denver, Orlando and Washington all in CW.
Always managed to book on line.
A little flexibility with dates helps so keep looking.17 Jan 2014
Just used two in the past few days – booked four longhaul vacations and five shorthaul trips all on avios, all in F or J.
All booked using standard redemptions within a day/one cabin class of the dates/cabin class I wanted, apart from one trip for which I needed to use onbusiness points on the inbound.
You can sign up for a BA Amex here, though it’s better to be referred to maximise bonus avios:
Hermes, there’s really no need for all that pesky tax. Have you explored options on this front?17 Jan 2014
SergeantMajor – 17/01/2014 14:28 GMT
” Mileage and affiliate cards are among the fastest growing credit card sectors”
Please provide some recent references/empirical data to support your statement. Thanks.17 Jan 2014
SM – ” BAEC can now service your account from any call centre”
The above is not correct. UK call centres will only deal with UK based accounts. Customers based outside the UK can only use call centres based in their country of membership.17 Jan 2014
I have used a AMEX companion voucher to book F to Moscow return in October 2013. The exact dates I wanted were available. This is my only experience of using a companion voucher. UK based. Booked online. I couldn’t get a visa because my passport had less than 6 months to run. Called BA, and my guest was allowed to travel. BA split the PNR into two.17 Jan 2014
Sorry MS but your post above is no longer correct.
The policy changed in October 2013, when additional functionality was added as part of the ongoing investment in service improvements.
You can get a 25,000 avios bonus for applying here, possibly more if referred:17 Jan 2014
If this is the case SM, it is very positive news.
I just hope that the airline have told their call centre staff because up until the 8th January, the UK call centres were still NOT willing to assist….17 Jan 2014
“As part of a programme of changes for our Executive Club Members, we are delivering something that I know you will really welcome following a lot of your feedback. From today, Executive Club Members can call any service centre to make or change their bookings. This includes both tickets booked with cash or with Avios. You will no longer be asked to call only your local service centre”17 Jan 2014
Sorry Roadking but I have used the 241 (unless you are referring to a different type of voucher) for the last 4 years, usually in F and varying destinations inc DXB, IAD, and JNB. I have booked each on the website as the BAEC shows the Vouchers awarded and a point to book ,and usually on the exact date I wanted. I really hope Amex and BA keep this going – I really appreciate it.17 Jan 2014
I agree with both sides of the debate – it can be a challenge to make it all work, but when it does it really is a boon.
Last year, I was looking to use the 2-for-1 voucher to travel to the US for a wedding; availability in J was limited for the dates to NYC, PHL, BOS (admittedly I was looking in May for August, so not exactly well in advance for the peak season); eventually managed to find an outbound on the LCY-JFK route, but not an inbound so had to ‘lump’ for a return from IAD (Washington).
Thankfully, some availability out of EWR (Newark) came available in late June, and I was able to change – via the call centre, as it was an Open Jaw.
That said, I can understand how frustrating it can be – especially when looking a long way out (currently looking to use one for BKK in November this year, but there is no J availability to there, SIN or HKG).17 Jan 2014