BA Miles Redemption – HelpBack to Forum
Anonymous7 Mar 2010
I am a BA silver exectuive club member and am trying to use miles and a BA AmEx companion voucher to fly my family to Cape Town next February on Club World. Every date I enter comes up with “route unavailable” – and it appears they have blocked this route! I have been saving miles for 2 years and spending extra amounts on my Am Ex to have our family holiday next year. Does anyone know if BA have blocked this route? How can they justify this when they push the benefits of redeeming airmiles and the AmEx companion voucher!?7 Mar 2010
I am not 100% sure but I think you are trying to book too far in advance. I have tried this in the past and I think you can only book 11 1/2 months prior. Then you have the problem of the return flight as this will also be outside of the 11 1/2 month booking limit.7 Mar 2010
I have just checked and whilst there is limited availability on the return leg from Capetown, there are at least 2 seats available ex LHR in J and F every day in February 2011 and on some days coming back.
February is peak season on this route and also includes half term.
There are seats ebvery day in economy and so my suggestion would eb to call BA executive club and book out in Club back in a lower class. Not sure how this impacts on amex 2 4 1 voucher but the seats are there. Have you used the BA search engine for seats? this will show you where the seats are available for a whole month at a time.
There is also the option to go via JNB which has seats ex LHR every day in Club and at least 2 in club ex JNB on the 20th February.
Hope this helps7 Mar 2010
Standard rules for on line bookings, cash. miles etc is no more than 355 days in advance. You can telephone and book some flights, but remember there is a charge for telephone bookings.7 Mar 2010
Some great responses so far.
Looking for four redemption seats in any premium class is going to be a struggle; CPT is one of the most capacity restricted destinations due to bilateral agreements limiting flights. Fares are high, and so is demand for redemption seats. Having said that, I have often seen 8 F and 8 J seats available for redemption on many other routes, even quite close to departure.
Add to this the obvious attractions of sunny South Africa in the middle of the British winter, the lack of significant time difference and both Half Term and Valentine’s Day means seats will be extra hard to come by.
However, you are doing exactly the right thing by looking far in advance, and checking back regularly.
As has been pointed out, you can only use your Amex 2for1 voucher exUK, and on BA operated flights.
BA certainly has not “blocked” that route from redemption.
I can see Club World seats outbound every day except 6, 7, 8 Feb, and return is available on 12 of the 22 currently available days.
NTarrant is spot on to state availability doesn’t hit the online system until 350 days out (355 *sometimes* if you call up), so right now 22 Feb onwards is not offered for booking online.
You may have to be flexible on your dates, class of travel, routing or consider redeeming two seats using your Amex voucher, and purchasing the others.
If you have no flexibility on a high demand route, BA Miles (and indeed any loyalty scheme redemption) is not the way to go.
Two seats are available outbound 10 of the 22 currently available days, return is less good with just 4 of the 22 days having flights.
WT+ is wide open for at least two seats for most days.
If you can find two Club return seats on dates which suit, BOOK THEM NOW using your 2for1 voucher.
Then book two WT+ seats on the same flights, so at least you can travel together.
Oddly there doesn’t seem to be any F availability, but this could change so keep checking back.
There are some other other options, such as:
1. Remember you can mix the class of your booking outbound in WT+ and back in J or F, for instance.
other options, though these will not work using your 2for1 include:
2. Checking availability from different European countries, which can indeed vary from the UK available seats, but this is not for the fainthearted and would involve a bit of research and the use of a tool like expertflyer.
3. Selecting a “stopover” via Johannesburg though this does involve a short sector on BA affiliate Comair (so no 2for1 options) to CPT in a CE cabin; again you can outbound via JNB and/or return via CPT so check both routings.
4. Though not ideal, you could consider two of you flying via CPT, two via JNB on the same day, or even flying out on adjacent days (I realise this is not at all ideal but just exploring every option..!)
5. You might find availability on Iberia, a oneworld partner; this can be seen online by selecting partners, though it is likely this will not be available online until 330 days prior to travel, calling up might have more success.
6. Finally, if you can’t get to the destination you need by being flexible with dates/starting country/class of travel/routings via JNB/Iberia you could consider purchasing some or all of the tickets the tickets exEUR using the ITA fare tool. This only works 330 days out, but in January BA has fares exAMS for £1879 in Club World.
P.S. Don’t forget Virgin, SAA also fly to SA, so if you have mileage in other schemes this may come in handy.
Hope that helps; let us know how you get on!7 Mar 2010
Thanks VintageKrug and others. I can see the availability when I just try to redeem my miles but as soon as I try and use my companion voucher it states “Select another route”. They are clearly blocking this on the CPT and other very profitable routes! This is extremely frustrating and in my view very misleading by BA who promote the companion voucher as a major benefit. I have family in CPT and have been spending lots on the AmEx voucher to boost my miles and to get the companion voucher – if the route to CPT is blocked (which it clearly is for the companion voucher) then in my view this is mis-selling and I would love to speak to senior management at BA about how they justify this. I am a frequent business traveller on BA and this just alienates a once loyal customer!8 Mar 2010
BA is not blocking this route.
T&Cs clearly state the use of the Amex voucher is subject to the usual redemption capacity restraints, so this is not mis-selling either.
The companion voucher does not “create” a newly available redemption seat. You have to work within the available redemption availability.
There is availability for two seats on the same flights outbound and return in Club during February, as I pointed out above; I know because I just did a dummy booking using my current voucher and could book these tickets fine.
I would suggest searching for available dates for two redemption seats in Club ITHOUT selecting your 2for1 voucher (out 4 Feb, back 14 Feb looks fine, with a reasonable stay in Cape Town out on a Friday, back on a Monday).
Once you know there is availability, then enter those exact dates, this time selecting the “I want to use my companion voucher” button.
If it still doesn’t work, then call up.
Indeed, for Gold card holders extra availability is made available in economy should you really need to get there on a day when there are no redemption seats available. THough very poor use of miles.
Have you tried the alternatives I set out above, such as getting availability on flights just to JNB using your 2for1 voucher?
South African routes have in no way been “blocked”,an routes are never available for regular redemption but not voucher redemption; if you are seeing this issue it is a tech error and you should call up and book over the phone, ensuring you don;t pay the extra fees.8 Mar 2010
All I can tell you is that when I select just two seats (using the companion voucher) it states “Select Another Route” for every month between now and February 2011. When I just look at redeeming miles without selecting companion voucher I see availability for 2 seats. If this is not blocking a route what is?!8 Mar 2010
Your are quite right it does not work and an explanation from BA is indeed required.
I have just tried to book two seats LHR CPT without voucher and availability was good on the 1st coming back 14th.
Did the same with amex voucher and nothing whatsoever is available.
If any else has a voucher could they also try as this simply should not happen.8 Mar 2010
Thanks Binman62 – I thought I was being very stupid for a while! I look forward to more feeback from other users. Any idea how to get a meaningful response from BA?8 Mar 2010