BA Miles Redemption – HelpBack to Forum
This route has not been “blocked”.
Call them up, where there is redemption availability, this inability to use your voucher should not happen.
Works fine for me, so probably a glitch on your account.8 Mar 2010
AMDGlobal: I don’t think that there’s any kind of conspiracy for BA to have to explain here, having had a play around with availability myself.
Firstly, the best way to check BA Miles availability is always as a series of one-way journeys. If you do this, you’ll see that availability going down to Cape Town is actually quite good in February, but look carefully:
The direct flight from London to Cape Town is only available on certain days; on other days the miles availability is via Johannesburg with the final leg on Comair. This immediately (as posted above) precludes the use of your 2-4-1 voucher.
Hence it’s quite correct that you will see different availability when you check the ‘2-4-1’ box than you’ll see if you look for ‘miles only’ seats. This exact scenario applies to Binman’s search; availability is only ‘good’ via Johannesburg – which is not allowed with a 2-4-1 as the domestic sectors are on Comair.
There’s another characteristic of the search process at play here though too; namely that when the system is asked to check availability for both an outbound and an inbound as a return itinerary, then when no availability (yet) exists for the inbound, the outbound won’t show up either in some circumstances. Specifically, this occurs when the latest available inbound seats are available only *before* the date range of the outbound seats requested.
It’s a logic argument – and a practical example would be: you search for a return itinerary flying out on the 11th February, returning on the 18th February. Whilst there may indeed be outbound availability on the 11th, the latest available/remaining inbound seats are on the 30th January. Since this is clearly an impossible itinerary, and the sales horizon has not yet extended beyond a date when further inbound inventory after the 12th February exists, the query fails completely and you get a total ‘no availability’ message.
In your case then, your situation could well be being frustrated by your searching for return availability in the first instance, but also because it is additionally the case that, currently, direct (2-4-1 relevant) inventory inbound from Cape Town is almost non-existent. It’s not blocked and it’s not somehow different because a 2-4-1 is involved beyond any other condition than a 2-4-1 is not valid on Comair.
Specifically, you do need to call because your best chance of being able to leverage the super value of the 2-4-1 is to fly direct from London to Cape Town, but back from Johannesburg where the direct availability is relatively plentiful. Such an open jaw is perfectly possible with a 2-4-1, but it’s not yet bookable online.
You’ll then simply have to purchase a one-way itinerary CPT-JNB to begin your journey home, at a fare which should be reasonable this far out and which your telephone agent should be able to arrange for you once the miles booking is confirmed.
I do hope that I’ve not missed something else and that I’ve managed to explain myself reasonably clearly; I appreciate that there are nuances to every programme and that describing them can be somewhat blinding to those more used to the detail of other programmes, or new to the genre as a whole!
Good luck though and do let us know how you get on.9 Mar 2010
Wow! That’s great info continentalclub!
The vaguaries of booking online are indeed complex, but the informed consumer can always get what they need if they are prepared to educate themselves.
I hope AMD can use this information to get the seats he needs, though would urge speed as having now announced to several hundred (if not a thousand) BT readers the plentiful availability of Club World flight to SA in February, those seats will no doubt book up even faster!
Just a point to note; although you 2for1 cannot be used for the Comair connector flights between J’burg and CPT, you could simply pay for those flights, and you 2for1 would still be valid outbound from London to CPT/JNB, and returning from JNB.
Best to do extensive research online, and then call up on book the more complex open jaw 2for1 itinerary through BAEC. I find them more able and better disposed to deal with queries quickly early in the mornings, so tend to call then if possible.9 Mar 2010
Thanks continentalclub. I did call EC last night and was told that the problem was the return from CPT. I did not know that I could return via a different location on 2-4-1 deal and pay for the connection. The fact that I am trying to get 4 seats and during half-term may mean that it’s a non-starter or that I’ll have to pay for a seat or two but at least it gives me more options.9 Mar 2010
Good to hear that you’re making progress, AMDGlobal and, as I thought it, it seems that it is indeed the inbound availability that is proving challenging.
If the availability allows it at the moment however, then I would also seriously consider employing VK’s strategy of booking two seats on each of two consecutive days, in the hope that additional availability will open up on one of the days to allow you to travel together.
This was precisely my modus operandi (albeit on Singapore) when arranging to get five of us to Australia and New Zealand last year. With the exception of just one sector, the availability did indeed appear and we were able to fly together for the additional cost of a fairly marginal change fee. Bear in mind that any additional availability may only open up quite close to actual departure, however.
Your original post illustrates a very salient point too; it’s easy to forget that mileage programmes were only ever developed to reward loyal customers with the opportunity to occupy otherwise unsold seats.
Nothing about that concept has changed and, indeed, as revenue management has improved and the economic climate has deteriorated, the number of unsold seats should in theory decline as businesses become leaner.
However, concurrently, airlines have commoditised their programmes to such an extent that it’s entirely understandable that many programme participants feel that they’ve ‘bought’ those miles balances that they now hold, one way or another, and have done so on the basis that redemption will be straight-forward.
When they hit the underlying and inescapable fact that redemption has always and will always only be available for seats that are, or are expected to remain, unsold, they’re likely to be not just disappointed but actually of the opinion that they themselves have been mis-sold something.
On that basis, the savvy traveller should always start by accepting that there will be very few unsold seats, during school holidays, to popular leisure destinations, at convenient times. A few of the better schemes, and I count the Executive Club amongst them, do sprinkle some availability around, to maintain a level of credibility and to reward those who look and book early. If you see the seats, then, I’d always say: book quick!9 Mar 2010
When using an Amex 2-4-1 Companion Voucher the flights offered are not always the same as are available for BA Miles redemptions only. I have found in the past that flying from my regional airport to LHR and onward using BA Miles usually gives me a reasonable choice of flights down to LHR. However, if I try and do the same using miles and my Amex 2-4-1 the number of available onward flights from LHR remain the same. However, the number of flights from my regional airport usually reduce from those available were I to use BA Miles only. In some cases it has been necessary to travel to LHR the day before when using an Amex 2-4-1 as their was no domestic flight availability the same day as my onward travel. However, using BA Miles only there would have been domestic flight availability.9 Mar 2010
Charles; that absolutely should not happen and indeed the system simply interrogates redemption booking-class availability on BA-operated flights. There is no way for British Airways to use a different booking class code for seats available to non 2-4-1 redeemers, compared to those with a voucher. For reference, the booking classes are Z for First, U for Club, P for World Traveller Plus and X for Traveller/Domestic. They don’t have, for example, X(Miles) and X(AmEx); it’s X or nothing!
Can you perhaps remember when you last experienced this issue? What was your search method: did you search sectors separately on miles only and then combine when you came to including the 2-4-1 (this can throw things slightly as the single-sector interrogations don’t take into account inter-sector minimum connection times)? If you did sector-check first, are you sure that ba.com did not simply remove some overly-long, or otherwise impractical connections? Though this is very unlikely with LHR, are you positive that the domestic connections were all operated by BA and not code-share or franchise? Was this all on ba.com or did you cross-check with the call centre? Can you replicate the problem today with some sample dates?
If there is a fault then it should certainly be brought to BA’s attention as that’s what it will be: a fault, rather than a policy.
As you might be able to tell, I’ve used BA Miles a lot over the years, so I’ve come across almost every quirk of the system!9 Mar 2010
CharlesRhona the scenario which causes this is outlined in detail a few posts above by continentalclub.
This is due to the constraints of the online booking system, NOT because any seats are being “blocked”.
Doing research online using one way dummy redemptions, writing down all your required flight information is the way to go. Then call up BAEC directly with this information.
You can book exactly the same flights using your 2for1 as with the normal mileage redemption procedure; there is absolutely no constraint to availability using a 2for1 vs. regular mileage. None.
You just might have to call up to access it, that’s all.9 Mar 2010
When I come to book an Amex 2-4-1 I always mark my departure as my regional airport. I then check the availability using the Amex 2-4-1 and do exactly the same were I to use BA miles only as is some cases I might prefer to hold onto my 2-4-1 for a later date. As I stated previously it is very often the case that the connecting flights to LHR available using BA miles only are not available when I check using an Amex voucher redemption. I checked flights to the USA yesterday and the same happened and in fact it was an earlier connecting flight into LHR that had disappeared leaving only a connecting flight with a minimum connecting time available. I had hoped to make good use of the CCR between flights but the connecting time available using the Amex voucher only gave me just over 1.5 hours at LHR. When I went back in and re-checked using BA miles only the original domestic flights to LHR offered were still avaiIable. I have to go out now but I will try and give an example tomorrow if someone is prepared to look at this.
All the connections are BA to LHR. No codeshare involved.9 Mar 2010
I don’t think that changes my original point; while there may be some lack of visibility of available connections when using the 2for1, if you can see availability using a regular redemption, it can be booked, just not online.
If this occurs in future, just call up BAEC and you will be able to book exactly the flights you see just fine using your 2for1; it just cannot be booked online.9 Mar 2010
Absolutely; do call if you see anything that you’re not sure about – and, if you have a moment, drop a note to BA Customer Services just to let them know if you have had a problem. That way they can investigate any faults; if they don’t know then they can’t help.9 Mar 2010
Now it could be that there are no seats because there is such great demand. Several people trying to book trips in Club + First.
Computer is programmed to hold back seats hoping the punter will buy instead, or am I cynical?11 Mar 2010