Can You Use The British Airways “Travel Together Ticket” Companion Pass On Partner Airlines?

by on November 3, 2013 · 11 comments

in British Airways, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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I have gotten a bunch of questions about the British Airways Companion Pass – the Travel Together Ticket – which is a benefit that you get when you hit $30,000 in spend on your British Airways Visa in a calendar year, and seeing as we are getting towards the end of the year, I think a lot of you are finally hitting that spend threshold and getting the pass, so it’s a good time to go over a couple of the basics.

Robin tweeted me @thepointsguy:

I have a BA companion pass for 30K spend on BA credit card. Can I use it when booking flights on partner-air through BA with Avios?

Then Kerry asked:

I currently have over 300,000 British Airways Avios and a BA companion certificate. I would like to travel for two people on Business Class to Hong Kong and return from Singapore (my home airport is San Francisco). From reading your posts, it does not make sense to use my British Airways Avios for such long distance travel because of the high taxes charged. I know Cathay Pacific is a Oneworld partner – do you have a suggestion of how to use my Avios for Cathay Pacific – or will I still incur the high taxes from using Avios, even if it isn’t a British Airways flight? 

These are very topical questions since Chase and British Airways once again teamed up to launch an offer yesterday for a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 Avios on the British Airways Visa. You get 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000 in 3 months, an additional 25,000 Avios for spending $10,000 within the first year, and 25,000 more Avios for spending a total of $20,000 in the first year.

First off, let me answer Robin, who asked if she can use it on partner air through BA and Avios? The answer is no, you have to use the companion pass on British Airways-operated flights.

The British Airways Travel Together Ticket.

The British Airways Travel Together Ticket can’t be used on partner airlines.

There is no way to get around the giant taxes and fees using the companion pass since you’ll likely be flying through London. But that being said, it can still be a great value. The longer you go and the higher the class of service you can book, then the more it is going to cost you in Avios and the higher the fees. So if you connect from the US to Europe and Europe to Asia, then you are basically paying double the fees, and the same if it is Europe to Africa. However, you’re paying zero Avios for the second ticket, so while the fees might be high and you’re using a lot of Avios on that first ticket, it’s like getting two half-priced award tickets in terms of the Avios you’re using.

LHR-JFK BA Business

Heathrow to JFK is Business is 80,000 Avios and 529 GBP.

I generally think the Travel Together ticket is good for non-stop travel from the US to Europe – yes, you are going to pay an amount like $529 GBP ($848) per ticket in taxes and fees – but for New York to London roundtrip, for example, you can get two Business Class tickets for 80,000 Avios which isn’t that bad, especially when you consider that those tickets can be upwards of $5,000 or $6,000 a ticket.

Fees on Cathay Pacific are lower than on British Airways.

Fees on Cathay Pacific are lower than on British Airways.

The other question is from Kerry. She has 300,000 British Airways Avios and a BA companion certificate – can she fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and will she still incur the high taxes? Luckily, taxes and fees on Cathay are much less than on British Airways, but you are still probably going to pay $300 or $400 per ticket. But once again, if you redeem for business or first, it absolutely can be worth it. Because she’ll be flying Cathay, though, she cannot use her BA companion ticket.

Avios Calculator

You can use the Avios Calculator to price tickets out segment by segment.

Also remember that Avios prices each ticket segment by segment on a distance-based formula, so if you are in a secondary city in the US – such as Tulsa, OK – then fly to Chicago, and Chicago to Hong Kong, then you are going to pay for both segments a la carte (you use the Avios Calculator to figure this out). On the bright side, if you fly coach on one segment then it will price out at the coach level, and your other segment will price out at whatever level you book that one at, unlike some airlines that charge you for the highest price possible for the whole trip.

As always, do the math and redeem for what makes sense for you, both in terms of miles and money, and in this case, think big picture because even though you might be spending more miles on those taxes and surcharges, you can get some incredible values on what basically amount to half-price miles redemptions.

I hope this clears everything up! I have written at length about British Airways and Avios in the past, so follow the links below for more information.

Maximizing British Airways Avios series: Master FAQ Post on British Airways 100,000 Mile OfferSpotlight on Taxes and Fees,  Travel Together Companion TicketHousehold AccountsUsing Avios to Upgrade Paid TicketsThe Avios and Cash OptionSave Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to IberiaUsing Avios For Non-Flight Redemptions, Maximizing British Airways Avios Series Distance Based Awards.

Whether Or Not To Use The British Airways Travel Together Companion Ticket

Comparing Current Amex Transfer Bonuses To British Airways And Virgin Atlantic

Crossing The Pond: How To Make The Most Out Of Flying New York To London

British Airways Enhances Online Search Tool

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • lamonster

    I could be wrong about this, but if someone can use the companion pass on a one way flight there could be a way to keep taxes and fees reduced. From my experience, the taxes and fees are higher for London departures than arrivals (for example, TLV-LHR one way has taxes and fees of about $55 while LHR-TLV is around $220), so it could be possible to use the ticket for one way travel to London and figure out a different way back, but in practice there might still be problems with that. Now this could be true only for certain routes, but it is something to consider.

  • davep

    Also something to keep in mind is that Companion Passes are valid only on flights FROM the US. I made that mistake last summer when I booked AA from MIA-LHR and then BA from LHR-MIA, only to realize after booking the AA leg that I could not use the Companion Pass on the return. And since it was set to expire shortly thereafter I lost it.

  • jared

    Seriously cut the BS, while I seriously doubt your reader questions are real, at the very least you select the questions that allow you to pimp affiliate links the most. Why don’t you actually select an interesting question rather than a question that anyone with half a brain can find an answer to in less than 10 seconds by using google.

  • Corridor!

    The CP is good for two years. Do your flights have to be completed with in the two years?

    Can I book a flight 18 months after receiving for a flight that is 26 months after receiving it?

  • Dan

    Agreed. The answer could have been summarized as a flat “NO”
    It’s a BA companion pass and not a oneworld companion pass…

  • John

    Care to explain why you stuck your inferior affiliate links in while you actually had a post yesterday about the 100k link that does not pay you a commission…?

  • MP

    haha, calm down fella

  • thepointsguy

    The post was written and scheduled before the 100 came out tho it has been fixed (and I clearly state that the 100k offer is available I’m the video. All of my links direct to 100k

  • thepointsguy

    All the links in the post go to the best public offer of 100K Avios, I’m not sure why you are not seeing it when you click on them, but maybe try another browser.

  • DBest

    I’d disagree that the fees are double for twice the distance. I find that USA-LHR-Asia is only 50% more in fees (if you do not stopover in the UK). So, even though it’s twice the Avios, it may be a better deal to go twice as far, especially since you really maximize the amount of free Avios you get for your companion.

  • Ed Carney

    There is nothing more pathetic then people like you. Serious, get s job, get off the internet. Brian, ignore these idiots

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