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TPG reader Steven sent me a message on Facebook to ask about companion fares:
“Will I lose my Travel Together Ticket from British Airways if I cancel my card, or does it stay with my Avios account?”
There are a number of rewards credit cards that offer airline companion tickets either as a standard benefit or as a reward for spending. Some of these companion fares are fairly easy to use, while others are more restrictive. Knowing the rules in advance will help you get the most out of them when you’re ready to redeem.
British Airways offers what’s known as the Travel Together Ticket, which you can earn after making $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year on the British Airways Visa Signature Card. This companion fare allows you to book a second ticket in conjunction with a round-trip award flight from the US. While you won’t have to cover the normal Avios requirement for the second ticket, you’ll still have to pay taxes and fees for both passengers, which can add up quickly.
In order to redeem the Travel Together ticket, your card account must still be open and in good standing. The terms and conditions stipulate that only primary cardholders are eligible to receive this benefit, and that you must remain eligible for the promotion at the time of travel. I’ve heard from flyers whose vouchers remained active in their Executive Club accounts after their cards were canceled, but the official policy (which I’ve confirmed with my contacts at Chase) is that closing your account will nullify the Travel Together ticket. If your account is open, then the ticket remains valid for 24 months from the date of issue.
These rules are inconsistent with some other companion tickets. For example, the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare gets attached to your Mileage Plan account and is yours to redeem even if you’re no longer a cardholder. However, that ticket only lasts until your account anniversary, when you’ll receive a new ticket for the following year.
I’ve struggled to get good value out of the Travel Together Ticket in the past, since finding premium award availability can be difficult and it’s not worth using on economy flights. That said, the British Airways Visa is still worth considering, as the current sign-up bonus could earn you a total of 50,000 points.
You’ll get 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. Despite the recent loss of low-level short-haul awards, you can get good value out of those points.
For more on the Travel Together Ticket and the British Airways Visa, check out these posts:
- Using the British Airways Visa Travel Together Ticket to Paris
- Can You Use the British Airways Companion Pass on Partner Airlines?
- Does the British Airways Visa Make Sense After the Devaluation?
- 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
- Earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
- Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
- In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
- Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home.