When does it make sense to use the British Airways Travel Together Ticket?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
TPG-Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Airline credit cards typically offer several standard benefits, like bonus miles on airfare purchases, free checked bags and priority boarding. But one of the most valuable perks any airline credit card can offer is a companion ticket that basically cuts your cost of travel in half.
Thanks to its high welcome bonuses, earning structure and airfare discounts, the British Airways Visa Signature Card has long been considered one of the best credit cards from a foreign airline offered in the U.S. But it also comes with one of the most interesting companion travel benefits: The Travel Together Ticket. Here are the details on this companion deal and how to maximize it.
Want more credit card news and travel advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!
How to earn the British Airways Travel Together Ticket
New U.S.-based cardholders of the British Airways Visa Signature Card who spend a total of $20,000 on their card within the first 12 months of account opening can earn a Travel Together Ticket (posted within 4-6 weeks). The voucher is valid for outbound travel up to 24 months from the date of issue (the return flight can be after that).
The spending requirement is $30,000 for existing cardholders but it has been lowered for new cardholders with this welcome offer. In addition to a lower spending requirement for the Travel Together Ticket, the card is offering 100,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Additionally, cardmembers can still earn a Travel Together ticket each calendar year they make $30,000 in purchases.
Only the main cardholder with a registered address in the U.S. is eligible to earn the Travel Together Ticket. Additional cardmembers are not.
Rules for redeeming The Travel Together Ticket
These types of vouchers can only be applied to award bookings using British Airways Avios and on British Airways flights. In this way, the Travel Together Ticket is different from the other companion tickets out there, which are more like a two-for-one paid deal. In this case, you’re getting a two-for-one award redemption, but are still responsible for the taxes and other carrier-imposed charges on your ticket, which means you’ve got to find two awards open on the same itinerary in the same cabin.
The voucher is only good for use on round-trip itineraries originating in the U.S. Your companion must be booked in the same cabin on the exact same itinerary as you. So if you book a business-class award for yourself, you must find a second one for your companion on the same itinerary.
Though the terms are not explicit, you should plan to have your card open and in good standing at the time your want to use your Travel Together Ticket.
When it makes sense to redeem the Travel Together Ticket
Now we come to the real question: Is it worth even using the Travel Together Ticket? The answer depends on how you plan to redeem it. If you’ve read this site for any period of time now, you know that British Airways awards are notorious for high taxes and surcharges on flights through London. While this generally makes economy awards a bad value, it can still be worth paying $1,000 to fly in business or first class as part of an award ticket compared to shelling out the cash fare.
Also on the plus side, British Airways award availability between the U.S. and Europe tends to be phenomenal compared to what U.S. and other European carriers make available. So if you do want to book an award, your chances of finding it are good.
Now, let’s take four scenarios and compare the cost of using the Travel Together Ticket to the cost of purchasing airfare to determine whether this is a good deal.
To make things simpler, we’ll just look at a single route from Houston (IAH) to London Heathrow (LHR) over a single set of dates in September since award availability was open across all four cabins offered by BA on these flights and the taxes/fees are typical examples of what you would expect to pay.
First up, economy. A round-trip award on this itinerary would cost 32,500 Avios plus $630 in taxes/fees.
So if you were booking this as a Travel Together Ticket, you’d still be paying 32,500 Avios plus $1260 for two tickets. Compare that to the regular economy fare of $1,011 per ticket.
It’s a lot of money for an economy round-trip in any case, but you’re still saving over $1,000 by using your Travel Together Ticket.
Now for premium economy. Here’s a sample award from the same week that would cost 65,000 Avios plus $864 for a single award ticket. For the companion deal, double those taxes/fees to $1728.
A paid fare would be $1,576. You’re saving $711 by redeeming a Travel Together Ticket.
Though taxes and fees go up on business- and first-class tickets, you end up saving a lot more thanks to sky-high airfares. Here’s a business-class award for 125,000 Avios plus $1,764, so for two people, you’d pay $3,528 in taxes/fees.
Compare that to airfare for two, which would cost $7,132 for two. Your Travel Together Ticket and Avios would save you around 50%.
Leep in mind that if you’re just passing through London rather than ending your journey there, taxes and fees do go down slightly depending on where your final destination is. To take a quick example, here’s a business-class round-trip with the same Houston-London flights but with a connection to Paris (CDG) tacked on. You would have to pay 28,500 more Avios, but the taxes/fees are $235 less per person.
TPG values Avios at 1.5 cents each, so you’re giving up $427.50 worth of Avios to save $470 in taxes and fees.
How to get Avios quickly
If you want to use a Travel Together Ticket but you don’t have enough British Airways Avios in your Executive Club account, there are plenty of transfer options to boost your balance since the program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
In order to transfer your Amex points to British Airways, you need a credit card that earns full Membership Rewards points like The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, or The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, among others. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Marriott Bonvoy points also transfer to BA at a 3:1 ratio. Plus, every time you transfer 60,000 points, you get a 5,000-Avios bonus.
The British Airways Visa Signature Card’s Travel Together Ticket is one of the more interesting airline credit card benefits out there.
The spending requirement that cardholders need to hit in order to earn the companion voucher is high. Then, there are many restrictions to actually using the voucher, including finding round-trip awards on BA’s own flights between the U.S. and Europe. With the ongoing pandemic, traveling to Europe is also challenging and there’s no telling when you’ll be able to redeem your Travel Together Ticket. Finally, taxes and fees on British Airways award tickets can be astronomical.
That being said, it can be more than worth it to redeem Avios along with the Travel Together Ticket if you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars on a trip. That is especially true if you plan to redeem yours for travel in business or first class, where airfares can sometimes range over $8,000-$9,000.
Given BA’s widespread award availability and how easy it is to earn British Airways Avios, using the Travel Together Ticket can be a great way to fly to Europe in style while saving money.
Additional reporting by Ariana Arghandewal
Screenshots courtesy of BA.com
Featured photo of British Airways A380 first class by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy UK
Welcome to The Points Guy!