British Airways Executive Club members who hold Gold status now have even more options for upgrading their flights. With the recent announcement that British Airways Gold Upgrade Vouchers are now valid on American Airlines flights, travellers can enjoy a wider range of options for redeeming their loyalty rewards.
The change will undoubtedly impact the way BAEC members use their vouchers, providing them with more flexibility and choice when travelling with American Airlines.
Until recently, Gold Upgrade Vouchers were only valid on British Airways or Iberia flights and were limited to specific fare classes. However, with the new policy, Executive Club Gold members can use their upgrade vouchers to upgrade eligible American Airlines flights. This means that travellers have more flexibility and options when it comes to using their loyalty rewards.
This development was announced by British Airways on May 19, 2022, and comes as a significant enhancement to the loyalty program’s offerings for its most frequent travellers.
Under the agreement, Executive Club Gold members can use their vouchers to upgrade to American Airlines, while American Airlines Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members can use their systemwide upgrades to upgrade on British Airways and Iberia flights.
The new policy represents a significant expansion of the benefits for AA and BA Frequent Flyer members and reinforces the close relationship BA and AA have. Given in recent years the expansion of the transatlantic partnership, their new combined lounge at JFK T8, and their combined reciprocal Business programme.
Naturally, This development is particularly significant for Executive Club Gold members who frequently fly on American Airlines and have Gold Upgrade Vouchers. but its not all for nothing as the Avois upgrade route on American Airlines is open to all BAEC members.
How The Vouchers Work
Upgrade vouchers offer a one-cabin sector upgrade on eligible British Airways, Iberia or American Airlines flights.
These are earned if a BAEC gold member earns:
- 2,500 tier points in a membership year, they receive a ‘Gold Upgrade For Two’ voucher, commonly known as a GUF2 in the biz.
- For those who earn 3,500 tier points, they will receive an additional two ‘Gold Upgrade For One’ vouchers (GUF1), which can be used for themselves on two trips or for themselves plus a companion on one booking.
Here are some key terms to keep in mind when booking with American Airlines:
- Voucher Validity: Vouchers can only be applied to American Airlines-operated transatlantic and US domestic flights including American Eagle.
- Transatlantic sector: In order to use a Gold Upgrade voucher on American Airlines, the itinerary must contain a transatlantic sector. An upgrade voucher cannot be used solely on a domestic US itinerary, however, the Gold Upgrade can be applied on a domestic US sector flight if the itinerary contains a transatlantic sector in the same direction (ie. a connecting flight).
- Reward flight: Gold Upgrade vouchers can only be used on cash bookings, not on reward flights. This means that if you used your AAdvantage miles to book your flight, you won’t be able to use a Gold Upgrade voucher to upgrade your seat.
- No Double Dipping: Gold Upgrade vouchers cannot be used in conjunction with any bookings that have already been subject to an upgrade (Avios points for Upgrade or Gold Upgrade vouchers), or any other promotions/offers.
- Economy to Premium Economy: It is not possible to use a Gold Upgrade voucher to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy on American Airlines.
- Ticket issued by British Airways: In order to use a Gold Upgrade voucher on American Airlines, your ticket must be issued by British Airways. This means that your ticket number will start with 125-.
- C class tickets: In order to process an upgrade from Economy to Business Class, there must be ‘C’ class tickets available for sale in Business Class.
- First Class availability: Upgrading to First Class on American Airlines requires ‘A’ availability.
- Local Service Centre: To upgrade your booking with a Gold Upgrade voucher, you must call your Local Service Centre at least 24 hours prior to departure. It is not possible to waitlist for an upgrade.
- Routing Configuration:
- One Gold Upgrade voucher can upgrade a single cabin class on a one-way or return booking.
- Travel may not originate from or transit through the same city more than once in each direction.
- Members can upgrade a maximum of 6 sectors per booking.
- Bookings may contain a mix of British Airways and American Airlines sectors (including American Eagle)
- Other carriers may also be on the itinerary but may not be upgraded using a Gold Upgrade voucher.
Is This A Good Thing For BAEC Members
The announcement that Gold Upgrade vouchers can now be used on American Airlines has been met with differing opinions from British Airways Executive Club members.
Overall most travel sites see this as a positive move in some way or another welcoming the increased flexibility that it provides. They believe that it is a good thing for the program as it gives members more options for using their vouchers and makes it easier to book travel on American Airlines.
By expanding the use of Gold Upgrade vouchers to American Airlines, BAEC members now have even more options for upgrading their flights, which can help improve their overall travel experience.
Others, however, are not so positive about the change. Some commentators are concerned that the availability of upgrade seats may be limited, particularly during peak travel periods. This could lead to frustration for members who are unable to use their vouchers when they want to or to waitlist.
while some other writers note that because it only affects revenue tickets, and that using miles is one of the best ways to cross the Atlantic, this will be of little benefit.
In conclusion, the news that Gold Upgrade vouchers can now be used on American Airlines flights is a positive development for British Airways Executive Club members. This new policy provides members with more options to upgrade their travel experience, especially when travelling to or within the United States.
Despite these limitations, the ability to use upgrade vouchers on American Airlines offers BAEC members more flexibility and value for their loyalty. As with any travel-related policy, there are differing opinions on whether this change is a good thing or not.
Nevertheless, this policy update is a noteworthy development in the loyalty program industry and reflects the ongoing efforts of airlines to enhance the travel experience for their customers.