Could this British Airways trick save £100s off your next holiday?
Amid the pandemic, British Airways launched its ‘book with confidence’ commitment giving customers the option to change their booking date and destination, or even cancel it completely without penalty.
It said it wanted to give customers flexibility during the unprecedented times due to coronavirus.
The airline has extended this guarantee to cover all customers due to travel until 30 September, rather than the end of August.
And savvy holidaymakers are using this to their advantage by cancelling their original booking and re-booking flights and holidays at a cheaper price.
British Airways’ ‘book with confidence’ commitment
The guarantee applies to the following:
- Bookings via BA before 3 March for travel by 30 September 2020
- Bookings via BA from 3 March and 31 August 2020 for journeys to be completed by 30 April 2021.
It means customers can amend their holiday and flight destination and dates and pay a difference in fare if applicable.
If you decide to cancel, BA will email a voucher within seven days to the same value which can be used as payment, or part payment, for a future booking. The voucher is valid for travel until 30 April 2022 (departure and return must be made by this date).
However, if your flight has been cancelled, you are eligible for a voucher, regardless of your booking or travel dates, or you can exercise your consumer rights to get a cash refund.
British Airways confirmed the voucher scheme is in place for flights, holidays, hotels, car rental and experiences.
‘I saved hundreds of pounds’
Frequent flyers are reporting saving hundreds of pounds by cancelling their original booking and re-booking the same flight or holiday for a much cheaper price.
Head for Points which helps business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points, said readers shared their stories about getting back an overpayment.
The author wrote: “Let’s imagine you are flying to Palma on Saturday 15 August. If you had booked this flight back in February, pre-covid, you probably paid at least £200 one-way on British Airways.
“At the moment, BA has seats on the afternoon flight from Heathrow for £76 one-way.
“You might think you have to suck this up – but you don’t. Just because you still intend to travel this Summer, it doesn’t mean you have to accept the high price you locked in many months ago.”
And according to the site, other airlines are running similar voucher schemes, as are many hotel groups.
One reader posted: “Looks like I can save about £200 by cancelling for a voucher and re-booking!”.
Another wrote: “I’ve been rebooking hotels every other week. Prices are coming down and down. I saved hundreds of pounds, even for next year prices are coming down significantly.”
And another reader wrote: “I booked so many stays in the recent IHG points deals I’m not spending any actual money on hotels next year.”
A few points to note
Customers should check with BA directly about the notice they need to give in order to cancel a booking.
Be aware that ATOL protection applies to confirmed package holidays originating from the UK and selected EU countries, therefore once you have exchanged your voucher for a future Flight + Hotel or Flight + Car booking, that holiday will be protected under the ATOL scheme. Credit from cancelled BA Holidays package bookings will therefore not be ATOL protected until redeemed for a new package holiday reservation.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, be mindful of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for your destination and you may need to be patient when it comes to using the BA voucher as you’ll need to call up BA to redeem.
The pandemic has impacted every part of society and the economy. Airlines and the travel industry have been hit hard and BA has proposed 12,000 redundancies and it announced it is to retire its entire Boeing 747 fleet. While the BA commitment does seem to allow people to save money on the exact same bookings, consider if this is what you really want to do.