British Airways yesterday sent out an email to members that had earned Gold Upgrade vouchers that can be used to upgrade their BA travel to the next cabin.
When member makes a booking via an agent, the travel agent needs to process the upgrade and the passengers is then booked into higher revenue fare class. When doing this on tickets issued directly with British Airways, award availability for the higher cabin needs to exist and hence much less availability.
You can access BA’s website here.
Here’s the email that BA sent out:
As a Gold Guest List Member, you receive a Gold Upgrade voucher for one or two people when you reach at least 2,500 Tier Points. This entitles you (and a companion) to a free cabin upgrade* when you next book British Airways flights with us or a Travel Agent.
We’ve listened to your feedback and are making improvements to the voucher booking process. If you book with a Travel Agent you no longer need to use it at the time of booking; simply contact us directly up to 24 hours before your flight to upgrade. If you’d like to make any further changes after you’ve redeemed your voucher, please contact us directly. Your dedicated Gold telephone number is 0800 408 111 or if calling from overseas +44 16 448 3048.
That means it’s now easier than ever to enjoy your upgrade. Please note the voucher is only valid if you – the Executive Club Member – is travelling on the flight and is subject to availability.
Gold Upgrade Vouchers:
British Airways deposits one voucher for two when passing 2,500 Tier Points (T)) within membership year and two upgrade vouchers for one a the 3,500 TP mark. Members that pass 6,000 Tier Points and higher thresholds can choose between bonus Avios or additional upgrade vouchers.
I truly hope that this is not the end for Travel Agent issued and processed upgrades that book into revenue class and thus have good availability. If you need to rely on business/first class award availability to process these, it would make them vouchers borderline worthless.
The BA processed upgrades for Travel Agent issued tickets will continue require award availability in the higher class (same as BA issued tickets in the first place).
I have had hard time using my upgrade vouchers last year and will have another two deposited to my account next week for passing the 3,500 TP mark. I just don’t fly BA long-haul often enough due to pricing and soft product (even in “first”).