Some of you may remember that before Covid pandemic hit, I had elaborate plans for visiting Japan. My in-laws were set to come with us, and I booked their tickets using Avios points. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men….and you know the rest.
Since there was no change in flight schedule, we had to settle for Avios vouchers that would effectively freeze the value of the tickets for a certain amount time. In our case, it was extended to the fall of next year. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but the alternative was losing $109. I figured something would come up to let me take advantage of this credit. Oh, I should also mention that the tickets would have to be re-issued under original names, which complicated the situation further.
On top of it, I’ve also redeemed Avios towards tickets to Argentina. That trip also fell through. I wanted to cancel those tickets outright since it meant losing only $5 per person in taxes, but the website didn’t give me that option.
I was lazy and didn’t feel like calling British Airways, so went ahead and accepted the vouchers again. So, now I had two sets of vouchers to keep track of. I actually regretted the last one later on, but it was too late to change it.
Lately, I started thinking that maybe I need to just bite the bullet and cancel all these “frozen” tickets, so I could get a refund of my Avios. Yes, it would mean losing the credits, but I didn’t like the idea of forgetting about them somehow and missing the booking deadline. I tend to be a bit absent minded, so this would be totally on brand.
Plus, I couldn’t see how we would be able to use them. Due to astronomical price of fuel, the JAL surcharges are totally off the charts right now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
Yup, that’s $192 in fuel surcharges PER PERSON
Of course, there is a way to use Avios and avoid the surcharges (by redeeming on AA flights within the Americas, for example). But again, it just doesn’t look like my sister-in-law’s travel plans will line up.
Patience is a virtue
As I was going back and forth, two wonderful emails popped up in my inbox a few days ago. British Airways has notified me that they will be refunding the taxes and re-depositing the miles from all the vouchers. My guess is that they got sued due to the fact that it was impossible to select a refund option during cancellation process. Even when there was a change of schedule.
Of course, this option would not be available to me regardless. So, I’m super excited, to say the least. This is $135 I wasn’t counting on. And I certainly can use the money right now. The only issue is, the cards that I used to pay taxes are now cancelled. But this has happened to me before, and the airline usually sends a check in this type of situation.
But the moral of the story is that you should hold out to cancel your tickets for as long as possible. Well, as long as penalties are involved. The same goes for travel vouchers. You never know how things may work out. Getting a proactive refund from British Airways certainly wasn’t on my 2022 bingo card.