Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
Historically, the upgrades that British Airways issues to flyers who earn a minimum of 2,500 Tier Points have, on the whole, only been usable if the airline was offering award availability in the cabin passengers were trying to upgrade into. For most people it has been a time of ‘no award availability, no upgrade’…..but that just changed.
British Airways Gold Upgrade For Two (GUF2)
Once a British Airways Executive Club member earns 2,500 Tier Points he/she is given a Gold Upgrade For Two voucher (colloquially known as GUF2).
Upon earning 3,500 Tier Points Executive Club members are issued with two Gold Upgrade For One voucher (colloquially known as GUF1).
Here’s what you need to know about these upgrades:
- GUF2 upgrades can be used to upgrade two people to the next cabin of service (e.g. Premium Economy to Club World)
- GUF1 upgrades can be used to upgrade one passenger to the next cabin of service (e.g. Club World to First Class)
- GUF2 vouchers can be used to upgrade a single flyer but are then considered spent. They cannot then be used to upgrade another single flyer in the future.
- GUF1 & GUF2 vouchers can be applied to cash fares or to award bookings.
- The vouchers must be applied to a reservation within a year of being issued although travel can take place after the year has elapsed.
- Unofficially, British Airways allows BAEC members to extend the validity of these vouchers by up to 6 months.
- When booking a fare (and using a GUF1 or GUF2 voucher) direct through British Airways, the voucher holder has to pay for the ticket but can make the booking in another person’s name.
- When a voucher holder books through a travel agent the booking has to be in the voucher holder’s name if a GUF1/GUF2 voucher is to be applied.
Using The Upgrade Vouchers
Historically, award availability was required in order for upgrade vouchers to be applied (although a travel agent who knew what they were doing could apply them if the cheapest cash fares were still being sold in the cabin being upgraded into) but, from 24 June 2019, the need for award availability has been removed.
GUF1 and GUF2 vouchers can now be used when British Airways is selling the cheapest fares (lowest fare class) in the cabin that the voucher holder is upgrading into.
As British Airways has explained to the trade, these are the fare classes that still need to be on sale for a GUF1/GUF2 voucher to be useable.
This new rule applies whether the original booking was a cash booking or an award booking – if you book with Avios you do not need to be able to see Avios availability in the higher cabin in order to apply a GUF1/GUF2 voucher.
This is fantastic news for British Airways Executive Club members and GUF1/GUF2 vouchers just became more valuable.
Award availability can be hard to find on the more popular routes so, historically, this has sometimes made it hard for flyers to use their vouchers on the trips where they most wanted to use them. This shouldn’t be quite such a big issue now.
Outside of the busiest routes at the busiest times, it’s not in the slightest bit difficult to find “I” class availability in the Club World cabin so upgrading from Premium Economy to Business Class (the biggest leap there is between cabins on British Airways) should have just got considerably easier.
Personally speaking this rule change may actually see me change my travel patterns a little as I may now make a more concerted effort to hit the 2,500 Tier Point mark now that I know how easy the upgrade should be to use – it will come in very handy when I find a cheap Premium Economy Class fare for Joanna and me on one of BA’s A350 routes 🙂
[HT: Head For Points & Reader Chris]