The Sneaky Way British Airways Is Trying To Keep Your Miles And Surcharges When You Cancel An Award

No airline has done as much to keep customers whose travel has been disrupted from getting refunds as United Airlines has. However they’re not the only bad actor. British Airways intentionally deceived customers about their refund rights.

I’ve been asked by several readers why they aren’t getting points and taxes back on Avios award bookings. British Airways rules allow a refund of taxes and points for a fee, but the British Airways website is hiding the option to do this insisting instead on offering a ‘voucher’.

Here’s the trick you need to know: “if you turn off JavaScript in Google Chrome then will take you to the full cancellation page.”

Go into ‘Manage My Booking’ on and select ‘Cancellation options for this booking’.

You are taken to the ‘consent’ screen:

Do NOT continue the process, as you will only be taken to the ‘Future Travel Voucher’ page which you don’t want. In order to cancel, you need to first disable JavaScript in Chrome. (If you are not using Chrome, you need to find out how your browser handles JavaScript.)

If you want instructions on turning off JavaScript ” target=_blank>read the Head For Points post detailing this workaround.

It’s interesting to know that British Airways has used its cost-savings outsourced-IT to hide the option to refund bookings (and done so rather ineptly).

British Airways will charge the cancellation fee, though as I’ve written before if you want to cancel a booking until close to departure the flight itself may be cancelled by then and you’ll get refunded without a fee.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We were due to fly LHR to Calgary at end of May for a 3 week holiday. Out bound flight has just been cancelled. For 2 people we paid with all our avois points, £1,100 cash and a companion voucher. Return trip was business class with a flat bed – at the age of 57 my first ever such ticket! Gutted. Phoned about 30 times today but just got cut off each time, didn’t get into a queue to speak to anyone. If anyone can suggest times / numbers to call to increase chance of getting through let me know. Can’t see any information from BA anywhere about refund of a companion voucher so any information appreciated. BA won’t have any customers left after this if they carry on with such appalling customer service. I would consider taking vouchers with a long expiry date but it’s unlikely we’ll be going anywhere soon – 12 months is too short a time frame.

  2. I phoned and didn’t choose the refund option. Chose another one. Got through in 4 minutes. The whole phone call was 8. Good luck.

  3. I just called BA to refund my avios and amount paid for 2 one way business class tickets on a flight they cancelled. They refunded all the cash paid but would only refund 150,000 avios out of 162,277 avios I had paid. When I balked they said that was all he could do. Is this what the rules are now?

    I have another one way flight booked with avios for the trip back that we will not take because of COVID. I was told I cannot cancel for a refund of money back. If anyone know what the rules are now please let me know because I am not getting good information. Thanks.

  4. I have dealt with the BA Twitter team as well as the online complaint team and have had no luck. I actually cancelled my flight the day this was written and the only option was a voucher. Now they claim they owe me nothing. I just filed a complaint with the DOT, so let’s see what happens. Shame this is how they treat their customers.

  5. I cancelled my Avios ticket and received a Voucher. It’s confusing as they don’t tell you EXACTLY what the value of the voucher is but, perhaps slightly counter-intuitively, the voucher is good for the Avios AND the fees/taxes etc.

    I was able to rebook using the voucher with no problems once I phoned them.

    Hope this is helpful

  6. BA now refuse to continue correspondence so I have had to place it in the hands of an arbitrator. The switch was made by their duplicity I did NOT ask for a voucher !!!! Maybe the courts?

  7. @Terry: Thank you for the update.

    I am in a similar situation. Since they have eliminated the ability to contact customer service orally and replaced it with a written mail-in system , I have sent them the information for a refund of cash and miles and a deadline. If I do not get a satisfactory result I will engage an attorney.

    I will update this question comments section with results.

  8. I cancelled 2 flights within 24 hours in the US and they still gave me vouchers and not a refund of avios.

    No luck through there message system as they said I agreed to a voucher!! Filed a DOT complaint.

    First flight was eventually cancelled so I had to call that in to get refunded. I rescheduled the second flight so used it anyway.

  9. All: Does anyone here know an attorney (ideally in Dallas, TX) who handles litigating airlines to get refunds for cancelled flights. The airline in question is British Airways and the flight involved a DFW->London Heathrow round trip.

    If so, please email me at

    Many thanks.

  10. I tried this method for getting around the voucher by turning off javascript. It still took me to the voucher screen.

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