Caution: Cancelling British Airways Award Tickets!

This post serves as a personal lesson learned that I wanted to share and hopefully save someone an hour on the phone!

Last October I redeemed some British Airways Avios points for USA domestic flights on American Airlines for a trip I am taking tomorrow. I got pretty good flights in advance but a more ideal itinerary opened up a couple of days ago. Since British Airways only charges the small domestic taxes I paid ($5) to cancel I decided to go online and do it myself.

I first booked the new flights I actually wanted to take so I had those confirmed before cancelling my old reservation. That was easy and went through without a hitch.

I then tried to cancel my old reservation. When you attempt to do this online at ba.com it asks you for the full credit card number you used when you paid the taxes at the time of booking. Uh-oh!

I cancelled that particular card a few months back to avoid an annual fee. I no longer have the card or any record of the full account number. This left me with no choice but to call British Airways Executive Club Blue line. They always seem to have really long hold times and are not 24 hours!

An hour later and I have my flights cancelled and got emails confirming it. I could have done this myself online (assuming the website didn’t error which it sometimes will) and saved an hour on the phone if I still had record of the old credit card number. Ughhh.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS record the full credit card number you used to book a British Airways Avios award ticket somewhere. I now have a spreadsheet with all of the information I need to cancel any of my Avios bookings:

  1. BA confirmation number (comes in the confirmation email)
  2. Passenger name on ticket
  3. Full credit card number used to book the ticket

I do everything possible to avoid calling the airlines as it is very time consuming and can be a frustrating experience depending on the agent on the other end of the line. Even if you think you will never cancel the ticket I recommend keeping a spreadsheet with all of your Avios bookings listed to be on the safe side. You never know when something may pop up and you will need to cancel a flight and get your points back. This is especially true if you paid with a credit card you know you are going to cancel at some point.

Save yourself the headache later!