Several Noob readers have asked how to book an American Airlines flight on the British Airways website with Avios points. This is a great question, and important because you will most likely be flying American Airlines if you are using your Avios miles for short-haul domestic travel.
Many Noobers out there are sitting on a pretty Avios balance because of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card offer. If you haven’t signed up for the British Airways Visa, you can always transfer Ultimate Rewards points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Bold® Business Charge Card cards into British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. There’s a reason why Ultimate Rewards is the best, flexibility. You can also transfer Membership Rewards points into British Airways and there’s usually a transfer bonus.
Step 1 – Looking on American Airlines website (this is not a necessary step)
Whenever you are looking to book a partner flight, you’ll need to go to the the partner’s website first to check availability. You don’t have to do this, but it can save you time if there’s no award availability on the partners website. In this case, we are looking to book an American Airlines flight on British Airways’ website using Avios points. The BA site can be buggy fo sho, and even though you can book AA flights on BA’s website, it’s best not to search blindly. There will often be times when BA’s site doesn’t show all of American’s availability. I always choose to check the American Airlines website first. When you are at AA.com, you are looking for “MileSaver Awards”; these are the award flights available to be book on the British Airways site.
For example: I’m needing to fly from DFW to NY next month. And I want to use my Avios miles because it’s often the cheapest domestic award ticket. Here’s what I found on the American Airlines site:
As you can see, there are many MileSaver options to choose from. Yippee. After selecting the appropriate date, I continued so I could pick out a specific flight that worked for me and to see the flight number.
Alright. So now we see that there are American AAdvantage MileSavers flights available, and we know the flight number of the flights that we want. Now it’s time to hop on over to the British Airways website. Open up another tab or browser so you can keep your AA flight info handy. Also, keep in mind how many AAdvantage miles it will cost, so you can cost compare with Avios. In this case it’s 12,500 one way, or 25,000 roundtrip.
Step 2- Working it out on the BA website
Ok, so after signing into your British Airways account, click on the “Executive Club Tab” on the right upper part of the page, then scroll down to the “Spending Avios” Tab.
After clicking on “Spending Avios”, scroll down and click the “Book Flights with Avios Tab”. We are getting closer.
Finally, we will be able to search for flights using our Avios points. Enter in your flights and click “get flights” and hopefully the BA engine will answer all of your hopes and dreams.
The British Airways website will now go into “checking available” mode, and then the results of your search will appear.
Alright. Here we go. Now you can select you flights if you see availability.
Wow, I didn’t see this one coming. The flights on the British Airways site are actually better than the AA flights on their own website. They are direct flights! This is a real time data point of just how bizarre the BA website can be. In this case, the flights are actually better.
Now continue on to see what these direct flights will cost you. They will cost you 20,000 Avios points and $5, roundtrip. Not only are the flights better, but they are cheaper than the AAdvantage flights. This allows you to save your AAdvantage miles for international flights. That’s where they are best served.
No AA Availabiltiy
If there are no flights then American Airlines hasn’t released the award space to British Airways yet. Hang in there and try back later. Award availability changes often on the BA site.
You can try calling the British Airways number and speak to a rep. Just make sure you have the flight information for the flights you want to take. British Airways should also waive the over the phone booking fee, because the flights weren’t bookable on their end.
Having British Airways Avios points can come in real handy when trying to book domestic short hauls. The 20,000 roundtrip ticket from DFW to LGA is on the high end of what you will pay for a domestic American Airlines flight on BA with Avios, but it still beats the hell out of what you would have had to pay on the AA site. Now who’s to say that this flight will be available tomorrow or in 5 minutes? No one can say, but the BA website can work in your favor sometimes.
I love options when it comes time for me to book a flight, and booking AA on BA is the first place I go for a domestic ticket. I hope this helps you as you try to search for partner flights on BA.
If you are looking to stock pile some BA Avios points, you can apply down below for the British Airways Visa, or check out my sick deals page for the best offers to earn Ultimate Rewards & Membership Rewards points, since they both transfer to British Airways.
(Disclaimer: I do receive a referral credit for the cards mentioned in this post)
— Geoff Whitmore