How to Book American Awards With British Airways Avios When BA.com Shows Nothing Available

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One of the most frequent questions I’ve been getting over the past couple of months is how come I can’t book American Airlines awards on the British Airways website?

Plenty of readers have British Airways Avios, in large part because the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering an initial bonus of up to 100,000 Avios (and because Chase’s ‘5/24’ limits getting approved for some cards reportedly do not apply to this product).

    Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios. Earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.

One nice use of these points is redeeming for short haul travel on American Airlines (and Alaska Airlines).

  • Non-stop flights up to 1150 miles cost 7500 Avios
  • Non-stop flights 1151 to 2000 miles cost 10,000 Avios
  • Non-stop flights 2001 to 3000 miles cost 12,500 Avios


American Airlines Economy

Many awards that would cost 12,500 AAdvantage miles cost just 7500 Avios. Los Angeles – Honolulu can be had for 12,500 Avios one-way.

As a general matter if a non-stop saver award is available to AAdvantage members it is available to British Airways members. However the BA.com website can be glitchy with award space, especially with American, this has been an on-and-off issue for years. As a result you may find space at AA.com and not see it at BA.com.

For instance here’s Austin – Dallas on June 20 at AA.com:

But go to BA.com and nothing appears to be available:

There are two approaches to dealing with this.

  • You can just call British Airways to book, if you see saver award space at AA.com they should be able to see it over the phone. You will want to ask BA to waive telephone booking fees because of their website issues.

  • You can refresh the British Airways search endlessly. (HT: Frequent Miler)

If you click on the next day (June 21) or really any other day, then click back, you may see the award availability show up. Just keep trying this over and over. On this go it took five times and clicking another date and then clicking back to the date I wanted (June 20) before the space showed up — but it can take 10 or 15 tries too.

This is just a website issue. The space is available to British Airways members, and the impediment is easy to overcome.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Gary, BA.com hasn’t been showing LAN award space for a while now; neither does Qantas. LATAM’s new loyalty program (Multiplus) will show the space on their site. Should these seats also be bookable with AA miles, or is LAN carving it out for their own members?

  2. Alaska Airlines (whether they are AA codeshare or not) awards are bookable using Avios but they don’t show on BA.com. You have to call to book them, and they will waive the phone booking fee if you ask.

  3. You can also check AA award space on Iberia’s website, that’s what I did yesterday prior to calling BA to book some award seats on AA flights.

  4. Refreshing the website hasn’t worked for me. I’ve been trying for days to book NY to St. Kitts. It has never showed any availability even after I refreshed over 30 times. Every time. Waste of time.

  5. Having recently dealt with this, I will add that calling BA isn’t an automatic fix. It may be the case that the agent may not be able to see the space either. If you get a good one they might be willing to attempt to “manually” request the space and make the booking, but I bet there are a fair amount of agents who won’t be willing to do much beyond tell you that they can’t see anything and there’s nothing that they can do. Better to use the method that you described to “trick” ba.com into showing the space so you can book online. It worked for me after about five annoying minutes of trying.

  6. 2nd to the LATAM issue….some reason availability has vanished. Not a single seat AUA-BOG avail, just a short time ago 7+ seats on every flight

  7. Better yet what is BA doing.to fix the problem?
    I’ve had it where I booked my BA flight in premium cabin through AA as BA showed no
    availability

  8. I called BA and they said they have been having issues booking on AA for about a month, sorry. They do not know when or if it will be fixed.
    Is there another other option for my BA miles?

  9. “As a general matter if a non-stop saver award is available to AAdvantage members it is available to British Airways members.” Is that true for all tickets? Including Domestic First and International Business?

  10. “British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities”. But American Airlines does. Cannot book an ORD to MCO flight period. My Avios are worthless to me.

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