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Old Oct 31, 2015, 7:06 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: beltway
British Airways' mileage currency (Avios) offer a potentially advantageous option for redeeming for award tickets on AA, especially on shorter flights. This wiki (which originated in a thread in the now-closed US forum) attempts to summarize key aspects of the program, as well as several problems and workarounds relating to use of the BA website.
CAUTION
Post #1 contains outdated information and should not be relied on.


What are the general rules for redeeming Avios?
  • Avios is charged per individual flight segment. The cost for a single connecting itinerary AAA-BBB-CCC is the same as the cost of two separate tickets for travel AAA-BBB & BBB-CCC.
  • Avios uses a distance-based chart. (See below.)
    • International first and AA domestic three-class first cost roughly 4x as many Avios as coach.
    • For segments over 2000 miles, business class (and first-class awards on AA domestic two-class service) costs roughly 2.5x coach.
    • For segments under 2000 miles, business class (and first-class awards on AA domestic two-class service) costs roughly 2x coach.
  • You can redeem one-way awards with Avios.
  • Avios is generally region-agnostic. (That is, a given distance costs the same regardless of whether it traverses one or more world regions.) Thus, Avios can provide great value when flying to Hawaii for those who fly coach and can do so in one segment.
  • There is no ticketing fee for online booking. If you call instead of booking online, there is a $25 ticketing fee. (Some people have success in getting this fee waived when an itinerary cannot be booked online, making a phone call unavoidable.)
  • There is no close-in ticketing fee.
  • BA charges $55 to cancel or change a ticket. However, if you cancel online, your cost is capped at the amount of taxes/TSA fees paid; for domestic itineraries on AA, this will normally be much less than $55. (This workaround does not apply to changing a ticket online, which will incur the full $55 fee.) You must cancel 24 hours in advance to get the Avios redeposited; see the BAEC T&C, section 17.
On December 12, 2023, BA substantially increased the cost of awards in the first four bands. The new award chart:




What's the process for redeeming Avios?
Go to the Avios award search page; log in; and enter your desired itinerary.

Great! That sounds easy! What's the catch?
Unfortunately, there are several practical restrictions on redeeming Avios for domestic travel on AA, especially when attempting to book online.
  • Most importantly, AA MileSAAver awards must be available. (You can confirm award availability at the lowest level by searching the AA site directly or by using a third-party service such as Expert Flyer.)
  • The BA search tool cannot generate partner itineraries that include more than one connection. (You can still book each segment as an individual ticket, although doing so will create problems if you wish to check luggage all the way through and/or if you miss a connection owing to flight delays.)
  • Even where AA has low-level award availability, the Avios search tool will often fail to display it. This is especially true on routes with numerous flights in a single day (such as the DCA-LGA, LGA-BOS & DCA-BOS shuttles), but occurs regularly on numerous routes. There is no workaround except calling BA reservations.
    • Recommendation: Always search for one-way awards. The BA search tool is known to display no availability in either direction on round-trip searches when awards are in fact available in one direction but not the other.
  • The BA search engine will accept metropolitan area pseudo-codes (WAS, LON, PAR, NYC, etc.) as well as individual airport codes. For best results, try both (e.g., DCA, BWI & IAD as well as WAS).
OK, I managed to make an award booking despite all these pitfalls. How do I get my AAdvantage number into the reservation in order to enjoy my AA elite benefits?
When finalizing the booking of your award ticket on the BA site, delete your BA Executive Club number from the frequent-flyer ID box. Once the ticket is issued, you can update the reservation on the AA site (using the record locator number provided by BA) to add your AAdvantage number.
  • NOTE: Deleting your BAEC number prevents future modification of the award through the BA site or app. If there is any possibility that you may need to cancel, leave your BAEC number in until your plans are firm (or until the 24-hour advance deadline for canceling, whichever comes earlier) and then add your AA number, ideally through AAs very responsive Twitter liaisons. Otherwise, you will need to call BA & likely suffer a lengthy hold time.
  • Members with BA household accounts may not be able to delete the BAEC number. In this event, contact AA via Twitter or phone to make the change.
I want to change my seat but the BA site never gave me an AA record locator. What's the solution?
Look up your reservation on the AA site using the BA record locator. You can also go to "Manage My Booking" on the BA site; simply select the desired booking (you may need to click the large plus sign at the right), click "Choose Seats," and then follow the prompts. You will be redirected automatically to the AA site, where you can also view your AA record locator and add your AAdvantage member number to the reservation.

How can I accumulate Avios?
  • Fly British Airways.
  • Credit OneWorld flights to British Airways.
  • Open a Chase British Airways credit card, ideally with a generous sign up bonus.
  • Move Chase Ultimate Reward points (CSP, Ink Plus, Ink Preferred) to your BA account.
  • Move AMEX Membership Rewards points to your BA account, preferably during the 2-3 times a year when a bonus is offered.
  • Move Marriott points to your BA account. 60K Marriott points yields 25K BA Avios.
  • Form a household account (see BA forum for discussion) so that miles can be pooled.
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Booking American Airlines awards

Old Jul 13, 2023, 1:48 pm
  #256  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 76
Originally Posted by Geordie405
fieldfreen for something like this I would call BA to see if they can book it over the phone.
Thank you Geordie405, I will give them a call and see if it can be done.
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 8:32 am
  #257  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Mexico
Programs: BAEC Gold / Marriott Platinum
Posts: 3,475
So appears quite a sizeable devaluation in using avos on AA and Alaska. I thought it looked higher than usual when searching for a trip to Miami from Mex. Just saw TPG confirmed it. Another step towards revenue based everything. Avos harder to earn on flying and now you need more of them to fly. Was always going to happen.
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 8:38 am
  #258  
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Originally Posted by TTmex
So appears quite a sizeable devaluation in using avos on AA and Alaska. I thought it looked higher than usual when searching for a trip to Miami from Mex. Just saw TPG confirmed it. Another step towards revenue based everything. Avos harder to earn on flying and now you need more of them to fly. Was always going to happen.
People flying domestically in the US on awards are usually getting their Avios from credit cards. It's quite niche to have BAEC as one's main Oneworld program when living in North America.

As a result it has far less to do with revenue-based earning and far more to do with managing the profitability of BA's bank partnerships. Few would disagree that Avios is still a major bargain for US award flights when compared to AAdvantage.
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 8:43 am
  #259  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Mexico
Programs: BAEC Gold / Marriott Platinum
Posts: 3,475
Originally Posted by craigthemif
People flying domestically in the US on awards are usually getting their Avios from credit cards. It's quite niche to have BAEC as one's main Oneworld program when living in North America.

As a result it has far less to do with revenue-based earning and far more to do with managing the profitability of BA's bank partnerships. Few would disagree that Avios is still a major bargain for US award flights when compared to AAdvantage.
Perhaps for Americans, yes, but for those of us in countries without such generous bonuses on credit cards due to conversion rates etc, it's just so much harder now. Iberia and BBVA devalued their avos earning program by 30 percent. My only way to earn much of use now seems to be balance booster, which has been more attractive due to the sizeable rally of the peso on the pound and dollar. The revenue part of my original post was just referring to the simple equation of making it hard for both earn and burn options simultaneously.
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 10:05 am
  #260  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,103
Wiki updated to include this new award chart:

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Last edited by beltway; Dec 13, 2023 at 10:17 am
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