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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Post #1 contains outdated information and should not be relied on.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 Jan 16, 2016, 1:11 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wedged somewhere between BTS and VIE ✈
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Originally Posted by beltway
A reminder that BA's award chart adjustments--expressly designed to [ANGLO-SAXON VERB] US-based flyers--kick in starting in a little over 2 weeks. Book your awards for segments < 651 miles soon.
Thanks for the reminder beltway ^

It's such a shame that the 4,500 bookings are going.
headingwest is offline  
Old Feb 2, 2016, 9:41 am
  #32  
 
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Wiki updated to reflect elimination of band 1 (<651 miles) redemptions for flights to/from the US.
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Old Mar 24, 2016, 11:58 am
  #33  
 
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Wiki updated to clarify cancellation penalty rules.
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Old Nov 16, 2016, 3:26 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Wiki updated to reflect AA decision to sell first-class seats out of business-class fare buckets. The result is that AA front-cabin seats will now cost only 2x (or 3x for flight distance >2000 miles) the number of Avios required for a coach award.
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Old Nov 18, 2016, 4:23 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Bangkok / London
Programs: BA Silver, AmEx Platinum, AVIS Presidents Club, Marriott Titanium Elite
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Upgrading AA flight on BA code

Hello,

Currently booked to LHR-JFK-MCO-LGW in Feb 2017.

I was in T on the LHR-JFK sector and then UuAd to Club on day of booking. Avios award availability has now opened up on JFK-MCO to amend to First/Business (I know it's only a short flight but currently Avios rich etc etc).

ba.com showing 2 seats available, and I only need one. Called to amend and the agent said availability is not showing available.

I've just seen that on ba.com it comes up under an AA flight code for 15000 Avios in First/Business but I am currently booked under a BA code (BA1924) - does this make a difference or is the Award availability synchronised across the codeshare? Flight is on 11Feb2017 if that helps.

Any suggestions on how to resolve?

Thanks!

Last edited by HarryKUK; Nov 18, 2016 at 4:47 am
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 12:22 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: atlanta
Posts: 56
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone came across any good deals lately?

I have about 120k Avios miles from opening a Chase British Airways card last year. I am trying to figure out how to best spend this. I work in the NJ area and my folks are in the Atlanta area. Would booking one way flights between EWR or PHL to/ from Atlanta be favorable with Avios? I typically use Southwest points for these but am trying to find ways to use avios.

Thanks,

Harish
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 12:41 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North of Carlisle
Programs: BAEC Silver
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Originally Posted by 621mango
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone came across any good deals lately?

I have about 120k Avios miles from opening a Chase British Airways card last year. I am trying to figure out how to best spend this. I work in the NJ area and my folks are in the Atlanta area. Would booking one way flights between EWR or PHL to/ from Atlanta be favorable with Avios? I typically use Southwest points for these but am trying to find ways to use avios.

Thanks,

Harish
I'm flying to Atlanta in April, staying overnight then using avios to fly down to Miami (via AA) the following day in biz booked via avios. Up until a few weeks ago they were charging 60,000 avios per person on a 2 hour domestic flight in F. However, that's changed and the avios cost is now 30,000 plus 9 tax pp. Much happier with 30k as opposed to 60k. I was looking at 500 (just over $600) flying return in economy. Fortunately, there was availability on the days I needed it. Have a look at this article.


http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/10...er-points-cut/
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 12:57 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8,677
Originally Posted by mike&co
Up until a few weeks ago they were charging 60,000 avios per person on a 2 hour domestic flight in F. However, that's changed and the avios cost is now 30,000 plus 9 tax pp.
For clarity those are return prices.

Each way, NYC/PHL to ATL is 7,500 avios in economy or 15,000 in First (now charged as business) plus about $6 in taxes.

This is a pretty good use of as the tickets are refundable up until 24h before departure - all you forfeit is the taxes.

However as always check cash fares for value comparison.
Ldnn1 is online now  
Old Jan 10, 2017, 1:29 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North of Carlisle
Programs: BAEC Silver
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1
For clarity those are return prices.

Each way, NYC/PHL to ATL is 7,500 avios in economy or 15,000 in First (now charged as business) plus about $6 in taxes.

This is a pretty good use of as the tickets are refundable up until 24h before departure - all you forfeit is the taxes.

However as always check cash fares for value comparison.
Thanks for pointing that out to the OP Ldnn1
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 1:33 pm
  #40  
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Time for me to start thinking about Avios-ing some of our AA travel ... those figures look appealing!
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 2:09 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North of Carlisle
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Originally Posted by T8191
Time for me to start thinking about Avios-ing some of our AA travel ... those figures look appealing!
Another couple of examples - LAX - NYC in October in biz 37,500 plus 4.60 tax. They also have an F class (5hr 30min flight) for 50,000 (same tax)

NYC - SFO (6hrs 45) 37,500 (same tax)
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 2:35 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: atlanta
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by Ldnn1
For clarity those are return prices.

Each way, NYC/PHL to ATL is 7,500 avios in economy or 15,000 in First (now charged as business) plus about $6 in taxes.

This is a pretty good use of as the tickets are refundable up until 24h before departure - all you forfeit is the taxes.

However as always check cash fares for value comparison.

Thank you! I will check this out!
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 2:39 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: atlanta
Posts: 56
another newbie question (apologize if this is out of scope for this forum section), I am thinking about closing my British Airways Visa Credit card. I had this for a year and my annual fee i coming up next month ($95).


Does it make sense to keep this card open or to just go ahead and close this? I have earned about 120k avios miles from this card last year. I don't see any value is keeping this but just wanted to ask the experts on this site for their insight.


Thanks!
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 4:23 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,110
Originally Posted by mike&co
Up until a few weeks ago they were charging 60,000 avios per person on a 2 hour domestic flight in F. However, that's changed and the avios cost is now 30,000 plus 9 tax pp.
As noted in post #34 above, the wiki was revised in November to reflect this welcome change for flights departing on/after Jan. 11, 2017.

Originally Posted by Ldnn1
This is a pretty good use of as the tickets are refundable up until 24h before departure - all you forfeit is the taxes.
Also noted in the wiki, as is the amazing fact that there are no close-in booking fees. For a US domestic one-way, you're basically buying trip insurance for $5.60.
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Old Jan 10, 2017, 4:42 pm
  #45  
 
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F availability is much more scarce now, though. Lots of the longer routes (especially Hawaii) had nothing all year.

I did book LGA-MIA for next month but have decided to cancel it because it was at 05:40 (the only option) and I managed to get a Y ticket for 46 on a Monday morning at 08:00. While F would undoubtedly be nicer, I would rather keep the 30k Avios (it was a one way for two of us) and suck it up for 3 hours. We have MCE seats and our TATLs are in F so pretty happy really!
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