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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Post #1 contains outdated information and should not be relied on.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 5, 2017, 6:39 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Hawai'i Nei
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Originally Posted by mia
If you search for availability on aa.com, but cannot find the same on ba.com, you should call to verify availability before transferring. Transfers from American Express or Chase to BAEC are typically completed in real time, you can literally make the transfer during the booking process if you wish.
Thank you, Mia.

Another question, for those who might know: If one is able to secure J/F availability on an international leg (either on BA or AA), but the domestic leg can only be confirmed in Y, is it possible to waitlist for the forward cabin?

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 6, 2017, 4:18 am
  #62  
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Originally Posted by 747FC
Thank you, Mia.

Another question, for those who might know: If one is able to secure J/F availability on an international leg (either on BA or AA), but the domestic leg can only be confirmed in Y, is it possible to waitlist for the forward cabin?

Thanks again!
There is no waitlisting with BAEC reward bookings (fortunately!).
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Old Aug 5, 2017, 6:36 pm
  #63  
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Flying on AA metal with BA booked flight - Get your AA number on record

I was able to find my AA record locater when I selected seats on BA.com

BUT - the record is not linked to my AA number and is unable to be edited.

Found a way to do it at this site (the link they provide is not valid, so just go to finair .com and scroll down to find MANAGE YOUR TRIP

You go to Finair and put in the record locater and it will let you change the FF number from BA to AA. Logged in my AA account and the trip is right there!

BINGO!
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Old Aug 5, 2017, 6:45 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
Flying on AA metal with BA booked flight - Get your AA number on record

I was able to find my AA record locater when I selected seats on BA.com

BUT - the record is not linked to my AA number and is unable to be edited.

Found a way to do it at this site (the link they provide is not valid, so just go to finair .com and scroll down to find MANAGE YOUR TRIP

You go to Finair and put in the record locater and it will let you change the FF number from BA to AA. Logged in my AA account and the trip is right there!

BINGO!
yes so when you book your aa flight using avios on ba.com will not add your AA number - BA doesn't know what your aa number is - and instead will just keep your ba number in. You can certainly change it on the AY MMB. Can you change it on aa mmb?
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 12:51 am
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by KARFA
yes so when you book your aa flight using avios on ba.com will not add your AA number - BA doesn't know what your aa number is - and instead will just keep your ba number in. You can certainly change it on the AY MMB. Can you change it on aa mmb?
Yes, you can change it on AA's version of MMB. And you can also at that time add your "trusted traveller ID" if you have one. I do that when I add/adjust my seats on AA.
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 4:05 am
  #66  
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Originally Posted by LCSinTexas
Yes, you can change it on AA's version of MMB. And you can also at that time add your "trusted traveller ID" if you have one. I do that when I add/adjust my seats on AA.
Thanks. I knew about adding teh KTN, but wasn't sure about whether AA MMB allows changes in FFN.
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 6:17 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by KARFA
Thanks. I knew about adding teh KTN, but wasn't sure about whether AA MMB allows changes in FFN.
Last time (a few months ago) I tried, AA MMB didn't allow me to change a FQTV number if one is already entered on the reservation. I had to contact AA via email to have it changed. Maybe new functionality?
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 7:33 am
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
You go to Finair and put in the record locater and it will let you change the FF number from BA to AA. Logged in my AA account and the trip is right there!
As noted in the wiki above, there is much simpler way to get your AA number into the PNR:
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.
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 8:17 am
  #69  
 
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
Flying on AA metal with BA booked flight - Get your AA number on record

I was able to find my AA record locater when I selected seats on BA.com

BUT - the record is not linked to my AA number and is unable to be edited.

Found a way to do it at this site (the link they provide is not valid, so just go to finair .com and scroll down to find MANAGE YOUR TRIP

You go to Finair and put in the record locater and it will let you change the FF number from BA to AA. Logged in my AA account and the trip is right there!

BINGO!
just noting that it's Finnair and finnair.com
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 9:18 am
  #70  
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Originally Posted by beltway
As noted in the wiki above, there is much simpler way to get your AA number into the PNR:
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.
That box has always been greyed out for me. I think it is because of household account. I do have to go to AY MMB, set it to nothing and then set it to AA.
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 9:47 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Originally Posted by seawolf
That box has always been greyed out for me. I think it is because of household account. I do have to go to AY MMB, set it to nothing and then set it to AA.
It makes sense that there wouldn't be a FFN in there for a household account, but it's crazy that they'd populate the field with anything else. If you go to AA & look at the record, is there anything in that box?
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Old Aug 6, 2017, 6:07 pm
  #72  
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Originally Posted by beltway
It makes sense that there wouldn't be a FFN in there for a household account, but it's crazy that they'd populate the field with anything else. If you go to AA & look at the record, is there anything in that box?
Once the PNR is created for a household account, the BA number is already on the PNR. AA.com does not allow you to change it. You have to call in.

One workaround is to add yourself as a Friend/Family of the Household Account without specifying an executive club number. When booking with Avios, indicate you are NOT travelling so that you can select your "duplicate" profile from Friend/Family list. The FFP field will then be blank allowing you to set FFP on aa.com.

Last edited by seawolf; Aug 7, 2017 at 10:20 am
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Old Sep 4, 2017, 1:20 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Thought I'd report on my "interesting" experience.

I'd booked PHL-BGR return using avios a while back. Flew PHL-BGR without incident last week. Return flight BGR-PHL today.

A couple of days ago I happened to look at my BAEC account and the flight was showing as cancelled in MMB. Rising above panic I checked on the AA website. Reservation was still there. No emails or texts from either AA or BA.

As soon as online check in opened I checked in and printed my boarding pass - without any issues at all. This morning arrived at the airport, checked in my bag, got on the plane and am now in PHL.

So, I'm assuming that MMB was just having a senior moment. And the mantra "Don't Panic" applies to this as it does to most other situations.
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Old Dec 16, 2017, 10:15 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Change?

Has anyone noticed a difference that AA is treating avios bookings? Seats are not available in advance and only at check-in, and for the first time I was not able to get TSA Pre which I don't think is a coincidence.
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Old Dec 16, 2017, 12:36 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Funny you should mention that.
I booked my first AA flights using Avios and the seat map was blanked out.

BA didn't take my Known Traveller number at booking stage. I hope AA will at check in at least. Or maybe I can add it to the booking in AA website
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