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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Post #1 contains outdated information and should not be relied on.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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Old Dec 16, 2017, 12:59 pm
  #76  
Ambassador, British Airways; FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Leeds, UK
Programs: BA GGL/CCR, GfL, HH Diamond
Posts: 42,449
Originally Posted by Sealink
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
If you have your AA PNR you should be able to go to MMB on AA.com and there is a field to add your KTN in your details towards the bottom of the page.
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Old Dec 16, 2017, 1:25 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: SAV/HHH
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold (current GGL), HH Diamond
Posts: 1,292
I noticed the same thing....last week on a same day AA Avios booking...wasnt sure if it had something to do with being a last minute booking.

Couldnt select seats in the AA app, website, or checkin kiosk...I was assigned MCE seats at checkin.

TSA PRE was no problem...just follow Karfas instructions.
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Old Feb 7, 2018, 5:45 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 530
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.
I was unable to do this today. I deleted my BA number in the booking process, but it still stuck to the reservation. Was not able to change it with old standbys QR or RJ, but AY website worked.
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Old Feb 8, 2018, 8:41 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,103
Originally Posted by aradisc
I was unable to do this today. I deleted my BA number in the booking process, but it still stuck to the reservation. Was not able to change it with old standbys QR or RJ, but AY website worked.
Hmm. Our last booking was in November & this worked just fine. (I'd test it right now, but I don't feel like wasting $5.60.) Worth keeping an eye on any additional reports.
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 12:06 am
  #80  
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Join Date: Oct 1999
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Problems with booking AA domesticaward flights:
Keep getting this msg:
  • Sorry, there’s a problem with booking this journey online. You can try selecting other flights or contact us so an agent can help you book the flights you have selected
All flights show award seats on AA.com, Ba.com and EF. .... ??? ........

Tried a couple of other destinations: Flights on BA.com show availabiity, once selected, unable to proceed with booking, getting same above message again.
Meanwhile, call center closed, no way to book via reservations desk

Last edited by cesco.g; Feb 14, 2018 at 12:42 am
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 1:35 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,103
Originally Posted by cesco.g
Problems with booking AA domesticaward flights:
Keep getting this msg:
  • Sorry, theres a problem with booking this journey online. You can try selecting other flights or contact us so an agent can help you book the flights you have selected
All flights show award seats on AA.com, Ba.com and EF. .... ??? ........

Tried a couple of other destinations: Flights on BA.com show availabiity, once selected, unable to proceed with booking, getting same above message again.
Meanwhile, call center closed, no way to book via reservations desk
This has happened before, e.g., in October: Avios bookings on AA down?

Unfortunately, there is no workaround other than calling BA.
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 11:52 am
  #82  
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Thanks beltway. I continued in the thread you pointed out.
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Old Mar 4, 2018, 4:48 pm
  #83  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bridport, Dorset
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Just to update this: my second Avios redemption was from Lexington to Philadelphia, and I was able to select my seats about 4 days before departure.
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Old Mar 5, 2018, 3:56 am
  #84  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by Sealink
Just to update this: my second Avios redemption was from Lexington to Philadelphia, and I was able to select my seats about 4 days before departure.
???

Sealink, your mini-bio says BA Gold. I am too. I have recently made three Avios bookings on AA for flights months from now, for Mrs999 and myself, and in all cases I was able to select advantageous seats, for free, at the time of booking.
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Old Mar 5, 2018, 10:23 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bridport, Dorset
Programs: Mucci, BA Bronze, Hilton Gold
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Originally Posted by henry999
???

Sealink, your mini-bio says BA Gold. I am too. I have recently made three Avios bookings on AA for flights months from now, for Mrs999 and myself, and in all cases I was able to select advantageous seats, for free, at the time of booking.
???

Clearly from my post, I have been unable to allocate seats on my previous Avios/AA bookings.
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Old Apr 3, 2018, 11:36 am
  #86  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,452
Anyone able to see Avios availability on PHL-MEX? I'm specifically looking on/around October 12 or the return on/around Oct 21, but the handful of dates that aa.com shows saver availability in Y, ba.com shows none. The route is subject to gov't approval according to the AA site (which I believe is just a formality), could that affect BA showing availability?
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Old Apr 3, 2018, 11:42 am
  #87  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TPA/ABZ
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold. GGL/CCR.
Posts: 13,102
Originally Posted by lowfareair
Anyone able to see Avios availability on PHL-MEX? I'm specifically looking on/around October 12 or the return on/around Oct 21, but the handful of dates that aa.com shows saver availability in Y, ba.com shows none. The route is subject to gov't approval according to the AA site (which I believe is just a formality), could that affect BA showing availability?
Those flights are probably via DFW, CLT or MIA and BA.com doesn't do terribly well with connecting AA flights. If they are showing on AA.com in Saver then I suggest you call BA to book them. If you search for the flights individually on BA.com you will probably see them.
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Old Apr 3, 2018, 11:44 am
  #88  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,103
Originally Posted by lowfareair
Anyone able to see Avios availability on PHL-MEX? I'm specifically looking on/around October 12 or the return on/around Oct 21, but the handful of dates that aa.com shows saver availability in Y, ba.com shows none. The route is subject to gov't approval according to the AA site (which I believe is just a formality), could that affect BA showing availability?
I see availability MEX-PHL (via DFW) on 10/21. The layovers (4 to 5 hours) are not exactly ideal.
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Old Apr 3, 2018, 11:45 am
  #89  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by golfmad
Those flights are probably via DFW, CLT or MIA and BA.com doesn't do terribly well with connecting AA flights. If they are showing on AA.com in Saver then I suggest you call BA to book them. If you search for the flights individually on BA.com you will probably see them.
These are nonstops that don't show up on ba.com whether looking one-way or round-trip.
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Old Apr 3, 2018, 11:57 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,103
Originally Posted by lowfareair
These are nonstops that don't show up on ba.com whether looking one-way or round-trip.
Concur. There are no non-stops showing on those dates or adjacent dates.
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