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One of the best uses of British Airways Avios is award travel on partner airlines. For U.S.-based readers, there is no better partner than American Airlines. With 350 destinations spread over 50 countries, American Airlines operates one of the most robust route networks of any airline. The majority of these routes can be booked with British Airways Avios.
In some cases, using British Airways Avios instead of American Airlines AAdvantage miles offers a better return on your points or miles. This is especially true for flights to Hawaii, Asia, and even within the United States.
So how do you book American Airlines flights using British Airways Avios? The process is pretty simple and straightforward. In this post, we'll walk through the entire process of booking AA flights using your Avios.
British Airways Avios Partner Awards
One way to maximize the value of your Avios is to book partner awards.
British Airways partner awards typically offer a better return on your Avios than booking flights operated by British Airways. With dozens of major partners, there is no shortage of partner award availability. This is true even during peak travel periods.
Avios partner award redemptions start at just 6,000 Avios each way. Major partners include Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas, and, of course, American Airlines. Additionally, British Airways Avios partner awards are priced based on flight distance in each segment. This often works in one's favor, creating sweet spots from this distance-based award pricing.
Here is the current British Airways Avios partner award chart:
Avios Partner Award Chart (Revised October 2022)
|Up to 650 miles (Zone 1)||6,000||9,000||12,500||24,000|
|651 to 1,151 miles (Zone 2)||9,000||12,500||16,500||33,000|
|1,152 to 2,000 miles (Zone 3)||11,000||16,500||22,000||44,000|
|2,001 to 3,000 miles (Zone 4)||13,000||25,250||38,750||51,500|
|3,001 to 4,000 miles (Zone 5)||20,750||41,250||62,000||82,500|
|4,001 to 5,500 miles (Zone 6)||25,750||51,500||77,250||103,000|
|5,501 to 6,500 miles (Zone 7)||31,000||62,000||92,750||123,750|
|6,501 to 7,000 miles (Zone 8)||36,250||72,250||108,250||144,250|
|7,001+ miles (Zone 9)||51,500||103,000||154,500||206,000|
The only major drawback of using Avios to book partner awards is the possibility of running into high carrier-imposed fees and surcharges. However, if you are able to navigate around these extra charges, Avios partner awards can yield a lucrative return on your Avios. Check out our post for tips on how to avoid British Airways carrier-imposed fees and surcharges.
Searching for and Booking American Airlines Flights with Avios
American Airlines is one of British Airways' strongest airline partners. As a result, it's no surprise that it's quite simple to redeem British Airways Avios for flights operated by American Airlines.
Depending on your desired route, finding American Airlines' availability should be an effortless experience. There is almost always partner award availability on American Airlines flights within the Americas. It's also pretty common to find plenty of award space on American's flights between the U.S. and Europe.
So how do you know if an American Airlines flight can be booked with British Airways Avios? There are two ways to approach searching for American Airlines flights with partner award space. You can always visit British Airways' website to check for partner award flights.
However, if you want a calendar view, try searching on the Alaska Airlines site. There's also the option of using ExpertFlyer. Let's look at these three methods in depth.
Method 1: Use British Airways Executive Club to find award space
One way to find partner award space for an American Airlines flight is to use the British Airways Executive Club award booking engine. Simply head over to the Executive Club website and log into your account. Then, you can enter your desired departure, arrival city, and travel dates.
If there's availability, the following screen will show partner award space indicated by a partner airline logo. If you see the American Airlines logo next to a flight, it's an AA flight you can book with Avios. Be sure to check out our post on searching for and booking award flights with Avios.
It sounds like a pretty simple process. Unfortunately, this method of finding American Airlines award space will often require far more effort than one might think.
Spend any amount of time on the painfully slow Executive Club award booking engine and you'll soon encounter numerous instances where there is no award availability.
Just because the Executive Club booking engine doesn't display partner award availability doesn't necessarily mean there isn't any. Not all American Airlines flights with availability are displayed through the Executive Club website.
Despite the dreaded “No Availability” displayed at the top of the flight result page, it's entirely possible that there is award availability. You can use the American Airlines AAdvantage booking portal to find hidden partner award space.
Method 2: Use the Alaska Airlines calendar
Rather than clicking on one day at a time or trying to figure out why you aren't seeing availability for AA flights on a particular date, using a calendar to view a month of awards at once can be much simpler.
Head to Alaska Airlines' website and type in your starting and ending points, plus click on the box for “Use Miles.” While you could go straight to the calendar by checking that box, we want to use some filters first. Your results will look like this:
Here, you'll see all available results. Since we want to use British Airways Avios for American Airlines flights, I want to filter for only AA flights using the checkboxes under “Airlines,” then click on “Calendar” near the top left. That will take you to a monthly view of results.
You'll notice that not all of the flights have the same price. That's because of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan moving to dynamic pricing on AA flights. However, the March 14 and March 15 flights show the same pricing on BA's site — even though they have different pricing on Alaska's site.
But what if the flights still don't show up on British Airways' website? You'll need to call a British Airways Executive Club customer service rep.
Make sure to mention that your desired flight was not listed on the British Airways website. This will allow the customer service representative to waive the customer service booking fee.
Method 3: Use ExpertFlyer
While it does have several features available with a free account, the best features at ExpertFlyer are reserved for paid accounts. One such feature is searching for partner award space and including three days on either side of your search date. You also can filter for nonstop flights only.
After selecting the boxes for partner awards in first, business, and economy, my results look like this.
You'll see that there are no seats available in business class or first class on nonstop flights for this date. However, there are seven seats available on both flights that should be available for partner awards — which means using your Avios here.
Everything There Is To Know About British Airways Avios
Want to learn all about the British Airways Executive Club program and Avios frequent flyer currency?
AwardWallet has detailed coverage of the Avios program, including how to earn and redeem Avios. Below you'll find AwardWallet's complete coverage of the program.
- The Basics of the British Airways Avios Program
- How to Search and Book British Airways Avios Awards
- How To Avoid Paying High Fuel Surcharges When Booking Flights with Avios
- How To Transfer Avios Between Accounts (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Qatar Airways)
- Do British Airways Avios Expire?
- The Best Ways to Redeem Avios in the Americas
- LATAM Awards Bookable Through British Airways Website Once Again. Here Are Some Sweet Spots.
- British Airways Unveils New Avios-Only Flights on Select Routes
- You Can Now Redeem Avios Through British Airways Holidays. But Is It Worth It?
One of the best ways to get the most out of your British Airways Avios is to redeem with a partner airline; for readers based in the U.S., there's no better partner than American Airlines. With little effort, you can find and book AA flights to hundreds of destinations across the globe using your Avios.
Need to top off your British Airways Executive Club account? New applicants for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card can earn 75,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL.
- Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. Plus earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book through the website provided in your welcome materials.
- Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
- Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
- Member FDIC
- 3X Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL
- 2X Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations
- 1X Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Have you ever booked an American Airlines flight using Avios? What is your favorite Avios partner award or sweet spot?
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