How Do I Use British Airways Avios to Book American Airlines Award Flights?

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One of my favorite uses for British Airways Avios is booking domestic American Airlines award flights. When possible, booking with Avios instead of AAdvantage miles can save you miles and money.

 

What’s the Advantage of Doing This?

American Airlines and British Airways are both part of the oneworld alliance, which means they have access to each other’s award flight availability and you can book flights with each other’s miles or points. Most of the time when American Airlines has “MileSAAver” availability you can book the same award flight on ba.com using Avios. Also, if your booking is within 21 days, you don’t have to pay the $75 late booking fee!

 

Booking a Flight with Avios

Step 1: Search for an Award Seat

Head over to aa.com and complete your search by entering your destination and preferred travel dates. Make sure to check the “Redeem Miles” Box.

aa-search

 

STEP 2: Look For “MileSAAver” Availability

Check your preferred dates for MileSAAver availability. If your preferred dates are not available, but your travel dates are flexible try surrounding dates.

milesaaver-availability

 

STEP 3: Go to British Airways Website and Input Travel Information

You must have an Avios account to search for availability on ba.com, either sign in with your credentials or sign up here. Once you are logged in, click “Spend Avios“, then click book a reward flight and enter your preferred travel information that has MileSAAver availability.

spend-avios

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avios-reward-search

 

STEP 4: Select Flights and Proceed with Booking

Select the specific flights you would like to fly and proceed with the booking.

booking-info-ba

ba-example

 

Analysis

Booking this sample flight with American Airlines would cost you 25,000 miles + $11.20, whereas booking the flight with British Airways would cost you 15,000 Avios and the same $11.20.

Using British Airways Avios would have saved you 10,000 miles!  This is easily worth the extra 5 minutes.

aa-booking booking-info-ba

 

Don’t have Avios? How to Earn More Miles and Points!

If you need more Avios or AAdvantage Miles, consider applying for a new credit card.

With the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, you can earn 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months. Besides the bonus, you also get full access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs, one free checked bag, and a $100 statement credit towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio and you can get great value out of UR points when transferring to British Airways.

For a limited time with the Business Platinum American Express card, you can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending a total of $15,000 within the first three months of card membership. You earn 50,000 points after spending $5,000 and an additional 50,000 points after spending another $10,000.

If you’d like to apply for any of these cards, we appreciate it when you use our referral links for Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

 

The Bald Thoughts

Booking American Airlines flights with Avios is super simple! It is worth checking out both the American Airlines and British Airways website before completing a booking, spending an extra five minutes can save you thousands of miles. Situations like this is why we recommend having points and miles in both programs, as you can’t combine (or transfer between) Avios and AAdvantage miles.

The fastest way to complete the process is to check for MileSAAver availability on aa.com and then make your way over to ba.com to finish the booking.

Does anyone else book American Airlines flights using Avios?

 


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23 COMMENTS

  1. I was checking for nonstop AA flights between 2 locations in the US using avios points, in this case between LAX and MCO. The only AAsavers flight was a one stop flight so we would be charged for two flights using avios points. From your article, would we be restricted to this one flight using avios points even though there are some nonstop flights from LAX to MCO? Thanx

    • Yeah, that’s the tricky thing when booking awards with partners. Not all of the inventory that you see on AA.com is available on BA.com using Avios. Most of the time, when you see SAAver space on AA, there’s a good chance it will be available on BA.com. Avios charges based on distance and per flight, so if there is a connection, then you will be charged for two flights not one. This is a reason why I have points across many different programs. I can pick and choose which program to use based on which redemption offers the best value. Good luck!

  2. I am trying to book Avios flights from YYZ and there is zero availability for almost a year. There are AA mile Saaver seats available on aa.com but nothing shows on BA.com. Anyway I can get access to those seats using avios? Thanks so much for any advice.

  3. Hi Lee,

    Thanks to your help I have managed to book a reward flight with my British Airways Avios with American Airlines (domestic). Now I’m facing the problem to add luggage as it turns out that my booked flight is only with hand luggage. Do you have any experience how I could do that? I would like to do it beforehand rather than at the airport if possible.
    I hope you can help me out, my flight will be already next week!

    Thanks!

    • Anna, I haven’t experienced that situation before. Usually, award tickets will include checked luggage at no extra cost. Call customer service and ask for clarification. They will definitely help you out.

  4. To Tyler above:
    Hi, it was from Chicago to New York (LGA). Booked last minute and saved the 75 dollar fee (only USA airlines seems to charge) as well. Love you guys!

  5. HI

    Thanks for the tips. I searched AA.com for BOS-ORD. Four pages of flights available. at all miles levels. Logged in to BA.com…went through the steps above on BA exactly and not one flight on AA available on any day. We have hundreds of Avios….useless and so expensive to fly long haul (UK to USA). Any ideas most welcome!

    • Unfortunately, not all of AA award space is available using Avios. Search for the sAAver fares. Those have the best chance of being available using Avios. Good luck!

  6. We have well over 1.5 million Avios points and we can never use them. EVER!. It’s not normal. Why even have a point system. I wish we could use those points to purchase something instead. We would get rid of all of them at once.

    • Wow, that is a TON of Avios. Where have you been trying to use your Avios? If you can’t find a way to use them, Tyler and I will gladly use them for you! We have had great success using Avios for short-haul flights all across the US. A year ago, I even used them to fly to Hawaii with my son and his godfather. And the year before, we flew from Boston to Dublin in Business Class.

  7. Is it only Miles SAAVER rewards that can be booked through BA or can you book the AAnytime rewards through BA aswell? I looked on the AA website and there is only AAnytime award flights available for the dates that I want to fly. But nothing shows up on the BA website. It seems like the only ones that occasionally show up are MilesAAver flights but these aren’t available for the dates I need to fly (even on aa.com).

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