How to book American Airlines flights with Avios whilst ba.com is not working properly

In theory, booking American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios is very straightforward.

British Airways will show American Airlines flights on their booking system and you book them like any BA redemption.

However, ba.com once again has issues displaying American Airlines award availability. This has been going on for a couple of weeks now with no end date in sight.

The good news is that you can still book American Airlines Avios redemptions.  The bad news is that you need to do some research first and then call the BA call centre.  There are reports that the call centre can also struggle to see availability at times, but you do at least have a chance!

You will need to use the American Airlines website to find dates with available seats, which to be fair you should be doing anyway as their search system is easier to use and more advanced than the BA one.

How to find American Airlines business class availability

Here is a step-by-step to finding American Airlines reward availability via the AA website, which you can then call BA and ask them to book for you.

On the AA home page, enter your preferred flight details, select ‘Redeem Miles’ and click ‘Search’.  On a route flown by American and other carriers, you may want to go into ‘Advanced search’ and restrict the search to AA.

On the results page select select ‘Economy (or BusinessFirst or First) MilesAAver’ and ‘Full Calendar’.  You can only book MilesAAver redemptions using Avios – ignore the other options that the website offers.

This is what you see for May/June from Heathrow to New York (click to enlarge, screenshot was taken last week so may have changed if you try to replicate it):

and from New York to Heathrow:

There is one thing you need to know.  When you click on the coloured menu options, eg First MilesAAver, you will see results in two colours.  Only days showing the same colour as the menu bar are bookable.  Other days show one of the other available options, usually an AAnytime award which BA can’t book.

In my example, you want days showing 57,500 miles seats.  Click through and make sure that the flight offered is direct.  In this particular case, between New York and Heathrow, we recommend the 77W flights on new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft as these have by far the best seat.

Usually you would go over to ba.com at this point, plug in the same dates and the same flights will show.  But with the BA website currently not showing American Airlines flights you will need to give the BA call centre a call in order to book, with fingers crossed that they can get it to work.  Make sure to ask them to remove the phone booking fee as the flights were not available to book online.

For clarity …. you do NOT pay 57,500 miles.  That is the price if you have AA miles.  You will, in this example, pay 60,000 Avios each way which is the one-way cost of an Avios business class redemption from London to New York.  Remember that all American Airlines flights are charged at peak day Avios pricing.

Hopefully this method can help you get around the current inability to book American Airlines redemptions online.

This is also a useful method if you are looking for American Airlines redemptions domestically as the AA website will often suggest flight combinations which ba.com does not spot.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    Slightly OT but talking of broken, it is not possible right now or yesterday to combine Avios either on ba.com or avios.com. Just comes up with an error…

    Error 404–Not Found
    From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1:
    10.4.5 404 Not Found
    The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

    If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.

    • Have you tried a different browser/device? I’ve had that message numerous times in respect of avios.com functions, though it might now be something to do with the major changes going on!

    • You say all this but it obviously requires competent IT techs to configure servers properly

    • Same here.

      I’ve got a Lloyds voucher I want to use for a Vancouver-London one-way next May, but alas I can’t combine my Avios to be able to use it.

      Avios really has turned into a basket case of a reward programme over the last couple of years imho. I think I’ll be winding down my participation in it, as it’s getting more trouble than it’s actually worth.

      • the real harry1 says:

        More for us! 🙂

        Easy enough to get them to do it on the phone if CMA not responsive

        • Mikeact says:

          Exactly.

        • Well, yes, of course I can do it over the phone.

          I’m just saying that a prominent feature of the programme is, yet again and typically, not working. The IT infrastructure within BA/Avios isn’t getting better….it’s actually getting worse.

          I know it’s sounds like I’m having a moan, but it’s a real issue for BA moving forward if they’re going to compete long term.

          Add that to devaluations, a second-rate hard product, exorbitant charges and the lack of availability and sooner or later people will just switch off, or get cosier with an alternative scheme e.g. Flying Club.

        • Doug M says:

          If you think FC better suits you do it. However, do not kid yourself the Virgin website is flawless. Are charges lower on FC redemptions? Is FC even a meaningful comparison to BAEC/Avios with no SH network, meaning you need a large pot of miles before you can redeem. Each to their own.

    • I transferred my avios yest morning and now have them in both accounts so have doubled my points!

    • Mr Dee says:

      Can’t transfer to Avios.com from either Iberia or BA, so assume they have blocked it

      • You would think if it was a permanent block they’d actually have a response which told you so, oh and maybe remove the link from the main page.

        Or am I expecting too much… ?

    • onlysuites says:

      Been down since Saturday. BA doesn’t have a time when it will be back up.

  2. Daniel Evans says:

    I just tried Chrome my normal browser. The page itself has vanished by the response code “404”.

  3. I got it to work by doing the same search multiple times. Worked on about the 10th attempt

    BA refused to admit there was a problem when i asked them on twitter

  4. Apparently hitting refresh a few times or stepping forward/backwards a day or so on the BA search will often do the trick in making flights you know are available from AA.com show up.

  5. George says:

    Yes the refresh trick seems to work 95% of the time, with patience. But this has been a problem for much longer than two weeks, it has been the case since February! And it took until March for some BA agents to even start admitting there was a problem, with some still maintaining now that there’s just no availability. Whether this is by sheer ignorance or on purpose I don’t know but either way, another huge IT/PR fiasco entirely of their own making. God help us when they launch their new variable pricing system, another disaster in the making not to mention that I think it will be the end of the Executive Club as we know it. There will be plenty of premium seats available with Avios, but at prices more akin to their cash equivalents. We are seeing huge devaluations with other airlines at the moment and BA will surely follow suit. If there are any bookings you were thinking of making in the next year, make them now.

  6. Kevin H says:

    Anyone any feel for how much notice BA will give for the effective date of their upcoming devaluation? If they announce it on, say, 4th June, is it likely to be effective the following day, week or month (or longer) – at least based on previous experience?

    • Last time they were nice and gave some notice. I think it would depend on what changes they’re making.

      For example, if they are keeping the 4 + 2, but additionally allowing people to use Avios to purchase tickets in traditional non-redemption classes (for more Avios), then i’d imagine a move like that wouldn’t need any notice given.

  7. The Indian call centre open from 10pm-6am GGL line can see availability.

  8. Terri says:

    I had another problem with BA avios website last week when trying to book an AA redemption.

    I did eventually manage to get the BA website to bring up the AA reward flights using the multiple repeat method. However, I then could not enter the names of any passengers other than those already connected to my account. The boxes to put in new names were grayed out and the typing feature not working. I tried several browsers without success – each time having to repeatedly search to get the flights again.

    I gave up and called EC. Booked it on the phone – 38 minutes wait time before call picked-up on silver line and another 30 minutes to get it sorted. It was acknowledged there was a problem and the fee was waived. It took half my day getting the reward flights booked. The child in my party has been entered as an adult but i’m not going to let that worry me!

  9. Thomas Howard says:

    If AA redemptions are charged according to the Avios redemption chart in points, does that mean you’d also pay BA surcharges?

  10. James T says:

    Rob

    Slightly off topic. Do Avis post the bonus Virgin miles separately from the base miles. My account shows only the base 500 miles from the recent offer. Or is this a sign of a glitch in the system to be followed up? Cheers.

  11. DaveL says:

    Totally OT, but I’m on a ba flight which is going to be delayed over two hours but likely less than three (within EU, under 1,500km). The aircraft has been boarded after 1+ he delay and meet moved to a ‘remote stand’ by ATX for a further 1hr wait, so it has technically departed but will be over two hours late at destination.

    Technically we would be entitled to food/drink due to length of delay in terminal, but since they boarded the aircraft there is no way to spend vouchers and nothing being offered.

    Should I just ‘get over it’ or should I expect BA to at least throw a few avios our way to make up? I get that these things happen but it has been a frustrating experience on many fronts.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      I’ve been delayed 36 hours due to weather and got nothing but my hotel bill. The really annoying thing is a Ryanair flight from the same airport to Stansted made it on time.

    • Genghis says:

      You’re still entitled to F&B 2 hrs+. No mention in regs of still being in terminal. Ie. Ask for BoB items

      • the real harry1 says:

        There were plenty of delays today out of our airport including our flight – reason was ATC-related so no chance of compo, we had an ATC delay on plane arriving @ airport before turnaround then sat there like prize plums for an hour until European ATC permitted plane to take to the skies, we never got over 2 hrs delay mark so no duty of care to be invoked, the crew did come round giving out water but I’d already liberated a couple of big bottles from the lounge 🙂

        @Thomas Howard – you were entitled to hotel, food, drink (not alcohol) and cost of communications – if they were reluctant to offer this, just claim it back later with receipts, they don’t have a leg to stand on as long as you were reasonable, £200 limit for a hotel room is reasonable but more if there’s no alternative available.

        @DaveL – as Genghis said – ignore the fact that nothing is being offered but on board just buy the M&S stuff/ drinks (not alcohol), keep receipts, claim back later. Or feasibly grab something to eat landside once you arrive 2 hrs late, you were famished due to the delay and have a legit duty of care claim.

        • the real harry1 says:

          There was some daft American woman who – when she heard we might be sitting on the ground for 90 mins – loudly started demanding she be given the right to get off the plane, not sure if she was panicking or missing a connection & thought she might find another way to get to LHR faster? As I said, daft. The cabin crew first said (they were discussing this right up front next to me in row 5) that she had a perfect right to self off-load & I was thinking OMG, she’ll have checked in luggage so here comes another half hour delay on top, he told her to go back to her seat somewhere deep in the BITB section while he went to ask the captain if it was possible. As I said, OMG scenario. But then I saw that he just sort of hid around the corner for a few minutes and had a wee chuckle with one of his oppos, next thing they secured the doors and she must have calmed down or got the message no way Jose because she was heard from no more, by me at least. Our 90 mins just waiting for ATC to give the go-ahead got reduced to about an hour then the plane made up another 20 mins so not such a bad result, hope she got her connection or whatever it was she was upsetting herself about.

  12. ankomonkey says:

    BA also have the temerity to keep sending me the Club Magazine e-mail while the free competitions have been claiming my valid e-mail address is in an invalid format for several months. While I rarely fly them anymore because every aspect has become ‘meh’, I would like to win most of the random prizes they offer this way. The signed Creole cookery book I won from a Club competition a couple of years ago was a great Xmas gift for my brother. Sadly, I’ve had to pay for his presents the last couple of years…

  13. Definitas says:

    The whole customer service experience with BA gets worse by the day and BA denying the interminable website issues just highlights the arrogance that BA basks in due to their monopoly on LHR slots which, in effect, removes effective competition. This lack of competition (coupled with IAG making healthy profits) means that BA has no need to work on its hard or soft products

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