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

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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.)

Comments (36)

  • 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.

    • Anna says:

      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!

    • John says:

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

    • IanT says:

      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.

        • IanT says:

          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.

    • Paul says:

      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

      • IanT says:

        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.

  • Daniel Evans says:

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

  • DTB says:

    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

  • Alan says:

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • Mark says:

      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.

  • Mark says:

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

  • 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!