In this article we’ll look at how you can earn Avios and British Airways tier points by flying with American Airlines and whether it’s worth it compared to flying British Airways.
It is possible to earn Avios and BA tier points on American Airlines and its subsidiaries instead of AA Advantage miles. This is because they both belong to the oneworld alliance.
When you book or manage your flights with American Airlines, you will be able to add your British Airways Executive Club number. Upon completion of your flights you will automatically be credited the correct Avios.
However, you will earn a different amount of Avios on American Airlines compared to if you fly British Airways. This is because they have different earning rates.
On American Airlines, you will earn Avios at a maximum of 150% of miles flown if you fly first class. On British Airways flights, however, first class fares can come with 300% of miles flown – so double what you’d expect to earn on American Airlines.
How many Avios will I earn on American Airlines?
Here is the full chart of earning rates, sourced from this page of the British Airways website. We are comparing the earnings when you take a flight on American Airlines compared to taking a flight on British Airways.
Economy lowest – 25% on both airlines
Economy low – 50% on both airlines
Economy flexible – 100% on both airlines
Premium Economy lowest – 100% on both airlines
Premium Economy flexible – 110% vs 150% on British Airways
Business – 125% vs 150%-250% on British Airways
First – 150% vs 250%-300% on British Airways
As you can see, economy earning rates are the exact same for both airlines. For flights in premium economy, business and first you will suffer some severe losses, earning up to half less on American Airlines than you would on a British Airways flight. Obviously, something is better than nothing but if you’re flying on a flexible first fare you’d be disappointed to miss out on an additional 150%.
Unlike with some oneworld partners, you will still get your usual Avios tier bonus of 25%, 50% or 100%. This is good news if you hold a Bronze, Silver or Gold British Airways Executive Club status card.
When it comes to tier points, you are better off flying with American Airlines than British Airways if your trip involves a connection. This is because tier points are earned per flight, not per trip.
If you connect in an AA hub to your final destination will earn more tier points than taking a direct flight on British Airways from London. You can work out how many tier points you will earn on the British Airways tier point calculator here. Remember to search leg by leg if you are connecting, eg London to New York and then New York to Dallas if you are flying Heathrow to Dallas with a connection in NYC.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.0 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.