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.
Here is the full chart of earning rates, sourced from 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 however, you will still get your usual Avios tier bonus of 25%, 50% or 100% depending on if you hold a Bronze, Silver or Gold Executive Club status card, as well as a minimum of 500 Avios per flight.
When it comes to tier points, however, 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, so a connecting 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 BA tier point calculator here. Remember to search leg by leg if you are connecting.
(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 1.5 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 get 20,000 Avios from Amex Gold, or 30,000 Avios from Amex Platinum (June 2021 offer)
The sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold converts to 20,000 Avios and the card is free for the first year.
You don’t qualify for the Amex Gold bonus if you have a British Airways American Express card. You DO qualify for the bonus on The Platinum Card, which converts into 30,000 Avios – find out more here:
If you have your own small business, the best way of earning Avios is via the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. It has a sign-up bonus which converts to 10,000 Avios:
You can find out more about ALL UK credit cards which offer travel rewards in this article, updated monthly.