US Airways Awards Not Bookable On British Airways’ Website

One of the awesome things about US Airways’ transition from Star Alliance to oneworld is that it’s now possible to redeem British Airways Avios for travel on US Airways.

British Airways has a distance based award chart, making it incredibly lucrative for shorthaul redemptions:

Distance in Air MilesAvios Cost in EconomyAvios Cost in BusinessAvios Cost in First
1-6504,5009,00013,500
651-11517,50015,00022,500
1152-200010,00020,00030,000
2001-300012,50025,00037,500
3001-400020,00040,00060,000
4001-550025,00050,00075,000
5501-650030,00060,00090,000
6501-700035,00070,000105,000
7001-1000050,000100,000150,000

For example, a one way ticket spanning under 650 miles will cost you just 4,500 Avios.

Anyway, ordinarily you can search and book US Airways award seats using Avios directly on ba.com, though for whatever reason US Airways award space isn’t showing on ba.com at the moment.

US-Airways-2

That being said, you can use American’s website to search for award availability, and if there’s space then you should be able to call BA and book.

US-Airways-1

The downside is that it can take forever to get through on the phone with British Airways.

While British Airways does charge phone ticketing fees, they should be willing to waive them since the space isn’t showing online.

My guess is that this might have something to do with US Airways’ fare class adjustment we saw last weekend. I’ve reported the issue to British Airways, so hopefully they fix it soon.

Update: Some are reporting even not being able to book space by phone that shows through American’s website. I had no problem booking the flight I was looking at, for what it’s worth.

Comments

  1. I was procrastinating on booking a short flight that I need to take in 3 weeks, hopefully this goes back to normal soon! Keep us updated please!

  2. Can anyone confirm that you can actually book a US air award that appears on the AA website by calling BA? I tried this two days ago, and they told me they couldn’t see it.

    Lucky, could you do a dummy booking to confirm? Maybe there is a way of asking for it that I’m missing.

    Thanks!

  3. Ben: I had problems last week booking 2 US Airways first class tickets from DCA to PHX in April. On the US Airways website the reward showed as 25,000 miles/person each way (First Low) but on choosing the flights the tickets became 45,000 miles/person each way (First Medium). The issue continued for a while so called and, after speaking to 3 agents…., was able to get the tickets issued at the First Low level. They waived the call-in booking fee.
    I checked again today and the same thing is happening. Look for example, at 4/22 – 4/29 (not the dates I’m actually traveling). Coach seems to be pricing OK.
    Do you think that is also to do with the fare class adjustment?

  4. Oops jumped the gun,

    I was told even over the phone they wouldn’t be able to book it until February 2nd as of now, but hopefully sooner.

  5. @ bob — Hmmm, I had no problem booking US space over the phone, but I’ll update the post to indicate that others are having issues.

  6. Ben, I just booked a one way US air award using 4500 BA Avios two days ago. I didn’t have any problem booking but I saw a lot of phantom space for some of the dates. The US Air space showed up on BA but not on AA. When I tried to book through BA, it will give a message that the flights are sold out. Eventually, I was able to avoid phantom seats and book the award.

    I hope this issue is resolved as I have more Avios bookings lined up.

  7. I called BA on Friday morning. Was attempting to book a USAir flight from DCA-BOS and connect to an EI flight to Dublin. Reservation agent was able to ticket the EI portion, but informed me that because of the fare code realignment, they were not able to book any flights on USAir metal. She told me to try again after the first of February, but I’m not sure if that was a firm date that had been communicated to the CSR’s, or if she just sort of randomly picked that date b/c she figured that a week would be enough time for the tech issues to be sorted out.

  8. I too noticed something fishy searching for US flights the past few weeks.

    On January 12th I found availability in coach on the Usair nonstop from PHL to TLV for 30K Avios + $23 in taxes.

    When I searched again on January 21st the same flight was now 30K Avios + $330 in taxes.

    I took screen shots – because I was helping a relative make a reservation

    Any idea what happened?

  9. @seth, i also saw no fuel surcharges on the initial screen a few weeks ago but never clicked through. last week, the charges were way higher. when i inquired on another blog, someone said it sometimes shows low taxes/surcharges on the initial screen but always increases on the subsequent screen (for US PHL-TLV)
    is that maybe what happened to you?

  10. Based on the reports that this issue will be resolved about Feb 1st, I hope that also means we have until then to take advantage of the good opportunities that have come up as a result of the fare alignment.

  11. Another data point: I was looking for HNL-PHX last weekend on ba.com, and it was showing front-cabin space as ‘business’, not ‘first’. I was excited at first (2X avios instead of 3X avios), but when I selected one of those flights, I got an error “sorry, cannot process this flight selection”, or something like that…
    I did chalk it up to the award-seat fare-code realignment of USAirways, but hoped it would be sorted by now…

  12. @Bob – I called BA for a flight with low level award space seen on both AA and US websites, but not on BA. First person saw no availability and couldn’t do anything. When I called back, the second person knew exactly what to do and helped me easily. Maybe one thing to try is to ask them to long sell? I personally didn’t have to do this, but it might help.

    Also noticed that I was charged 19.20 in taxes/fees for the r/t rather than the usual 11.20. Anyone else experience this?

  13. @ Seth — Not sure why they were so low, but there are supposed to be fuel surcharges on US Airways for transatlantic flight, so the latter number sounds right.

  14. @ Tim — Sometimes I find the UK call center charges that, they seem to just be passing on some extra taxes. Not supposed to be charged.

  15. @ Bob S. — Unfortunately first class is the correct coding for that flight, so you should expect to pay 3x miles.

  16. I was just able to book 4 tickets on us airways lga-dca on the phone only. What should the taxes have been?

  17. @Tim maybe your success was due to trying a particular call center? Lucky suggests this extra tax was a result of calling the UK center. I’m based in the US, and I’ve only ever dialed the 1800 number listed on the BA website. Do you know which number you dialed or if there is any way to choose call centers?

  18. @Bob – I called 1 (800) 247-9297 (1-800-AIRWAYS). I’m pretty sure it’s the UK one based on the accents. Dan from Dans Deals wrote that the Singapore call center (+65 6823 2095) often helps in these situations, but I thought I would try calling the toll free number a few times before calling international.

    I think it’s often times luck based on who you get on the phone so calling back a few times might be necessary. Good luck.

  19. Just called the Hong Kong service center using Google Voice ($0.02 per min!). Reached an agent immediately and was able to book LGA-RIC on USAir. She was aware of the USAirways realign issue and had to put me on hold for a bit, but was able to make the reservation.

    Interestingly, the total taxes and fees she quoted was $19.20, which corresponds to $5.60 x 2 + $8 US Flight Segment Tax (ZP) according to ITA Matrix. @Moshe I’m guessing you were surprised at this additional fee too? Oh well… not going to argue at this point.

  20. Just called singapore office and had no problems booking. I did have to ask them to waive the phone booking fee. Total was also $19.20 for 2 people domestic flight.

  21. @lucky thanks – I was charged $38.40 for the 4 one ways – i was surprised but I paid it anyway – is there anyway to get it back?

  22. @ Moshe — Presumably you could call back and try to argue it, but frankly would probably take quite a while on the phone, so probably not worth it.

  23. BA really needs to fix award booking for AA/US flights (I’d reported previously nonstop AA IAHDFW flights not showing up sometimes).

    However, I do have to admit that my recent experience calling UK Avios office was very good — took only 20 minutes to cancel (refund/redeposit) a flight with one agent and do an award booking with a second agent for a flight BA’s site wasn’t showing.

  24. Looks like booking it back! Tried yesterday, no luck. Tried this morning, US Airways flights are showing again!

  25. Attempting to book MCI-CLT direct. AA.com is showing several US fares in T class. Nothing on britishairways.com. The 1-800-452-1201 call center couldn’t find anything either, but that disappointment was delivered in a rather speedy 6.5 minutes. Trying again later. I think they roll the calls over to India after outside normal UK business hours. Never heard a Brit accent on the phone.

  26. 24HRS of busy signals and another 16 minutes of deliberation with India produced a 2-way US booking for 15000avios and $19.00. Happy to waive the $25.00 phone booking fee as well.

    In closing, I will recommend you double and triple check your AA or US booking code for a “confirmed ticket”. They will have no sympathy for you if you show up at the airport and find BA screwed something up. Also, be extremely vigilant about cancellations and delays, BA can and will re-book with zero notice, sometimes several days after intended departure. Again, US/AA will have no sympathy when you show up ignorant of the re-booking. Always print your tickets at home. Until you have a physical ticket, assume you aren’t flying.

  27. Hello,

    I made a huge mistake booking the incorrect date and losing 52k+ miles + $39.70. The trip was intended to be in December, not in April so I obviously missed the trip. I called customer relations and they said they couldn’t do anything. Well anyways, I am trying to book for the correct date and I see no availability…i started choosing random dates and nothing comes up. I logged in to aa.com and I see availability but only for Economy AAnytime not Economy AAMileSaver. Will this affect the amount of points necessary for the trip? Will the agents see a difference between anytime and milesaver? Does anyone know?

  28. @ JC — Which program’s miles are you trying to use? If you’re booking through a partner airline, they’d only have access to saver level save, and not the anytime awards.

  29. I was trying to book on ba.com for a trip from toronto to new york (for July.2015) flight. Strangely, nothing shows up,, this is weird.

    My question is: many flight shows up on american lines website if I was to book using cash. But if im going to book the same flight using Avios point, there isn’t any seat showing up on ba.com.

    Can someone explain this in general to me? Only the aa SAVERS seat be seen on ba.com?

    Thanks!

  30. I see almost an entire month of AA (nonstop) saver level availability and 2/3rds of July are still open for your return to Toronto. None of this shows on BA.com. If you ever expect to fly AA with avios, pick up the phone and plan to spend 10-20 minutes interpolating heavily accented english over a poor connection. It’s worth noting BA call center’s strict security controls. If the name on your government issued ID differs from your credit card info, it will cause confusion, if not chaos. You will need the credit card associated with your BA.com account in-hand to provide expiration dates and CCV2 codes to validate your identity whenever you’re dealing with call center. Also, while you are free to book tickets for third parties using your Avios, it seems to create a logical paradox if you must modify the itinerary through the call center where neither the ticketed traveler or the account holder have adequate authorization to request changes. Cancellation/rebooking is the better route. Note: the cancellation policy is generous, 100% of your avios as long as you cancel online 24hrs before the flight. <24hrs and it's $55. See my post above concerning physical tickets to ensure you fly.

  31. BA’s US/CAN call center: 1-800-452-1201 press option 1 at the first prompt then option 1 again at the next prompt.

  32. Info sharing – Just called the Japan call center via Skype shortly after they opened (81+03-3298-5209). No hold time. Had to try again as the first person was way too quiet. The second one was a very nice man with good English. Took about 20 minutes, confirmed everything, easily waived the phone fee and net was 9K avios & $11 for a RT flight from SEA-GEG. Love Avios for domestic travel.

    I did all this calling in on one of the biggest travel days of the year, so take note!

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