American Tickets Using BA Avios Not Bookable Online Right Now

One of the best uses of British Airways Avios (even post-devaluation) is for shorthaul travel within the US, given that Executive Club has a distance based award chart. Paying just 4,500 Avios for a one-way flight of fewer than 650 miles is a value that’s tough to beat.

New-Avios-Redemption-Chart

You can typically search and book awards for travel on American and US Airways through British Airways’ award search tool. However, at the moment it looks like Avios tickets for travel on American aren’t bookable through British Airways’ website. US Airways tickets seem bookable as usual, however.

Avios-AA

The other strange thing is that if you call to book such an award, the agents might not initially see the correct space as being available, since it’s not coming up automatically. Instead, they have to manually go in and try to find the flights. If an agent is able to do that, they should access to the same saver level space that American makes available to their own members.

I’d assume this is just an IT glitch which will be fixed soon, so I wouldn’t be worried. However, I figured I’d post about it in case you’re experiencing this problem, as I know many of you are.

While British Airways does charge phone ticketing fees, they should be willing to waive them since the space isn’t showing online. However, do keep in mind that it can take a while to get through to British Airways on the phone.

Here’s to hoping British Airways gets this glitch fixed soon!

(Tip of the hat to Chris)

Comments

  1. Noticed this yesterday. I had to call BA twice. The first time I fed the agent my origin/destination and he said “sorry, nothing’s available.” I hung up and immediately called back, this time with the flight number, and the new agent was able to book, and waive the phone fee when I said I could not find the flight online.

  2. Aside from the BA issue something weird going on now on AASaver awards plenty of popular routes is simply showing 0 seats till the end of the schedule with only a couple of days available

    I have a doubt that this 2 things happening at the same time must be related somehow and will change the way AA releases seats to BA maybe they will implement a point of sale restriction like Miles And More

    Gary covered this issue before
    http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2015/06/26/american-shuts-some-major-domestic-cities-out-of-ever-redeeming-a-saver-award/

  3. Just successfully booked a flight by calling BA. Something very strange is going on.

    Last week, I had a long booked Avios flight to San Francisco (from LAX) voided by British Airways sometime between check-in and when I arrived at the airport. I had done the Royal Jordanian trick, just to get my TSA pre-check on my boarding pass, but I had done this numerous times before. I didn’t tell the Avios rep about the Royal Jordanian trick (so I don’t know if that caused the issue). The rep was extremely apologetic and refunded both my avios and the booking fee ($5.60), but had no idea why the ticket was voided. I ended up having to rent a car and drive to SF from LAX. It was escalated twice with British Airways (I had time to kill during my drive), and no one knew why.

    A different long booked avios flight was fine today (though I called twice to confirm).

    Nothing on the website for booking AA flights. I use them every other week from LAX to SFO and back, first time I’ve had problems in almost 4 years.

  4. Haha literally just booked SFO-LAX-SFO yesterday. Hopefully this isn’t the he makings of an AA award program change

  5. I was also trying to look for RJ award space on BA.com, but nothing shows up on their site too. Space does show up on aa.com however.

  6. Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you 😉

    This development combined with gAAry’s post on disappearing shorthaul availability on the AA side is awfully coincidental.

  7. Don’t know if it’s coincidental, but trying to book a ticket on US for late October travel this morning was an unholy mess. Bookings would fail at the last step when submitting payment, then new flight numbers showed up – along with higher prices. An hour and a half on the phone to finally straighten it out.

  8. I just called to book for July 13, waited no more than 3 minutes to talk to a phone rep, but unfortunately even with flight number given it’s completely booked with AA or USAir. Darn!

  9. Hey there, just to confirm, if I see a seat on an AA flight on the AA site, does that mean I should be able to book it thru BA even if it is not showing on their site? This is good news. BTW, just an FYI about card churning with AA. I was wondering why my 50 k points weren’t showing on my AA account for getting an AA mastercard, and when I called and found a really good agent, she discovered that for some reason they opened up a new account for me for AA when the opened the card account because my name didn’t match exactly. I find this weird since I’m sure I must have given them my AA number when I signed up for the card, but apparently the names have to be exactly the same, ie full middle name vs just middle initial, etc…so worth checking into if you are looking for missing miles from a cc.

  10. I keep waiting to hear that BA is axing AA/US domestic awards. It’s one of the best deals in the points/miles world, and I can’t help but think that its days are limited.

    Of course, I just got the BA Visa card. Let’s hope that I’m not stuck with 50K useless miles in the near-future…

  11. I just called BA to book an AA flight. The operator told me that the computer returned an error (even though I gave her the flight number). She said that she knew it was wrong and that they have been having trouble with this since yesterday. She said to try again tomorrow. 🙁 Hope this is just an IT glitch!!

  12. @ William — Can’t imagine it will change, to be honest. BA’s reimbursement rates to AA are *very* low for those tickets.

  13. @ Ruth — Assuming they have saver level space available then yes. Of course there could always be a glitch, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Very odd about American miles posting to another account. I’ve found them to be pretty good about that, assuming you give the right AAdvantage number at the time you apply.

  14. The BA site has indeed been wonky this past week. When doing my searches it insists on defaulting to Economy and no longer shows flight availability in other classes as it used to. Had to call in to book my AA shorthaul (ORD-YYZ), and it was only available in J, so paid the Y rate and “upgraded” for another $40 to buy the additional Avios points — gotta be the least expensive points/miles purchase around, about a penny a point. Agent had to call supervisor to waive the booking fee and wasn’t aware of any web site problem. Only other downside was that I transferred Amex (Canada) MRs to Avios last week…yesterday Amex announced their 25% bonus transfer promo!

  15. Lucky, do you have a sense of why no one else is reporting this? Not to be over-dramatic, but AA blocking avios for short haul flights would be somewhat of a crisis for many people in the points/miles world, no? I’m surprised no other blogs are investigating this. Or maybe they’re trying to get info from AA regarding the situation before posting? Curious if you had any theories on why there’s no coverage on this.

  16. I looked through a sample of flights. Awards are showing available from websites of AA, JAL and QF – but not BA. So the glitch is isolated to what BA are reading/displaying – not what AA is making available to it’s oneworld partners.

  17. @ Matt — Presumably just because it’s a tech glitch, and will be fixed soon… I hope. But don’t have a good answer.

  18. When I book AA flights using BA Avios, AA doesn’t recognize my AA status until I call AA and ask the CSR to “add my AAdvantage number” to the reservation. Is there a way to do this online?

  19. I’m trying to book DFW – CZM Jan 9-16, but it’s not showing up on BA. American is showing Economy AA Saver availability. Does anyone have any info on when they will fix this issue?

  20. @ Michal Welc — If nothing else you should be able to book by phone. Unfortunately no timeline for it being fixed.

  21. Thank you for posting about this. I have never booked AA flights with Avios and thought I was doing something wrong.

  22. Noticed flight was cancelled when I signed into AA for a flight booked with Avios for July 7-9. Never received a noticed from BA or AA about the cancellation.

  23. When booking AA flights with Avios, Do I need to convert my AA points to Avios before booking my travel? Also if the flight take 12,000 avios does that mean it takes 12000 AA rewards? Thanks in advance.

  24. Robert – The same notice is on my BA account. I also have not received a notice from AA or BA.

  25. @ Jerome Davis — Nope, there’s different pricing depending on which program you book through. You can’t convert points between American and British Airways, so you need to have the points from a given currency to begin with.

  26. Called BA this afternoon and they can no longer book AA flights over the phone. They had no idea when this was going to be resolved and suggested calling again tomorrow.
    I hope it’s fixed soon, this is REALLY frustrating.

  27. Anyone still having a problem booking flights over the phone as of July 8th? I really don’t want to spend two or more hours on the phone waiting for an agent just to find out that I still can’t book. Ugh. I’m hating this so much. I was going to book a quick getaway doing a short haul in Florida in a few weeks, but it’s just not worth the hassle. Meh.

  28. I’m glad I found this thread because I was getting really frustrated that no AA flights were showing up on BA. I am even more sad to hear that it can’t be done on the phone either! I hope this gets fixed soon.

  29. @ Larry K — Frustrating indeed, but if you call these flights should be bookable, so I’d suggest giving BA a call. The only downside are the potentially long hold times.

  30. @ Jason — In my experience these seats should be bookable by phone, so I’d try calling.

  31. Its July 12th and availability is STILL not showing up on BA. Does anyone have an update on when this ‘now 2 week long’ glitch will be fixed?!?!?

  32. Just called looking for First Class R/T from LAX to LIH, Sep 5 to Sep 12. None available. The agent told me that First Class isn’t available at all on that route – ever. That sucks. They did have economy, and I did see those economy seats available on the website available for booking with avios.

    Does anyone know if you can book First Class to any destination in Hawaii from LAX? …or is it generally difficult to book First Class with avios anywhere?

  33. @ Jaime — You absolutely can, there is sometimes space. Did you try using American’s site first to try and find saver space? If you could find saver space on American, it should also be bookable with British Airways.

  34. Can I use AVIOSS point to book a flight from LAX to LHR without paying the fuel sur-charge? British Airways flight have fuel surchages, can I book american or united without paying the charge, if so how

  35. I have been trying to use on American Airlines for domestic (within USA) travel. For instance LGA to SFO or OAK. However, even if look for midweek flights 8 months from now, I keep being informed that only 1st class tickets are available. Is this typical? How do I determine which dates (if any) can be booked on American Airlines using Avios points? It seems pointless to keep entering dates and finding no economy flights.

  36. So much for hoping. It’s now March 2016 and that “glitch” still hasn’t been fixed with British Airways website. It’s pretty much impossible to search for and book American Airlines flights on BA’s website. It’s also pretty much impossible to reach them by phone. They are surprisingly awful. I deeply regret having acquired a British Airways credit card and plan to cancel.

  37. Not that this will soften the blow much, but I may suggest loading $4 to your Skype account, and buying a monthly package to call Hong Kong. The minimum pre-paid credit is $10, but your call shouldn’t take all that long. Call the Executive Club desk in HKG (+852 3002 1208)– depending on your location in the US, they open at 6pm Pacific time, or 9pm Eastern. Calls are picked up within a minute, perfectly (British) English speaking rep, although the usual “IT glitches” are still present. AA shows QF availability (not phantom.. can actually hold/book these) for a flight that BA can’t see or find. Good luck!

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