Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 7 – Finding British Airways Award Availability

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:

The best free way to check British Airways award availability is by using the British Airways website.

Using British Airways awards makes it much easier to get to Europe using American Airline miles because not only can you fly on British Airways to London, but you could also fly on American Airlines to London (to keep those fuel surcharges down) and then connect on a British Airways flight to the rest of Europe (~$20 in fees per segment).

Or use British Airways to go to Africa, India, and the Middle East using American Airline Miles.

The British Airways website is a bit clunky to use initially and will occasionally crash, but is easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.

Remember, British Airways has terrific award availability from many cities to London.  Sure the fuel surcharges are a bit high (~$250 in coach, ~$400 in Business Class or First Class per segment), but you’ll almost certainly find seats from 23 cities in the US & Canada to London.  If you’re looking for more than 2 award seats, chances are that you’ll find them on British Airways.

Even if your final destination is not London, but Europe (say Rome), you can find award availability to London from the US on either American Airlines or British Airways and then connect to another British Airways flight to Rome (or wherever else you’re going in Europe).

American Airlines will charge you the same amount of miles for a trip from the US to Europe regardless of whether your routing is New York to London or Kansas City to New York to London to Rome.

As I wrote in my earlier post, the best way to search for award availability is segment by segment starting with the international segments first.


Let’s say I want to find 2 seats from Chicago to Rome on October 10, 2012 in First Class.

I can search for the direct flight from Chicago to Rome on, but that won’t show me availability on British Airways.

So I break up my flight into segments.  I’ll first look for award availability from:

  • The US to London on British Airways using the British Airways website
  • Then London to Rome on British Airways using the British Airways website
  • Finally the award from Chicago to the US departure city of my international flight  (if my international flight didn’t leave from Chicago) on

The above will cost the same amount of miles using the American Airlines all partner chart if you fly from Chicago to Rome on a non-stop flight or if your journey has a few segments.

That’s because American Airlines doesn’t charge you by segment (like British Airways does when you redeem British Airways miles), but charges you based on the destination in their award chart.

Segment 1 – US to London Award

I’m assuming that I did NOT find availability from the US to London in business class on (or that I prefer to fly on British Airways), so I’m now trying to see if there are British Airways award seats available.

Step 1

Log into your British Airways account account by entering your membership number and PIN in the top right side of the screen and click “Log in.

British Airways Award Booking

Step 1 – Log into your account

If you don’t have a British Airways Executive Club account, sign-up for one here.

Step 2

Click on “Spending Avios” on the left hand side menu under “Executive Club.

In case you’re wondering, Avios is the new name for British Airways miles.

British Airways Award Booking

Step 2 – Click on “Spending Avios”

Step 3

Click on “Book Flights with Avios

British Airways Award Booking

Step 3 – Click on “Book Flights with Avios”

Step 4

Let’s say I want to check availability from Chicago to London.

I enter “Chicago” in the “From” box and “London” in the “To” box and select my class of service.  Note that you can’t book British Airways Premium Economy seats using American Airlines miles.

British Airways Award Booking

Step 4 – Enter your flight information

Remember that British Airways charges very high fuel surcharges on economy award seats (~$250) so it may not make sense to redeem for economy seats.

That’s because a regular coach ticket should cost you ~$800 round trip so there’s no point spending miles AND $500 in taxes and fees.

I then enter my departure date and click the “One way only” box because I like searching segment by segment.

And finally, I click on “Get Flights

Step 5 a

You’ll see the results including the number of award seats on the flight in a pink box.

In our example, there are 3 First Class seats available from Chicago to London Heathrow.  If you don’t see the pink box, that means that there are many award seats available on the flight.

You can click on the “Search up to 7 days earlier” or “Search up to 7 days later” (circled in red below) to see more availability if none shows up.

British Airways Award Booking

Step 5 – Write down the flight information

You now know that there are 3 First Class award seats from Chicago to London on British Airways flight 0296.  So instead of relying on the American Airlines agent to find this flight for you, you can feed this specific flight to the agent to book.

At this point, write down the flight details.  For example, I’d write down:

BA 0296 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to London Heathrow (LHR) departing at 20:35 on October 10 and arriving in London on October 11 at 10:00 am in First Class

Step 5 b

If no award availability shows up from Chicago to London, search for British Airways award availability by changing the class of travel or from a different city by repeating steps 2 through 4.

I listed the many US cities from which British Airways flies to London in Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 6 – International Award Routes

Step 6

If you’re curious to find out what the taxes and fees are, click “Continue.”

British Airways Award Booking

Click “Continue” to see estimated fuel, taxes, and fees

You will see that British Airways charges $412.70  as taxes and fees for this First Class segment.  Expect American Airlines to charge you around the same amount if you book a British Airways ticket using American Airline miles.

British Airways Award Booking

$412.7 in fees for first class from Chicago to London

But the same First Class ticket from Chicago to London costs $10,000!  So being able to fly in British Airways First Class for less than the price of a coach ticket is definitely worth it!   At least once in your life.  But I know that these fees and surcharges can add up.  Especially if you’re traveling with a family.

British Airways Award Booking

Did I just book a $10,000 flight?

Segment 2 – London to ROME Award

Now that we’ve found a flight from the US to London, we’ve got to find a flight from London to Rome.  Taxes for flight from London to Europe are quite reasonable (~$20+).

Repeat steps 2 through 6 above to see availability for flights from London to Rome.

Flights from the US usually arrive the next day in London, so make sure that you’re searching for the correct date.  In our case, that’s October 11, 2012.

Yes, you could have searched for the entire trip from the US to Rome at once, but I prefer breaking up my searches segment by segment.

Tip – If you’re paying for a Business or First Class award, consider flying (& searching for) the segment from London to Rome (or elsewhere in Europe) in coach as well.

That’s because there may be more Coach Seats (Euro Traveler seats) available than Business Class (Club Europe) seats.

Business Class seats for flights within Europe are usually the same size as coach seats.  The only difference is that the middle seat may be blocked off to signify your importance.

The screen shot below shows just how valuable piecing together awards can be.  It is very hard to find awards on American Airlines flights from the US non-stop to Rome.

British Airways Award Booking

Lots of availability from London to Rome

But it is much easier to fly either via American Airlines or British Airways to London and from London to find a British Airways flight to Rome.  Suddenly your summer trip to Rome is much more possible!

At this point, write down the flight details.  For example, I’d write down:

BA 560 from London Heathrow (LHR) to Rome (FCO) departing at 12:50 on October 11 and arriving in Rome on October 12 at 16:10 in Business (Club Europe).

Segment 3 – US City to Chicago Segment

Because we’re leaving from Chicago, we don’t have to worry about this step.  But if you were leaving from, say, Kansas City, you’d have to find an American Airline award flight from Kansas City to Chicago.

Search for this segment (Kansas City to Chicago) on  Again it pays to be flexible, and you may find that there is only 1 seat available in first class and 1 seat in coach.

At this point, write down the flight details.

Calling American Airlines to make the booking

I’d then call American Airlines (1-800-433-7300) and ask them to put on hold (for up to 5 days) these specific flights which I found.

I’ll post more on how to make the call separately, but here’s something to get you started.

American Airlines Agent:  American Airlines, Sabrina Jackson (made up name)

Daraius:  Hi!  I was hoping you could help me out.  I spoke with an agent some time back and she was terrific and  found award seats from Chicago to Rome for me on October 10 for 2 people in First Class. But I had to check with my partner so I couldn’t put them on hold.

Could we put those flights on hold now, if they are available?

Here are the flight numbers which I wrote down.

[Make sure that the agent searches for the flights segment by segment (i.e Chicago to London first & then London to Rome).  Do NOT let her search by herself, because she almost certainly won’t find what you did.  If you get an agent who doesn’t seem helpful, politely hang up and call back. (The dog is biting my foot.  Gotta go) ]

American Airlines Agent: Ok.

Daraius:British Airways 0296 from Chicago to London on October 10, 2012 departing at 12:50 pm arriving at London Heathrow the next day on October 11, 2012. [This is the 1st segment which we found above]

…connecting to British Airways flight 560 from London Heathrow to Rome on October 11 in business (or economy if there were only economy seats) [This is the 2nd segment which we found above]

 American Airlines Agent: [Click. Click. Click.]  This will be $450 in taxes + the $25 telephone booking fee.

Daraius: Here’s my credit card.

Congratulations on booking a $10,000 ticket (which I hope you’d never considering paying cash) for $450!

Estimated fees

Here’s an example of what the taxes and fees on a few British Airways segment costs in different classes.

1.   Chicago to London in Coach – $242.70 in fees

British Airways Award Booking

Chicago to London in Coach

2.   Chicago to London in Business Class – $412.70 in fees

British Airways Award Booking

Chicago to London in Business Class

3.   Chicago to London in First Class – $412.70 in fees

British Airways Award Booking

Chicago to London in Business Class

4.   London to Rome in Coach – $20 in fees

British Airways Award Booking

British Airways Award Booking

5.   London to Rome in Business Class – $26 in fees

British Airways Award Booking

British Airways Award Booking


It costs nothing (besides time) to find award availability and to put a dummy reservation on hold.  Much better to practice now than when it is time to make your award booking.

I feel extremely happy when I piece together an award and admire it after putting it on hold!

Bottom Line:  British Airways is know for high fees and surcharges, but they almost certainly will have award availability.

Even if you don’t want to pay for the trans Atlantic segment on British Airways, consider flying to London on American Airlines or other partners and then connect to a British Airways flight to the rest of Europe.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

85 responses to “Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 7 – Finding British Airways Award Availability

  1. Great article! Would this be the same procedure you would take with Cathay Pacific? For example, if you were booking Chicago to Hong Kong.

  2. Darius

    Is there a promotion to get bonus miles with BA for signing up for the Exec Club? And/Or do you have a referral code?

    • @steven – Cathay is next in the series, and you can use the British Airways website to find Cathay Award availability (choose to include partner airline) or the Japan Air website.

      @Greg – Not that I know about, but please let me know if you do!

  3. Hi Darius, I have a more general question. So when booking award tickets, is it always the case searching for one-way at a time rather than round trip? Is there a case when it is better/cheaper/with fewer miles to book a round-trip award ticket instead of booking two one-way award tickets?

    Again, GREAT POST! I really appreciate your education!

  4. Darius,
    Could you do a post like this for UA/CO going to Asia?

  5. Thanks. Looking forward to the next one on Cathay and Japan airlines.

  6. Robert Hanson

    OK, I feel really stupid right now. I’ve been flying AA T/A awards for more than a decade. Yet I somehow assumed that to use the BA add on from LHR to another EU location, I had to fly BA T/A. Simply because that add on isn’t visible on the AA website’s booking page. Which I was reluctant to do because of the sky high BA surcharges.

    Now thru your post for “newbies”, I find out I can add on the BA intra-EU flight to my AA T/A flight for virtually nothing. Ditto for the return flight from an EU city to LHR for my AA flight home. Too late for this summer though, since AAdvantage CSR says that we are “already ticketed”, and thus subject to a $150 change fee per person each flight if we add it on. :>(

  7. Great post Darius! Can you do the same(segment by segment) with *A (united miles)? I have some chase UR points that I can use. Even better would be to learn another series for *A booking from you!

  8. I’d love to fly Business or First Class to Rome when I go next month, however I’m wondering if there are milesaver vs anytime prices when booking a BA flight. For example for me to fly North America to Europe using AA, milesaver business is 50k points while anytime business is 100k. Similar prices with first class, 62k vs 125k points.

    When I look on the All Airline Award Chart, I see that it is 50k points for business and 62.5k points for first class with no mention of milesaver vs anytime. Does that mean that I will only pay 62.5k points for ANY first class flight I find available?

    Thanks so much Darius!

    • @Li – American Airlines books only 1-way awards, so you can combine 2 1-way awards for a round trip. However, some airlines like Delta or US Air don’t allow 1-way awards at half the price of full price awards, so you are better off booking a full price award. And I always prefer searching segment by segment so that I know what my options are.

      @Anh @Manik
      – I’ll do a series on United as well, but that could take a while before I get to it.

      @Nguyen – Cathay Pacific is the next in the series!

      @Robert Hanson – You can always do that on your next flights to Europe. Thanks for sharing and glad that you were able to get something out of the post. Sometimes I think my posts are too long…

      @Melissa – You can’t use an AAnytime award on partner airlines – they are valid ONLY on AA flights. All partner airline flights book at the MileSAAVer rate, so you’d pay only 62.5K miles for a BA First Class flight (if there is availability).

  9. “Sometimes I think my posts are too long…”
    I read everything you post, and I’ve yet to find one too long.

  10. Anybody knows how hard it is to spend AVIOS (British Airway miles) on CX business class from SFO to HKG?? I could not find any availability on her website. I can only found limited coach class seats. It seems it only costs 70,000 AVIOS for business class round trip from US to Asia.

  11. Thanks, Daraius. If I can redeem AA miles onto CX business class round trips, it only costs 110K miles with less fuel surcharges which is better than redeeming AVIOS at 140K for round trip CX biz class with such a high BA fuel surcharges.

  12. I am hoping to book a couple LAN flights using my AA miles. Is there any way to check LAN availability before I call AA? Can it be done using LAN’s own website?

  13. Pingback: AA Redeem Miles | Million Mile Secrets

  14. Pingback: American Airlines Awards | Million Mile Secrets

  15. Pingback: Cathay Pacific Redeem | Million Mile Secrets

  16. Pingback: British Airways 100,000 Mile Card is Back! | Million Mile Secrets

  17. Pingback: British Airways Miles | Million Mile Secrets

  18. “Business Class seats for flights within Europe are usually the same size as coach seats. The only difference is that the middle seat may be blocked off to signify your importance.”

    Actually I find them much roomier, with extra legroom as well. The ‘middle seat’ that’s blocked off is actually much narrower than a normal seat, so the other seats can be wider. And the service is better. For a 2-hr flight I don’t think it’s worth it but for a 4-hr flight it definitely is, particularly if you are significantly larger and/or taller than average.

    Now if BA would only improve its flight search feature to show a full calendar of available flights/seats as AA does!

  19. Just FYI: I called several times to check on availability of a business class award from London to Washington DC in July. The agents all swore there was absolutely no availability for the entire summer, so I purchased economy tickets a couple days ago. Today I read this blog, and as instructed went first to the BA website, and guess what- there is availability. So I called AA and asked about the specific flight and they said YES there is availability. However, because I have already paid for my ticket there is nothing they could do. The agent had me speak to a supervisor who claimed the seats must have just been released, which I am sure was a complete lie because it was only a couple days ago!!!! UNBELIEVABLE. Next time I will read this blog first!

    • @Cindy G – Thanks for sharing! The agents don’t have the time to search for every possible routing, so it helps to find the routing yourself and to then call to get it booked. Sometimes you may have to hang up and call back, but it is worth it once you find your seats. However, you may be better off purchasing economy tickets, because you have to pay ~$250 per long haul segment flown on British Airways.

  20. Your “relativly low fees” comment regarding London > Rome in business class is because you are booking a “Reward Flight Saver”.

    Someone booking with AA miles would pay what ever AA scheme says they should pay, which will be what BA charge on a REVENUE business class ticket, not a specially discounted reward one. = Considerably more.

  21. Thanks for the article. I would only argue with one statement: “they almost certainly will have award availability.” If you check now, there are absolutely no business award seats available from Washington (nor from Baltimore, Philadelphia) to London in June! You might counter immediately, that perhaps they blocked them prior to the Olympics; however, it is in August, and there are many award seats available in July and August! So there must be something else going on in June. Oh, and if you try to search for American Airlines seats on – absolutely no availability! I don’t even know why that option is there.

  22. I just called the AA agent to book my flight to Japan using JAL, they told me JAL is no longer flight out of JFK, they are flying out of Boston from now on, is that true?

  23. Update: BA award inventory can now be searched and reserved through site.

    • @Zen – No, booking a BA award seat (from London to Rome) using AA miles doesn’t incur much in fees and taxes.

      @Shan Vega – Fair point (especially during summer),but with ~22 departure cities from North America, you should be able to find something.

      @Sammi – JAL has a new flight from Boston, but also flies to JFK. Just try another agent.

      @Max – Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been meaning to update the post.

  24. @Darius – I try to help you by correcting a clear MISTAKE you have made (yet agian), but you still don’t get it do you.

    The phrase ‘beyond help’ springs to mind. Rest assured I did this in the interests of your readers, not your site.

  25. Is it better for each person to have airline miles cards or my wife and I share one card. At present we each have Citi AAdvantage cards.

  26. HI,
    I would not mind at all the option to go through Rio, and then returning to US via London. I am planning it for August, but really flexibl, and I have plenty of AA. Avios and United miles.
    Please advice.

  27. Amazing website! I have subscribed to your blog and really enjoyed reading it EVERYDAY.

    I am looking for your expert recommendation on our April 2013 China trip and June 2013 Europe trip.

    This is what we have:
    1. 190K BA Avios points from the Chase BA credit cards, cancelled in 2011
    2. UA 200K miles. We have used 140K miles to book the Cancun Charismas 2012 trip for family of 4, so really we only have 60K mile left. But should be able to reach 65-80K mile later this year by charging Chase Freedom and Sapphire credit cards.
    3. 90K Priority Club points from the new Chase Priority Club card.
    4. 50K Citi Thankyou points; should be able to reach 80K points later this year.
    5. We don’t have much AA miles left – cancelled our Citi AA credit cards two years ago.

    In April 2013, we plan to fly from SFO –XIY( Xi’an, a city in China) -PEK (Beijing)-SFO. In June 2013, we plan to fly SFO to Europe (visit London, Paris and Rome.

    I know we can use 65K mile for 1 ticket of the China trip (XIY will be a free stopover), maybe pay cash for the other 3 tickets.

    At this point I have not found a good way to use Avio points. The fees BA charge for US-Europe airfare is crazy. I tried to use Avio for the China trip, but at BA website BA always asks to us fly from SFO to London then to Beijing. Any creative way to combine the China/Europe trips when redeeming miles? Did I miss any opportunity when using 140K miles to book SFO-Cancun round trip tickets, like open jar or free one way ticket?

    Any recommendation will be appreciated!

  28. Pingback: American Airlines Award Travel | Million Mile Secrets

  29. Pingback: American Airlines Award Travel - Stopovers & Openjaws | Million Mile Secrets

  30. Love your blog! And I’m sure like most others I’m completely overwhelmed by the depth of information 🙂 I could use some guidance if you have the time…

    My wife and I would like to travel to London for the first time from Phoenix. Our timing is very flexible and we have no specific date in mind. We have used the British Airways Visa for our business for quite some time and have 160,000 points. We’d love to splurge on First Class but we also don’t necessarily want to blow all of our points + cash to do so. And we love that BA has non-stop flights from Phx to London direct.

    What would you recommend is the most effective use of these points via first class if possible? THANKS!

    • @SNL – If you have BA points and want to go to Europe in First Class, you almost certainly will have to pay ~$800 per person in taxes and fees. If you can spend $30K within 1 calendar year, you’ll get a Companion Pass which gives you a 2-for-1 redemption. It is 75K each way, so you’d need 150K for a return flight if you have the Companion Pass or 300K if you don’t! The other option which is cheaper is to redeem for business class from New York, Chicago, or Boston to Dublin on Aer lingus. But you have to get from Dublin to London and Phoenix to the US departure city on your own.

  31. Great website, thank you for the info!

    I am looking to fly (have 250K AA miles) from BOS-Rome, Italy 10/18/12 to 11/3/12. When I called the AAdvantage agent said I can now log in AA’s website to book BA travel with my miles. It appears to work but AA’s site will only let me book a return from LHR-BOS via BA and that will raise the taxes. As a side note, I attempted to use all the different award miles options.

    Any advice or direct me to an article I may have overlooked?


    • @Karen – I found a flight in coach from BOS to Rome on the 18th that is on AA from BOS to LHR and connects to BA from LHR to BOS. AA’s website does show BA awards, and I’ve got to update the article. I’d consider using an award booking service to help find seats which will be well worth their fee (less than the BA fuel surcharges!)

  32. Hi, you are showing fees of just over $400 from Chitown to London, but when I do it, it lists it as over a grand…has it changed drastically or am I doing something wrong. I’ve been doing this forever (couple years) and have always had this experience.


  33. Pingback: American Airlines Award Chart | Million Mile Secrets

  34. Pingback: American Airlines Award | Million Mile Secrets

  35. Hi D, Now that shows award availability on BA also, how I can I filter that out so I can see the routings on AA, AirBerlin, Niki and Finnair only, in order to avoid the BA fuel surcharges? Looking for SFO to VIE routing. Thanks.

  36. Yes, I see that. I was hoping to eliminate BA before the award search so that the calendar view does not show availability every day which turns out to be all BA with high fuel surcharges.

  37. Hi D

    Family is traveling to Italy this May 2013. We are planning to use AA miles to fly from LGA to LHR and then use BA miles from LHR to BA. Can I tell AA agent to use my avios, will she see it or do i just book this one myself on the BA website? thanks much!! Cause i feel its easier that way? what do u think?

    • @carmen – AA agent should be able to book your flight from LHR to Italy for the same price as the US to Europe award if there are seats on BA available (provided you are not stopping over in London).

  38. Thanks so much D. but you know what when i check the same flight on AA and BA there is a huge price difference. When i pretend to book my flight from AA, from LHR to FCO, its a total of 20K miles + $200, but when i use the BA website its only 15000 avios + $54 for 2 people. That is why do i tell the agent to use my avios when booking the LHR to FCO flight? Im sorry i hope im not asking a stupid question here. its our first flight using miles.

    thanks again

    • @carmen – Don’t worry about the pricing. If you are booking a trip using AA miles from the US to Italy, but are connecting in less than 24 hours in London and then taking a BA flight to Italy, you will pay the SAME flat rate of 30K in coach 1-way and 50K in business class. You should even be able to do this on without having to call in!

      However, if you are stopping over in London and booking the London to Italy flight separately, it may help to save cash and miles by using Avios.

  39. I want to fly to europe from sfo or smf to Lhr but taxes are high using aa miles one way. Is there a way to avoid the high taxes? Thanks

  40. Thanks Darius!! We’re all set and booked and you’re right we didnt have to call and pay the $25 fee….our infant fare was even more expensive than my husband’s and mine combined, but hey who pays for $800 for 3 people round trip right to Europe right? thanks so much!! and im not sure if you are aware that you get a free stopover flight coming back? we booked our free one way flight to HNL too for Oct still but no additional miles were required for that!! = ) can’t wait to travel with miles again!! = )

  41. Hi D
    I was able to book a direct coach award (using AA miles) on british airways, from sfo to london in June. So far so good, except that there was no business or first class available… I’m having a hard time understanding if there is any chance of using points for an upgrade and how that works?????

    Always appreciative of your expertise, Thanks! kt

    • @Katie – I see First Class availability for 62.5K AA miles 1 way from SFO to LHR on almost everyday in June when I search on! The taxes and fees will be only moderately more, but worth it (in my opinion). If you pay the extra 32.5K AA miles to change from a coach award to a first class award, AA will waive the change fee of $150.

  42. Hello

    So i have miles with both avios and AA-citi card. i want to use my avios miles but like u said the charges are so high. when i search AA for flights theres limited availability and they are BA flights but they are also charging me high taxes and surcharges because of the partner flight. having miles with both is there a way i can book thru BA and use my AA miles or get credit with AA or vise versa. any program or trick to this?

  43. Hi there, Thanks for this site, very helpful…
    I’m trying to book round trip award travel from SIN–> DFW with a stopover in LHR for a few days (both directions). BA does both these legs but not sure if this is possible?
    Also, you mention an “award booking service” in a post above…I’m a newbie at this award stuff so am interested in this…where I can find these?
    Thanks! T.

    • @harleen# – Unfortunately you can’t use American Airlines miles to book from British Airways. You’d have to use British Airways points to book on the British Airways website.

      @tareke – You can book that using British Airways, but you’ll pay a lot in fuel surcharges so it may not be worth it. Here’s a post on award booking services.

  44. Very nice article Darius. Thank You! On your comment about BA flying into 22 US cities, I’ve not had ANY luck in finding a flight from LHR into US (IAD/JFK/BOS/PHL) in the 1st week of August (for a family of 4 in any class). Is this time considered a peak season, or am I checking too early ?

  45. Thanks for the prompt response Darius. Yeah, I could find 1 or 2 seats in a class, but nothing for the rest. Guess I’ll have to keep trying.

  46. Darius,
    I am trying to book a flight from SEA to NYC (JFK or other). I search available flights on AA, there are many options available, with or without stops. Then I cross reference on BA and their website says “Error, BA does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.” What next? Thanks! Love your site & visit multiple times a day:)

  47. A year later and oh how things have changed, even flying on other airlines when using British Airways miles I am still being charged the full British Airways taxes.

  48. very informative Daraius! I’m planning my trip and trying to book AA flight from but BA doesn’t show any flight. I tried SFO to LAX or SFO to ORD but no flight is coming out. I also tried booking with cash but no flight is showing. Ami missing something here? Thanks


  50. I keep trying to find Qatar Airways flights and can find none. I even called BA Executive Club and an agent manually found one or two, but they would not show up on the website search as a partner even when available.

  51. We have 300,000 BA Avios and have been trying to book 5 tickets to anywhere in Europe from Seattle during the summer. We typically check 364 days in advance and cannot find more than one ticket for the entire summer from Seattle to any destination. We have tried the past two years. Any ideas?

  52. Hi Darius,

    My fiancé and I want to buy economy tickets on AA on flight #56 from Miami to London in March 2014. We then want to use miles to upgrade to business. When I called the aa agent, they said no upgrade seats available for this flight. Any way I can check myself?


  53. Pingback: [2014 NEWBIE LOUNGE] Ask Your AA-Related Questions Here (flame free) - Page 40 - FlyerTalk Forums

  54. Darius, You mention several times in this multi-part series of booking AAwards like a pro that you will cover more about the phone call with AA agents. In almost all sections you say to call and put the awards “on hold” but never explain what that means. In this post you give an example phone conversation, but end it with giving credit card information. Is putting an award “on hold” the same thing as actually booking your award? Or are you recommending a two step process where you call once for them to hold the award, and then call again to actually book it?

    Your site is VERY informative. I think I’m going to make it to Machu Pichu for 60,000 AA points round trip in Buisness Class!!!

    • @Jacob – Putting an award on hold just means that American Airlines will keep it for you for ~5 days. You can then go back, review that the information is correct and then call back to book the award.

  55. Darius, please help me out! I have Royal Bank Avion points–135,000. Promotions are coming up soon re: transferring to British Airways Avios for 50% more (and hopefully to transfer to American Airlines for 20% more). There I also an option to transfer 1:1 to Cathay Pacific. I know there’s a lot of info re: how and why to transfer, but I can’t seem to find the ‘right’ reason for me. I do not have flexibility re: travel, as work in schools. I am hoping to go away to Delhi, India in December from Toronto. Ideal plan would be: YYZ-DEL Dec. 17th or 18th-Jan. 5th or 6th, 2015. I’d love to transfer enough points to get business class. I called up BA today and they found me Cathay Pacific through Hong Kong (which I’m okay with), but no decent return….however, American Airlines has a return with Finnair (with a stopover in Finland, which I’m okay with). So I could do 1-way points with Cathay, and 1-way points with AA. Question is this…I have to wait for about 2 weeks to do the transfer to maximize points. Would I be better off to book Cathay through BA or with Cathay directly (to get full value of points)? I find that when I search BA’s site, I see only a few flights (mostly BA) and don’t see AA or Cathay flights. Should I be calling them instead of trying to do this online? As I wouldn’t be able to book until May for Dec 2014 travel, is that too late to be able to book these business class flights?

    Thanks in advance–any help would be great.

    • @Shal – Award flights keep on changing, so what’s available today may not be available in May. That said, you may be able to piece something together in May. Also note that you will pay fuel surcharges when you use British Airways Avios points.

  56. Pingback: Will American Airlines Charge Me for Each Segment of My Award Trip? | Million Mile Secrets