How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number to a British Airways Avios Booking

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By adding your American Airlines frequent flyer number to a British Airways Avios booking you can get free checked bags and better seats, if you have American Airlines elite status, the Citi American Airlines or the Citi American Airlines Executive card.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Adding Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Numbers Can Get You Better Seats

Use British Airways Avios Points for Short Flights

Because British Airways Avios points has a distance based award chart, using British Airways Avios points on short distance flights is a good deal.  American Airlines is a partner of British Airways so you can use British Airways Avios points on American Airlines!

For example, it costs 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way flight up to 649 miles and 7,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way for a flight up to 1,149 miles.

If you wanted to fly round-trip in coach from Chicago to Kansas City, you would only pay 9,000 British Airways Avios points.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Using British Airways Avios Points Is a Good Value When Flying Short Distances

You would pay 25,000 American Airlines miles to fly round-trip in coach from Chicago to Kansas City.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

You Would Pay Almost 3X More Miles Using American Airlines Miles

So using British Airways Avios points from Chicago to Kansas City is a better value than using American Airlines miles!

3 Reasons to Add Your American Airlines Number

When you use your British Airways Avios points to book a flight on American Airlines, your British Airways number is automatically added to the reservation.

But there are times when you may want to add your American Airlines number to the reservation.

1.   Free Checked Bags

A.   Your Citi credit card gives you a free checked bag

You get a free checked bag if you have the Citi American Airlines or Citi American Airlines Executive card.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Save Money by Avoiding Bag Fees

B.   American Airlines elite status gets you up to 3 free checked bags

And if you have elite status with American Airlines, you can check up to 3 bags free.

2.   TSA Pre-Check

Adding your American Airlines frequent flyer number will get you through security faster, if you’ve added your TSA Pre-Check number to your American Airlines profile.

3.   Extra Leg Room

If you have elite status with American Airlines, you can get Main Cabin Extra seats.  Main Cabin Extra seats are the first few rows of coach and have ~ 6 inches of extra legroom.

How to Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number

British Airways uses a different booking number than American Airlines.  And you can’t enter the British Airways booking number on the American Airlines website.

So you have to find the American Airlines booking number.  You can call British Airways or change it yourself on the Finnair website (as I’ll explain in Step 6 below).  I prefer to add it on the Finnair website because it’s faster than calling their support center!

Here’s how you can add your American Airlines frequent flyer number to a British Airways Avios points booking.

Step 1 – Find Your Flight in Your British Airways Account

Log in to your British Airways Executive Club account.  Click on “My bookings” in the left column.

Find your flight from the list of your bookings and click on “Manage My Booking.”

You will also see your booking number in the emailed receipt from British Airways.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 1 – Find Your British Airways Avios Booking

Step 2 – Confirm Your British Airways Booking Number

Confirm and write down your British Airways booking number.

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 2 – Write Down Your British Airways Booking Number

Step 3 – Click “Manage Booking”

You CANNOT change your British Airways frequent flyer number to your American Airlines frequent flyer number on the British Airways website.  But you can get around this by using the Finnair website.

From the Finnair homepage, click on “Manage Booking.”

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 3 – Click on “Manage Booking”

Step 4 – Enter Your Booking Details in Finnair Website

Enter your British Airways booking number of “7VA5O6″ (from Step 2) in the drop down box and click on “Continue.”

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 4 – Enter Your Booking Details in Finnnair Website

Step 5 – Click on “Update Your Details”

Your flight information including frequent flyer number and E-ticket number will be shown.

Click on “Update your details.”

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 5 – Click on “Update Your Details”

Step 6 – Find Your American Airlines Booking Number

Your American Airlines booking number (UKHHBZ) will be shown under “Booking Reference.”  Write this number down.

You will use your American Airlines booking number of “UKHHBZ” instead of your British Airways booking number of “7VA5O6″.

Step 6 – Get Your American Airlines Booking Number

Step 6 – Get Your American Airlines Booking Number

Step 7 – Enter Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Information

Your British Airways frequent flyer information is shown so you have to edit your frequent flyer information to change it to American Airlines.

Select American Airlines from the drop down box to change your frequent flyer information from British Airways to American Airlines.

Step 7 – Choose American Airlines as Your Frequent Flyer Airline

Step 7 – Choose American Airlines as Your Frequent Flyer Airline

Step 8 – Pull Up Your Flight From the American Airlines Website

From the American Airlines website click on “My Trips.”

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 8 – Find Your Flight By Clicking on “My Trips”

Step 9 – Enter Your American Airlines Record Locator

You can find your trip by entering your full name and American Airlines booking number (from Step 6).

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 9 – Enter Your Information

Step 10 – Confirm That Your Flight Is Ticketed

Check that the status of your flight shows as “Ticketed.”  Ticketed means your award seat has been issued and you have a confirmed reservation.

If your booking doesn’t show as “Ticketed,” you should call British Airways at 800-247-9297.  If you have elite status, you should use the respective elite status phone numbers.

If you want to select or change seats, click on “Change Seats.”

How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number To A British Airways Avios Booking

Step 10 – Click “Change Seats”

Step 11 – Change Your Seats

You can select different seats, like seats away from toilets or closer to the front.  And if you have elite status with American Airlines, you can choose Main Cabin Extra or Preferred seats.

Step 11 – Choose Your Preferred Seats

Step 11 – Choose Your Preferred Seats

Bottom Line

You can easily add your American Airlines frequent flyer number to a British Airways Avios points booking. 

Your American Airlines frequent flyer number allows you to pick your seats.

And if you have the Citi American Airlines or Citi American Airlines Executive card you get a free checked bag.

If you have elite status with American Airlines, you can check up to 3 bags for free and get Main Cabin Extra seats.

You can change your British Airways frequent flyer information to your American Airlines frequent flyer information on the Finnair website.  And you can get your American Airlines booking number on the Finnair website.

If you’re flying short distances in the US, you’ll pay less British Airways Avios points than you would pay American Airlines miles.  So using British Airways Avios points in the US can be a good deal.

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52 responses to “How & Why You Should Add Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Number to a British Airways Avios Booking

  1. Great article! I was actually confronting this issue yesterday. Historically, I have been able to get around this by deleting my ba executive club number from the ff field immediately before finalizing the “purchase” of the ticket with avios. I could then go to the aa site and simply add my aa ff no. However, that did not work out for me yesterday, so finnair site, here I come!!!

  2. If I am taking an Open Skies – British Airways flight, can I still change my reservation to my AA number? I also have the Citi World Elite card which enables free checked baggage and priority check in and screening.

    I just want to ensure if I change my # to AA from my Avios # that I’ll incrue the miles I’m suppose to and not cause confusion to board my flight.

    Please help clarify. Thanks

  3. I heard as of 714/14 u can access your booking on aa.com with your ba conformation number

  4. I’ve never done this, and I’ve always linked my BA award ticket to my AA account to select my seat using the confirmation number @ aa.com.

    Also, I thought that when you booked an AA flight with BA Avios, you already got a free checked bag (regardless of if you have the Citi card or not)>

  5. I got Generic Error – Start over on Finnair.com site after clicking update your details.

  6. I tried doing this, and I am running into an error after clicking “update information” at the Finnair website

  7. A workaround, and maybe faster way to get your AA record locator is to select “Request your seat”

  8. Thanks for the valuable information you share with your readers.

    I tried to change my BA frequent flyer number on a reservation with Avios to AA on Finnair website. My actual flights are on AA. But when I click on “Update your Details” it gives me “Generic Error” and a blank page. Has Finnair stopped this option, or may be their website is down. I will try again later.

  9. I get a “generic error” whenever I click on “update your details” on the Finnair website. Any idea why that might happen?

  10. Dan's the Man

    Thanks Dan!

  11. I was really excited when I saw this posting. Unfortunately, I’m coming across the same “generic error” message. I’ve tried other One World Alliance member web sites and was unsuccessful with them too.

  12. Generic error as well on the Finnair website. Anyone find a way arounf the error?

  13. Same “generic error” page here. I tried Firefox and Chrome, if that matters. Also, I do get my AA record locater from the BA site by going through the “change my seat” options, but I’d still like to change my FF# online, if possible. I have used the Finnair site successfully in the past, so perhaps it’s just a glitch.

  14. Doesn’t work. I get the generic error too.

  15. Update: I called the AAdvantage desk and gave them the AA record locator. I then asked them to delete my BA number and replace it with my AA one. I then checked online to see my seats and changed them to better ones. Yay! Thanks for the info sharing.

  16. Thanks so much. I have a flight booked on Qantas using Avios. Wasn’t able to add FF number to my spouse’s reservation on either the BA or Qantas website. Just went to Finnair and it worked like a charm. Now shows up on both sites. I wasn’t able to add her Alaska number but had option of US Airways or American.

  17. Update – It’s working now. :)

  18. All I had to do was tweet them saying please change my number, they replied saying they updated the reservation within 15 min.

  19. I’m with everyone else. Tried this recently over several days, every time got “generic error.”

  20. Would adding your AA number give you additional benefits on other oneworld partners? (example free bag on Qantas with AA Executive card?)

  21. Do you know if upgrades are available to AA elite members like they are on a normally purchased ticket as well when doing this with a BA avios award?

  22. Does anyone know if you get AA elite benefits like priority check in and screening if you have a Citi Executive World Elite card BUT the flight itself is solely Briths Airways Open Skies?

  23. As of 4:40 PM EST still getting generic error message on Finnair site. Does anyone have a valid way to get the AA locator number?

  24. Putting in a AA mileage # will not indicate what type of credit card you have though. It would only help if you already have elite status, correct? In other words, if certain Citi credit cards get you free bags and you are not elite, your mileage # wouldn’t indicate that. If not elite, I believe you may have to purchase your tickets with the Citi AA cards to avoid baggage fees on check in. Experts correct me if I’m wrong. Last year in Kauai, flew AA back to San Diego via Avios. They had my AA mileage #. I presented my Citi Card but they said they still had to charge baggage fees because I didn’t use the card to book the flight. I even called AA and they confirmed that agent was correct. After that I didn’t expect a refund from those baggage fees nor did I get one.

  25. To get the AA Locator number you need to manage your booking at BA.com and then choose the option to change your seat. The screen before it sends you to the AA.com website to choose your seat it will have your AA locator number on it.

  26. @Adam – If you’ve paid for the flight, you should earn AA miles.

    The generic error message is very strange since it was working a few days ago!

  27. @Adam – Only on American Airlines operated flights.

  28. @Kent C, you don’t need to use the card to book the flight. I think the key thing is that the AAdvantage # is included on the reservation. I had the same thing happen last year where I was charged despite flying AA metal and being a Citi card holder, but I didn’t have the AA number attached to the reservation when I was checking in. I paid the $25 fee then submitted a claim to AA with a detailed explanation and a copy of the CC terms and conditions. I received a refund. A bit of a hassle to save $25, but at least it worked. Did you have your AAdvantage# attached to the reservation before checking in?

  29. Don’t know if this applies to AA flights but during the checkin process for a US Airways flight I was able to change my FF number. All the Oneworld carriers were listed

  30. I just confirmed with AA that your FF# is linked to your (if you have one) AA Credit Card. Therefore also to your free bag benefit.

  31. Can do this with other airlines other than British Air

  32. @Bob Did you ask them on Twitter? How does the free bag benefit transfer over to BA? Solely through the FF#?

  33. If I am preffered on USAir will this also work??

  34. If I add my USAir Div Miles number, would I get the free bag benefit as well?

  35. But didn’t you have to pay for the ticket with the AA credit card to qualify for the free baggage ?

  36. @Robert @Michael – You can add any oneworld airline number to the reservation.

    @Maynard D – You should if you’re eligible for the free bag.

  37. If I use a usair FF# will I still be able to access the seat chart? Having an issue once I click edit my details on finnair website

  38. Hi Darius! Just booked LAX-OGG on AA using BA avios. I got the “generic error” on the Finnair website so I called AA to have my frequent flyer number changed to AA (Citi AAdvantage card holder). How can I confirm that the FF number was indeed changed?

  39. @Michael – Yes

    @Meghan – Try pulling up the flight on the AA website.

  40. It looks like the Finn Air site is no longer allowing the Update your details link to work. It sends it to a generic error (https://www.finnair.com/pl/AYServicing/wds/Override.action#). Can someone check and report their finding?

  41. Finnair website doesn’t work for this process as of 7/22. Guess I will have to make a 20 minute phone call to AA to get this done. But thanks for the tip, I booked through Avios and would not have thought to change it to my AA Advantage number.

  42. Thank you so much…. this trick worked for me. I had booked a USAir flight using British Airways miles, so my BA frequent flyer number was on the record. I was not able to change it online, and even while looking at the record locator at the USAir web site, it said I had to call in to change certain information. It didn’t matter because during the online check-in 24 hours before the flight, I was able to change the frequent flyer number over to my USAir number, so I was able to check my first bag for free (I have the USAir MasterCard). Even though their baggage rules say that the first bag is free on domestic flights, I still received this benefit on a flight from Mexico to the USA.

  43. Pingback: Best of Million Mile Secrets - July 2014 | Million Mile Secrets

  44. Finnair trick did not work for me. Here is what I did:

    Through BA manage booking, clicked on change seat for AA flight
    Got the AA booking number, then called AA
    Went through reservations, then talked to someone who transferred me to customer service
    Gave my AAdvantage number and AA booking number
    That’s it! Overall took about 5 min, no crazy hold times

  45. I just spoke with 3 different representatives at US airways and all reported that they were not allowed to change ff numbers on award tickets and that the ff number needed to match the account used for the redemption. Very frustrating for a US chairman…

    Maybe I’ll try to call AA.

  46. Tried the Finnair site a few months ago & it worked. But anything I tried over the last few days gave the ‘Generic Error’ message. D – when’s the last time this worked for you?

  47. Very simple and easy way to get the AA record locator is to go here — https://classic.checkmytrip.com/plnext/XCMTXITN/CleanUpSessionPui.action?SITE=XCMTXITN&LANGUAGE=GB

    Enter your BA record locator and last name

    half way down you will see — Airline confirmation number(s): American Airlines …..

  48. Finnair is no longer allowing you to make changes :(

  49. AA/Avios Flyer

    Actually, as of 30 minutes, ago, changes are still possible – I just changed mine.

  50. I don’t think it is working anymore. I tried and could not. Can anyone confirm this?

    Also is against the frequent flyer terms that you can put you elite frequent flyer account number in an award reservation so you can get perks like FREE seat assignments and FREE luggage???

  51. Did anyone answer Steve’s question about Avios award flights on AA? Last year I booked a family member and I saw preferred seat assignments available and I believe it also got one free checked bag without AA elite status. Do you get similar benefits on Avios award flights on AS?

  52. This was really useful, thanks ! I only realised later that I couldn;t get free baggage with my basic membership, but still a very useful hack, cheers !

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