Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 9 – How to Find Award Availability

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I get a lot of questions on British Airways Avios points, and started a series on how to use British Airways Avios points 2 years ago and finally finished writing it.

You can use the British Airways website to find and book award tickets.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

You Can Book British Airways Award Flights on Partner Airlines Such as Air Berlin. You Won’t Pay Fuel Surcharges to Fly to Dusseldorf, Germany.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro:

Airlines Where You Can Use British Airways Avios Points

Using the British Airways website (sign-in required), you can book award seats on the following airlines:

However, you can NOT book the following airlines online:

How to Find Available Award Seats Using BritishAirways.com

Link:   Book flights with British Airways Avios points (sign-in required)

Step 1 – Log In

Log into your British Airways Executive Club account.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 1 – Log Into your British Airways Account Here

Step 2 – Click “Spending Avios”

Once you are logged in, hover over the “Executive Club” area at the top and click “Spending Avios.”

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 2 – Click on “Spending Avios”

Step 3 – Click “Book Flights With Avios”

Once on the next page, you can click “book flights with Avios” on the left side of the screen.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 3 – Click “Book Flights With Avios”

Step 4 – Search Each Segment Individually

We’ll look for a 1-way coach award ticket from New York to Rome, Italy, on April 9, 2015, using British Airways Avios points.

You will pay fuel surcharges for flights on American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia.  But you do NOT pay fuel surcharges on Air Berlin, so let’s look for flights there!

You should search for each segment individually because the British Airways award search engine isn’t that smart.

A.   New York to Dusseldorf, Germany

This means we should search for flights from New York to Dusseldorf, Germany, and from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Rome, Italy.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 4 – Search Each Segment Individually

There’s 1 coach award seat available on April 9, 2015.  You’ll pay 20,000 British Airways Avios points + ~$6 to fly 1-way in coach from New York to Dusseldorf, Germany.

If there weren’t coach award seats on April 9, 2015, you could click on the date tabs to search other days.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

You Can Fly 1-Way Coach From New York to Dusseldorf, Germany, for 20,000 British Airways Avios Points + ~$6

B.   Dusseldorf, Germany to Rome, Italy

After finding the flight from New York to Dusseldorf, Germany, we can look for the flight from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Rome, Italy, on April 10, 2015.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Search for Coach Award Seat From Dusseldorf, Germany to Rome, Italy

There are coach award seats available on April 10, 2015.  You’ll pay 7,500 British Airways Avios points + ~$38 to fly 1-way in coach from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Rome, Italy.

If there weren’t coach award seats, you could click on the date tabs to search other days.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

The Coach Award Ticket From Dusseldorf, Germany, to Rome, Italy, Costs 7,500 British Airways Avios Points + $38

Step 5 – Book Separately or Call British Airways

Although there are coach award seats on the New York to Dusseldorf, Germany, and the Dusseldorf, Germany, to Rome, Italy, flights, you can NOT book them together on the British Airways website.

You could book them separately, but if you have to make changes or cancellations, you’ll pay change or cancellation fees for both itineraries.

So you have to call British Airways at 800-247-9297.  You’ll pay a $25 phone booking fee, but you can ask the agent to waive it because the award wasn’t available online.

Note:  If you pay for flights separately, you could stopover in Dusseldorf, Germany, for as long as you want and book a later flight to Rome!

How to Find Award Seats on Alaska Airlines

Link:   Search for flights on Alaska Airlines using British Airways Avios Points

You can NOT book Alaska Airlines flights on the British Airways website.  However, you can use the American Airlines website, the Delta Air Lines website, or ExpertFlyer to search for Alaska Airlines award tickets.

In addition, the British Airways website can NOT search for Finnair flights across the Atlantic, but you can use the American Airlines website to search for Finnair flights.

You can also use the American Airlines website to search for flights on:

Step 1 – Enter Travel Information

Let’s search for 2 award seats from San Jose, California, and Honolulu on October 3, 2014, using the American Airlines website.  Alaska Airlines flies this route nonstop.

Go to aa.com and enter your travel information.  Make sure to select “Redeem miles.”

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 1 – Enter Travel Information

Step 2 – Uncheck Hawaiian Airlines

After clicking on October 3, 2014, you can choose from flights on several airlines.

You have to uncheck Hawaiian Airlines because while they are partners with American Airlines, they are NOT partners with British Airways!  You can keep the results for American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines because they are British Airways partners.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 2 – Uncheck Hawaiian Airlines

Your results show connecting flights via Seattle.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Your Search Reveals Flights From the San Jose Area to Honolulu Are Connecting Flights

Step 3 – Search for “Non-Stop Only” Flights

Because you have to pay for each flight separately with British Airways Avios points, you would pay ~ 17,000 to 20,000 British Airways Avios points per person.  So you search again but search for “Non-stop only” flights.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 3 – Search for “Non-stop only” Flights

Step 4 – Search for MileSAAver Award Seats

Because there weren’t any non-stop flights on October 3, 2014, you check the next day, October 4, 2014.

If there are MileSAAver award seats, you can book the flight using British Airways Avios points.

There are 2 coach award seats on the non-stop Alaska Airlines flight from San Jose to Honolulu.  You should pay 12,500 British Airways Avios points per person.

Write down the flight number and call British Airways at 800-247-9297 to book.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 4 – Search for MileSAAver Award Seats

ExpertFlyer

Link:   ExpertFlyer

You can also use ExpertFlyer, a paid subscription service, to search for award tickets.  You can set up alerts if award seats become available.  However, many features are reserved for those who pay for Premium Service.

You can use ExpertFlyer to search for award tickets on the following British Airways partners:

Here’s how to use ExpertFlyer to search for Alaska Airlines space.

Step 1 – Click on “Awards & Upgrades”

After signing into your ExpertFlyer account, click “Awards & Upgrades.”

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 1- Click “Awards & Upgrades”

Step 2 – Enter Your Travel Information

Using your example from above, you search for flights from San Jose (SJC) to Honolulu (HNL).  Enter your travel information to include:

  • “Departing Airport”
  • “Arriving Airport”
  • “Depart Date”
  • Flexibility (Exact Date, +/- 1 Day, +/- 2 Day, +/- 3 Day)
  • “Airline”
  • “Class(es)” 

Then click “Search.”

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 2 – Enter Your Travel Information

Step 3 – Search for Saver Awards

Because you can only use British Airways Avios points on Saver awards, you have to search for Saver Awards.  So you search for “First – Saver Award (A)” for First Class seats, and “Coach – Saver Award (W)” for coach seats.

There are 2 First Class award seats but no coach seats on October 3, 2014.

On October 4, 2014, there are no First Class award seats and 2 coach seats.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 3 – Search for Saver Awards

Step 4 – Click to Set Award Alert

You can also set award alerts if award seats become available.

Because you want 2 coach seats on October 3, 2014, you set an award alert to notify you if Alaska Airlines releases more award seats.  ExpertFlyer keeps track of these changes for you!

Click the “!” icon to set an award alert.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Step 4 – Click to Set Award Alert

A “Create Flight Alert” pop-up box will appear.  You can set an alert for coach or First Class, and you will get an email when award seats become available.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 9 How To Find Award Availability

Create Your Flight Alert

Bottom Line

You can use the British Airways website, American Airlines website, and ExpertFlyer to search for award tickets.

You have to call British Airways at 800-247-9297 to book flights on Alaska Airlines.

You can set an award alert on ExpertFlyer to let you know when award seats become available for your travel dates.

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13 responses to “Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 9 – How to Find Award Availability

  1. Very helpful overview. I was frustrated at the BA website last night looking for flights I knew were available because they showed up on my AA search. I see the issue is probably that the BA search engine isn’t as good at finding connections as AA’s. On the other hand, I was wanting also to compare flying through Spain, which AA doesn’t know how to do. So I guess I need to go back and consult an IB route map, then plug in each routing one by one on BA to see what the options are.

  2. Thanks! I’ve been reviewing this as I’m trying to do BOS->DUB round trip on Air Lingus with Avios to avoid high surcharges. I’m seeing conflicting reports online that the economy round-trip costs 25K or 12.5K avios. I’m planning in calling BA today to book. Can anyone help me with which price I should expect?

  3. @Pete – It is 25K roundtrip for Boston to Dublin.

  4. Aer Lingus will start flying from Washington DC to Dublin out of Dulles airport in May. It will be 40K avios for a RT ticket. Depending on where in the country you are located, this may be something worth looking into.
    It was worth it to me, since Dulles is my home airport so, the total mileage ended up being all a wash. It will cost me 15K avios more to fly from Dulles to Dublin but, I’m saving miles for not having to book a flight to Boston. Also, on the plus side, it will be a direct flight for me. 🙂

  5. You put that you can search alaska flights on delta website. Is that right? Are they partners? Will it show same availability as American airlines website?

  6. No offense here. But when you finish this series, the next BA devaluation may come again.

  7. Hi Daraius,

    Is it wise to use the BA avios for the city experiences also?
    Have booked what I need for flights but with the 40% bonus would like to use it for a few London tour.
    Thanks for your input.

  8. How about flights to asia, south east asia specifically?

  9. i think the site has changed a bit – after i click “spending avios” there us no “book flights with avios” but a “reward flights” link instead – at least that’s what i’m seeing.

    i’m trying to find flights by air berlin but the only flights showing up on the website are british air flights. how do i get it to show me their partner airline flights too?

    thanks,
    jackie

  10. On two occasions now BA reps have told me that AA saver flights may not be available via BA, and that AA keeps them for their direct FF members?

  11. I have not been able to see any reward flights on BA website for the past couple of days. When i check Expertflyer they show up with 3 flights with the W class available but the BA site says nothing is available. Have you hard of issues they might be having with their flight search tool?

  12. I forgot to mention in my previous post the availability on their partner airlines is not showing up. All BA flights are still showing up but nothing from American or any other partner. Thanks.

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