Use American Airlines Miles & British Airways Points to Take a Family Vacation

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Update: Beginning February 2, 2016, British Airways will no longer offer 1-way, short-haul (under 650 miles) coach award tickets on partner airlines in North America for 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  Instead these flights will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points.

UPDATE: The offers for the British Airways card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card in this post have expired.  But check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

Million Mile Secrets reader, Eric, commented:

How hard is it to book domestic American Airlines flights using British Airways Avios points?  I have a bunch of American Airlines miles, but not enough for my whole family to fly.  Can I combine American Airlines miles with British Airways Avios points to book domestic award tickets on American Airlines?

Thanks for the question, Eric!

The answer is NO, you cannot combine American Airline miles and British Airways Avios points.  But, you can book the same flights with either program!

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

British Airways Avios Points Aren’t Just for British Airways Flights! You Can Book Flights on American Airlines, Too

I’ll show you how!

About the oneworld Alliance

Link:   oneworld Partner Airlines

American Airlines and British Airways are both part of the oneworld alliance with several other airlines.  That means they have access to each other’s award flights, so you can book them with either airline’s miles or points.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

The oneworld Alliance Airlines Can Book Each Other’s Award Flights Because They’re Travel Partners

This is convenient because you can use American Airlines miles to book British Airways flights, and vice versa.  But you can NOT combine your American Airlines miles with British Airways Avios points.  Use must use 1 or the other for each award flight.

How to Find Award Seats

Link:   American Airlines

Link:   British Airways

Because Eric wants to book flights for his family, the best place to start is the American Airlines website.

That’s because you’ll want to make sure seats are available on American Airlines flights before you check anywhere else, if that’s the airline you want to fly.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Fill-In Your Trip Details. Remember to Select the Number of Travelers and Check “Redeem Miles”

You can start a search on the American Airlines main page.

Enter where you want to go, and be sure to select how many people are traveling together.  Then check “Redeem Miles” and click “Search.”

I searched for 4 people to take a spring trip to New York from Chicago!

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Make Sure You Only Look for “MileSAAver” Award Seats

At least 4 award seats are available in each direction!

Remember American Airlines airline partners (such as British Airways) can only book awards labeled as “MileSAAver.”

Next, head to the British Airways website.  To search, you must sign-up with British Airways Executive Club (free to join!), or log into your account.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Under the “Executive Club” Tab, Click “Spending Avios”

On the website, hover over “Executive Club” then click “Spending Avios.”

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Find and Click “Book a Reward Flight”

Scroll down to the “Reward Flights” section and click “Book a reward flight.”

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Enter the Same Details to Find Your Flights Again

I filled-in the same information as before.  Now, you can decide how many flights you want to book with American Airlines miles and British Airways Avios points.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

I Easily Found the Same Flights on the British Airways Website

I chose to book 2 award seats with British Airways Avios points.

Then, you can go back to the American Airlines website to book the other seats.  Be sure the flights are the same!

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

It’s Easy to Use Different Types of Points to Take the Family on a Vacation to New York (or Another Place You’d Like to Visit)!

Once all the seats are booked, everyone will be on the same flight from Chicago to New York (and back, too!).

Keep This in Mind!

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator

American Airlines has a zone-based award chart.  They charge a set price of 25,000 American Airlines miles for round-trip coach award flights within the mainland US, Alaska, and Canada.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Round-Trip Coach Award Flights Cost 25,000 American Airlines Miles Each Within the US

So a family of 4 would need 100,000 American Airlines miles.

And British Airways has a distance-based award chart.  You’ll pay based on the distance flown.  For 1-way coach award flights under 650 miles, you’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  Booking award seats on short flights is 1 of the best ways to use British Airways Avios points!

And for flights over 650 miles, but under 1,150 miles, you’ll pay 7,500 British Airways Avios points.

Prices go up from there.  You can use the British Airways award flight calculator to check how many miles you’ll need.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Chicago to New York Costs 15,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip

British Airways charges 15,000 British Airways Avios points to fly from Chicago to New York round-trip in coach.

Mix And Match American Airlines Miles And British Airways Avios Points To Take The Family On Vacation

Flying Direct Will Save You British Airways Points

Also keep in mind British Airways charges per segment flown.  So look for direct flights to save points!

O the dates I searched, I was able to choose from several direct flights.  American Airlines doesn’t charge you more miles for connecting flights.  But British Airways does.

If you don’t have elite status with American Airlines, you’ll pay a $75 award booking fee on tickets booked less than 21 days prior to departure.

But British Airways does NOT charge this fee.  So it’s something to keep to mind if you want to mix and match points for award flights.

Earn More Miles and Points!

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Link:   Chase British Airways

If you need more American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points to take a big trip, consider signing-up for a new credit card.

With the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card, you’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  Here’s my review of the card.

And with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, you can earn 75,000 American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  It’s a fantastic card to have if you fly American Airlines a lot, because it comes with an American Airlines Admirals Club membership and 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 8 companions traveling with you.  Check out my full review!

For a limited time, you can earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after spending $20,000 on purchases on the Chase British Airways card within the 1st year of account opening.  Or 75,000 British Airways Avios points after spending $10,000.

The bonus for this card has never been higher!  And it doesn’t come around very often.  Be sure to read my review of the card, with details about how the sign-up bonus works!

Bottom Line

It’s easy to book American Airlines award flights with British Airways Avios points!  And if you have a combination of American Airlines miles and British Airways Avios points, like reader Eric, you can book the same award flights with either program.

Although, you can NOT combine British Airways Avios points and American Airlines miles.  You must book each award flight with 1 type of airline mile.

This is a great way to take the family on vacation!

The best way to search is to start at the American Airlines website.  After you find the flights you want, book as many as you want on the British Airways website.  And then book the remainder of the flights back at the American Airlines website.

Remember, British Airways charges per segment, and distance flown.  So you’ll want to find direct flights to save points!

Thanks for the question, Eric, and enjoy the trip with your family!

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4 responses to “Use American Airlines Miles & British Airways Points to Take a Family Vacation

  1. Looks like the fees are pretty low for Avios on AA. Is that a function of the route or are there no fuel surcharges when using Avios on AA?

  2. Why do I come across times where the AA website has the saver fare available but BA doesnt show the same flight? BA says the flight is unavailable.

  3. You know what I love about this post? The fact that the author immediately answered the question, THEN provided details. For the vast majority of posts on MMS, I feel as though I have to scroll to the bottom to get the short answer, and I often do.

  4. I tried the steps shown this article, exactly as shown on the British airways site. I cannot see the American Airlines flights. When i go to Expert flier, it tells me there are 7 seats available on American Airlines. Am i doing something wrong or has the information changed since last year.