Step By Step: How to Book American Airlines Flights With British Airways Avios Points

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Update: British Airways has devalued its partner award chart, so some of the prices mentioned have increased. But they can still be good deals.

One of my favorite ways to use British Airways Avios points is to book domestic award flights with American Airlines because you’re often able to book the same flight for fewer miles.

In the past, finding available American Airlines award flights on the British Airways site has been hit or miss…at best.  Often you would need to call in to book the flights and sometimes even that wouldn’t work.

But lately it looks like things are running smoothly, so I figured it’s a good time for a quick reminder on how to book American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios points.

American Airlines Miles Aren’t the Only Way to Book American Airlines Award Flights

Collecting British Airways Avios Points

Earning British Airways Avios points is easy because they transfer from lots of different flexible points programs.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points

AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments.  Check out our step-by-step guide to transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways for more details.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments to British Airways.  For more details, check out our guide on how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways.

Marriott Points

Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to British Airways.  And you get a 5,000 British Airways Avios point bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer!

How to Book American Airlines Flights on the British Airways Website

Personally, I think it’s easier to find flights on American Airlines’ website because you’ll have the option of looking at an entire month at a time.  Once you find your flights you can just plug in the dates on the British Airways site.

For domestic American Airlines coach flights that are 500 miles or fewer, saver awards cost 7,500 miles one-way.  And for domestic American Airlines coach flights over 500 miles, saver awards cost 12,500 one-way.  So those are the prices you’re looking for when you’re searching American’s site.

Make Sure You’re Only Looking at the Nonstop Flight Options

British Airways operates a distance based award chart.  So what you pay will vary by the distance flown per segment NOT per one-way flight.  That means you’ll want to look for nonstop American Airlines flights.

British Airways charges 7,500 Avios points for flights in the US that are 1,151 miles or less.  So you’ll be paying fewer British Airways Avios points (compared to using American Airlines miles) for flights between 500 and 1,151 miles!

And British Airways Avios points are still a good option for American Airlines coach saver award flights that are 500 miles or less because Chase Ultimate Rewards points and AMEX Membership Rewards points don’t transfer to American Airlines.  So it gives you the flexibility to book those flights for the same price even if you don’t have American Airlines miles!

Using British Airways Avios points for American Airlines flights is also a great option for last-minute bookings because British Airways doesn’t charge close-in booking fees.  And American Airlines charges $75 per ticket!  That savings alone can add up if you’re booking multiple award seats.

Here’s how you do it.

Step 1.   Log Into Your British Airways Account

Enter your ID and password, then click “Log in.”

First, Log Into Your Account

Step 2.   Click “Spending Avios”

Click the “Executive Club” tab and then “Spending Avios.”

Choose “Spending Avios” to Continue

Step 3.   Click “Book a Reward Flight”

On the next page, scroll down a bit and click “Book a reward flight,” which is under the “Choose Your Reward” section.

Click the “Book a Reward Flight” Button

Step 4.   Enter Your Flight Details

Under the “Book with Avios” tab you can enter your flight details including the cities, dates, class of travel, and the number of passengers.  You’ll need to click the “One way only” box if you want to book a one-way flight.

Then click “Get Flights” to continue to the next page.

Enter Your Flight Details

Step 5.   Pick Your Flight

Choose your travel date from the top to see available flights for that day.  Then select the flight you want to book.

Pick the Flight You Want

Step 6.   Double Check the Price and Fees

Make sure the award price and fees are what you expected and then click “Continue.”

Make Sure the Flights and Prices Are What You Want

Step 7.  Add Passenger & Payment Details

On the next few screens, you’ll add the details of all the passengers and pay for the flight.  When you’re finished, you’ll get to a screen like this which will include your name and confirmation number.

At the End of the Process, You’ll Get to a Screen Which Includes Your Confirmation Number

Bottom Line

Having the option to use British Airways Avios points to book American Airlines flights is handy for a couple of reasons.  You can sometimes book flights for fewer points compared to booking with American Airlines miles.  Plus, British Airways doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee.  It also gives you the option to book American Airlines award tickets with transferable points like AMEX Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Currently, you can easily book American Airlines awards on the British Airways site.  And hopefully, this guide helps make it even easier!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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9 months ago

is there a way to avoid paying the checked bag fee when doing this? I find that I use avios, but still have to pay the bag fee. I also have the AA executive AAdvantage card too, but not sure why I still have to pay the fee. thoughts?

9 months ago

Even though American has many available award flights from NYC to SFO on May 21, 2020, he BA site shows no availability. How come?

david kohn
9 months ago

Your advice on how to book American Airlines flights using Avios points is just plain INACCURATE. If British Air does not fly the route you want you cannot use the “book with Avios” form. For instance, AA has direct flights from Guadalajara Mexico to Phoenix and Tucson, but the BA “book with Avios” form will not even let you enter Guadalajara as your departure city. Same for any flight from Tucson to anywhere, because BA does not fly out of Tucson (but AA does).

Please do not give bad advice. Check before you publish!

Joseph Hostetler
Reply to  david kohn
9 months ago

Hey david kohn! Not sure the problem you’re encountering, but I just checked Guadalajara to Phoenix and it’s easily bookable with Avios on the British Airways website. Nonstop on American, as well as connecting through Dallas. Hope you were able to figure it out!

1 year ago

Here’s a question for you…I booked my flights from UK to US using a travel website. So they are a combination of BA and AA. I would like to book my seats using Avios points, I was advised by BA over the phone that I would be able to do it online.

Any idea HOW to do it???

Thanks 🙂

Italo House
1 year ago

Well its great that you got lucky and maybe BA loosened their policy for a little while but as of 2019 I find it horrible as ever again to book with Avios anything else then BA flights. Only about 5-10 percent of flights which show up are non BA flights. Some of them Like Quatar Airways get routinely an error when you try to book them. I guess maybe 1 % if not less of AA flight routes are showing up on BA. If any other point system would act like that, say on my American Epxress card they would get called out on it constantly in the press. Only with flying we seem to be accepting what in any other business would come close to scaming. Yeah I actually really like to fly with BA, but these days my experience with a company is also largely on their website too and I just could fill pages and pages whats so outdated and wrong with BAs website. Making Avios complicated is just the tip of the iceberg.

1 year ago

When booking an American airlines flight using Avios can one get AA advantage benefits such as a free check bag?

1 year ago

It is crazy, trying to book caracas-miami, sometimes it shows availability, 5 minutes later no, then 5 more yes.

Jerry Mandel
2 years ago

Is this article a prank? You always get no availability or BA doesn’t serve that route and doesn’t give AA as a partner.

Reply to  Jason
1 year ago

It always says no availability. Has there been any update to this process.

Tom m
2 years ago

Canceling an AA flight through British airlines is very easy and cheap.

Andrew W
Reply to  Tom m
2 years ago

Thanks Tom, I’ve never had to cancel a flight with them, but good to know it’s quick and easy!