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How to Use British Airways Miles: Post 2 Booking a LAN award JFK-LIM

by on April 9, 2011 · 80 comments

in British Airways, Points Guy Pointers

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Update: The current sign-up bonus offer for the British Airways Visa is 50,000 Avios. 25,000 upon first use, and another 25,000 when you spend $2,500 within 90 days.

This is the second installment of my series on maximizing British Airways miles. Since so many of you got in on the super-lucrative 100,000 mile BA Visa sign-up bonus (see details of the most current 100K offer), it would be beneficial to check out: General tipsPost 1 – Booking BA Awards, Post 2 – Booking Partner Awards, Post 3 – Oneworld Alliance, Post 4 – Taxes and Fees, Post 5 – Household Accounts, Post 6 – Companion Ticket, Post 7 – Using ExpertFlyer for Partner Award Availability, Post 8 – The Art of the Stopover, Post 9 – Leveraging Miles and Cash Redemptions, and Post 10 - Using Qantas.com to Find Oneworld Award Availability. Also, be sure to check out my post on the credit card deal itself and the lengthy Q&A in the comments section.

As promised,  today’s post is JFK-Lima, Peru on LAN. For this example, let’s assume we want to try something new and want to fly Lan, which is arguably the best business class product to South America. The first thing I did was Google “LAN Route Map” to see where they fly to in the US, but those results didn’t turn up much. I then went to their Facebook book, where it says their US gateways are Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. I needed to know this, because in order to take advantage of the one Oneworld partner award chart, which is the most generous, you’d have to fly only on Lan. So flying from another city on AA to a Lan gateway is not an option because that will jack the price up to 120,000 miles for business class, since that would be a multi-Oneworld partner award. I’ll cover in other posts, but if you don’t live in or near Lan gateway cities, I’d recommend finding American Airlines routing from your city to Lima – that can be done at aa.com. Any MileSAAver awards can be booked using British Airways miles – you just have to call BA if the trip has multiple stops. Now onto our award; I want to leave in the next couple weeks to take a little spring break:

Britishairways.com -> Executive Club – Spending BA miles

JFK to Lima on my preferred dates, business/club

BA.com realizes British Airways doesn’t fly that route, so it asks if I want to include partners. You can hit either of the circled buttons to pull in partner availability.

Shucks, nothing is available on my exact dates, but as with using all miles you need to be flexible. BA.com gives a +/- 7 day search in either direction of your outbound and return flights. It may take a little while, but search both ways to see what’s there – write down dates and then compare what you think could be a good trip. For this example I hit previous 7 days on both and ended up with..

Not a bad compromise

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • jphripjah

    Thanks.

    I’m curious if it’s possible to use a LAN award to fly to Easter Island AND another South American city other than LIM, SCL, RIO, or GRU.

    For example, can Easter Island be included on the same LAN award ticket as a trip down to Patagonia, or to the Falkland Islands, Quito, or Bolivia.

    Maybe this will be covered later.

    Easter Island is amazing and I encourage anyone who uses the LAN award to South America to take advantage of the ability to go to Easter Island on the same ticket.

  • The Points Guy

    Definitely possible- thats what I was referring to when I said if you want to do other stops in South America, you have to call to get those awards booked. Before you call, do separate searches like LIM-SCL-IPC (Lima- Santiago- Easter Island) to identify availability so you can tell the reps exactly what to book. I’ll cover stopovers more on my post about them.

  • Aleks

    Great set of posts! I’ve been following your blog ever since I discovered it back in January and learned a ton! I’m thinking about pulling a trigger on this BA offer as well. My international trip focuses on Eastern/Southern Europe, mostly in the fall, but sometimes summer as well. Any tips on award travel there (specifically BEG or SJJ) minimizing the evil YQ?

  • http://www.wired2theworld.com Kristina

    I’d love to see a post on how to book two tickets using AA miles together with these BA miles. Is that possible to use them at the same time so that two people can travel together?

  • Adam

    Brian,
    Just signed up for the BA offer via your link. Great work on the site, keep it up

    Adam

  • http://bimmerinfo.com Ray

    Are all MileSAAver awards available on AA, allowed to be booked through a CSR at BA? I’ve seen some MileSAAver awards on AA.com but when I called into BA they told me that not all MileSAAver awards can be booked through BA. I thought it was some BS from BA, but the CSR insisted. This was for a USA only trip using AA planes.

    Thanks

  • Carlos

    Hey Brian,

    On one of your next blog posts, could you please go into how to search for that itinerary, USA-LIM-SCL-IPC-LIM-USA. I am confused with using the free stop-over feature that BA has and how about to search for the stops before calling in.

    And another quick question, BA website does show any availability for a certain route (Ive tried 7 days before and 7 after).

    If I find availability to redeem with miles on the AA.Com website, can I call in and ask the British Airways CSR to book that flight using my BA miles? Is that possible or does the route have to show up on the BA Website to be booked with BA miles?

    Thanks man and cannot wait to see your future posts on using the BA miles.

  • Sheila

    I discovered your blog two weeks ago. I have learned SOOO much from you! Sure wished I found it sooner. It’s been alot of fun going back and reading all your posts. I’m still trying to decide whether to apply for BA credit. I would love to take my family of 4 to London either fall, spring or next summer depending on the deal and am wondering if I can do this from Minneapolis?

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  • The Points Guy

    @Aleks- evil YQ is basically unavoidable if traveling to Europe

    @Kristina- AA and BA miles can be used for any BA award or any MileSAAver AA award or any Oneworld award that shows up on ba.com

    @Ray- its possibly BA blocks some milesAAver, but generally they are bookable with BA miles

    @Carlos- to book an IPC trip, just use the method in the post to find each segment. So ONLY search segment by segment to see whats out there- then call in to piece it all together. Remember, its unlimited stops, but only in the most direct routing (generally they alllow stops as long as you don’t go crazy or backtrack or go completely out of the way)

    @Sheila- Glad you like it and are along for the ride :-) You can take your family to London, but fees on the awards will be around $400 per ticket and you can only fly AA. It can still save you money, but take the fees into consideration. BA Miles are best used for domestic US, South America or Asia/ Australia awards.

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  • David

    I did the above and search for available flys on Cathy pacific from 1/10/2012 and return 2/8/2012 (SFO to HKG). However, I got an error message saying “Request contains inconsistent sector dates”, but they did show these days are available. So, I wonder if you know what that means? Thanks!

  • CT

    I just followed your example and did searches on BA.com for flights from JFK to LAX (including partner airlines) on several different weekends this summer, and all of them turned up zero available flights. That can’t be true, since I know AA has rewards flights available on that route for those dates! Am I missing something?

  • Robert

    Question – does BAs miles program allow the booking of award travel for someone else other than the accountholder like most American FF programs?? Thanks!

  • The Points Guy

    David- the invalid sector date is a glitch- basically because the flight arrives before it departs (due to the time change) BA.com thinks it’s invalid. You’ll have to call to book but they’ll waive the fee

    Ct- what dates are you looking at?

    Robert- yes- you can book award tickets for whoever you want, just like US programs

  • CT

    The specific weekend I’m interested in is August 11-14. On AA.com it’s showing plenty of AAnytime and Business Class MileSAAver awards flights for the entire month of August, whereas BA.com keeps telling me there’s nothing.

  • Alan

    How would I use the above to book a flight from JFK to HKG via Cathay Pacific with 50,000 points? I tried the above and it forced me to use 120,000 pts to redeem a BA flight and fly through London. Thanks.

  • Jim

    TPG- still planning to do a post on stopovers? Would love to hear more about what BA allows and how to actually book them.

  • The Points Guy

    @CT- Only MileSaaver awards will show up on BA.com. You may have to do it as two one ways and make sure you are entering the exact itinerary that shows on aa.com. If you can’t get it to work, email me and I’ll take a look

    @Alan- The Cathay flight JFK-HKG may not be available. If it forces the London route, just call to see if theres any Cathay availability. Another tip is to call American Airlines reps for Cathay availability (the wait times are generally much shorter). If an AA rep finds Cathay space, you’ll be able to book it with BA miles

    @Jim- I can do a post, but its pretty simply- the only rule is that stopovers are allowed, but you have to use direct routing (going in the same direction). You have to call to book them and you can search availability online leg by leg and then call to piece it all together. You can use Expertflyer for AA, Qantas, Finnair and Alaskan availability. Otherwise, use BA.com using the tips I’ve posted so far

  • grego

    So is it possible to book a flight to say Barcelona or Rome flying on American or Iberia? It seems as though this would be possible based on what BA has said and I was wondering if this still would have the fuel surcharge or what the fees might be/if its even possible given that BA technically flies there…would definitely prefer a direct flight NY to FCO rather than through heathrow/gatwick/city

  • The Points Guy

    Yes Greg. It doesn’t matter if BA flies there- you can book any Oneworld flight that has availability. For a sense of fees check out my fourth post in this series that had screenshots of fees. You are looking at $400+ for any Oneworld carrier to Europe- even more if you fly BA

  • Aleks

    Brian – thanks for the response. I ended up using my DL miles for the Europe trip. It had ~ $150 in fees/taxes which went on my Plat Amex and will be reimbursed. :D

    I applied for the BA Visa using your referral link here and was approved yesterday; I hope that generates a little $$ for you for all the great information you provide here!

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  • Thien Dinh

    Can BA miles be used to book AA anytime awards or only MileSaver?

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  • Kevin

    Question a about avoiding backtrack, here are all the segements I had put together, all under Cathay Pacific direct route:
    Outbound : LAX – HKG(stopover), HKG – BKK(stopover), BKK – SIN(stopover) (Final Destination).
    Return: SIN – HKG(transfer)-LAX.
    My question is on the return segement SIN-HKG-LAX, would the transfer point at HKG consider backtrack? I didn’t plan to stopover at HKG on the return segment, it ‘s just the way Cathay Pacific transfer when they flight from SIN-LAX.

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  • AK

    Speaking of trips to Easter Island, I know that Chile has a $140 fee for entering the country as a US citizen (not a visa, more like an entrance fee as payback for Chileans needing a visa to come the US?). Anyway, I’ve heard that it is collected at SCL if you enter Chile there (which LIM-SCL-IPC would be since you’re entering Chile from Peru and continuing onto a domestic SCL-IPC flight).

    However, does anyone know if they collect the $140 fee at IPC? Reason I ask is that there is a seasonal LAN flight from LIM-IPC direct. If they don’t collect the fee, that’s $140 saved! And if you wanted to see Santiago, you could fly IPC-SCL-LIM-xxx on the return but wouldn’t have to pay at SCL because it’s a domestic flight from IPC.

    Also @David up there, I know this is 2 months late, but make sure to remember that BA uses the dd/mm/yy format on their calendar, not mm/dd/yy like US!

  • http://twitter.com/egwg Eric W

    @AK I was looking into the LIM-IPC route also. As far as I can tell, they do not offer that route anymore. Too bad, that would have saved me $140. Looks like I’ll have to do it via SLC this fall/winter.

    The $140 fee is only collected at SLC if you are arriving from an international flight. There’s an Easter Island thread on Flyertalk that talks about it: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/south-america/1170679-easter-island-my-experience.html

  • Trollishmoron

    Can u do one ways on OW partners using BA miles for half the price?

  • The Points Guy

    @thien- only mile saaver

    @trollish- yes you can book one way partner awards

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  • SV

    I trying booking a flight from EWR to MSY for early October and BA is saying they are sold out although AA.com shows many available options under AAdvantage booking system. Is there some way I can get them to book me one of those flights or are they all out?

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  • Cxjal

    Does it still count as a single partner if one of the flights is a codeshare?

  • Anonymous

    No- codeshare doesn’t matter- its operating carrier

  • Anonymous

    AA flights would be connecting, therefore you have to call and give BA the EXACT flight numbers of the Saverpass awards on AA

  • Cxjal

    What about Dragonair? Does that count as Cathay despite the KA code?

  • Cxjal

    What about Dragonair? Does that count as Cathay despite the KA code?

  • Anonymous

    Counts as Cathay

  • Nick M

    I am trying to help my parents book New York to Bangkok roundtrip, with a return stopover in Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. BA’s site is showing nothing available when I search NYC to Bangkok, but both legs are available in both directions when I search NYC to HKG and HKG to BKK. And all the flights are on Cathay.

    Does the BA site not show this simply because it is a connecting itinerary, even if it is on one carrier? Is it possible that there wouldn’t be reward availability for the overall route even though they have reward seats on both legs? Or does it simply mean I have to call them to make the booking?

  • Anonymous

    It’s totally bookable, but BA.com is stupid when it comes to stopovers. Just call to book and have them waive the phone booking fee

  • Nick M

    Thanks! Additionally, the BA site tried to charge me a fuel surcharge fee for booking a mileage reward on Cathay, even on the check-out page. Is it safe to assume this is an error and they won’t charge it when I try to make the booking by phone? None of the routing is on BA equipment so they shouldn’t be charging for fuel, correct?

  • Cdbigboy

    Hi,
    I will need to fly from vancouver to taipei in coming December. I know both jal and cx can get me there, but ba site only shows jal and requires additional charge of 700+ on top of 50000 point. Am i doing somthing wrong? Is there better way to maximize my ba miles for this trip? Thanks.

  • MJLouise

    If you use BA miles on AA metal to Europe, are there the typically high BA taxes / fees? Does it matter if you go through London?

  • Kraig

    Wow this blog is amazing.

    I am having a lot of the same issues. Looking to book rewards travel through BA.com from SFO to Anywhere in Hawaii. I have been trying Honolulu and it says nothing is available for an entire year.

    AA Saaver flights on AA.com says it’s available.

    help! Looking for departure 11/11 or 11/12, returning 11/19 or 11/20

    Trying to book this for my Honeymoon. Ugh, the stress :)

    Kraig

  • PV

    Hey points guy,

    I got in on the chase sapphire deal and got 50k miles. I am going to get in on the AA Amex deal for 75k points. Is it possible for me to purchase a first class flight to Brazil (total on 125k miles) with such a split in miles on one world partners? Should I just call BA and see if they would do it?

  • Anonymous

    If there are saver flights on AA.com, then you can use BA miles to book those tickets. It should load, but the site is crap. I’d just write down the exact dates and flight numbers that have Saaver availability and hunker down and call British Airways to get it booked. Complain that their website is broken and if you push hard enough they’ll waive the phone booking fee. Enjoy your honeymoon!

  • Anonymous

    If you are getting in on the citi deal, why not go for 150k miles!?
    As for BRazil, you can get first class North America to Brazil for 125,000 miles or 100k for business https://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/free-ticket-award-chart.jsp
    You would be able to book one way using the Sapphire-BA (they only charge 40k one way for business or 60k for first)
    Then book the other way using your AA miles.

  • Mo

    Sorry to be thick, but where do I find the AA Saver or MileSAAver (is there a difference between those two) rates?

  • Anonymous

    same thing. Go to AA.com and do award searches. There will be two levels. Saaver or AAnytime. Saaver can be booked with BA miles http://www.aa.com/reservation/awardFlightSearchAccess.do

  • Schneidler

    You can also use your BA miles to book a ticket with Alaska Air from SFO to Hawaii. They fly to 5 or 6 different destinations in HI. You could go direct from SFO or OAK or from OAK/SFO to LAX or SEA and then on to HI. I’ve had excellent luck in the past doing this exact route using BA miles to buy Alaska Air tickets. However, you will have to call them to get Alaska Air tickets. I’ve been trying to call ALL DAY today and haven’t been able to get past the “all lines are busy” message.

  • Schneidler

    And is every saaver itinerary found on aa.com always available when you call BA? I ask because it doesn’t work that way with Alaska Air, one of their other partners. I can find a flight with a dozen “saver” seats still available on alaskaair.com, but when I call BA they say no seats available. The bottom line is that Alaska Air gives BA access to only a select few of it’s saver seats on any given flight. So using the alaskaair.com site to research which flights to use is not always particularly helpful. But it sounds like it is (thankfully) different with AA?

  • SterlingGuy

    I want to do something similar LAX-Santiago-Easter Island-Lima in July or August. Were you able to use your BA miles for your trip? Did you find LAN flights and then call BA and get your ticket? What kind of LAN flights are bookable with BA miles? When I look on BA’s website for flights it finds no availability for anything.

  • Anonymous

    I did weeklong searches for JFK and MIA to LIM and then the LIM-SCL and SCL-IPC legs. All showed up on BA.com and I called and gave the flight numbers and the agent had it booked in 5 minutes. JFK-LIM-SCL-IPC-SCL-JFK for 80,000 miles in business

  • abele

    What about JFK to ICP (Easter Island) via Lima? Is it still 40K miles roundtrip in coach or smth different? There is a direct LAN flight Lima-ICP. BA site says none of the partners fly to Easter island, but it’s a lie:)

  • SterlingGuy

    Using my 100k BA miles has to be one of the most frustrating things ever. I planned out my trip in detail, going to BA’s site and verifying that each leg of my trip was avail for points on LAN (LAX-Lima-Santiago-Easter island-Lima), with stopovers, as allowed. Have called 6 times. Most of the times, after listening to their legal speech, I get the message that the call can’t be completed and then hangs up. But I have talked to a real person six times. The first two times they told me no problem, except that the Lima-LAX wasn’t released yet. The last 4 times I’ve called, they tell me that nothing is available!– even though I’m looking at BA’s website and seeing it avail to book for points! Seems like they just say no, nothing’s available so ex club members will just throw up their hands and give up. Looks like my only option is to book each segment online myself and spend 74,500 points instead of the 40k it should cost! BA has to be the worst run airline customer service on the planet.

  • SterlingGuy

    Oh, and my trip is planned for July 2012!

  • abele

    I think LAN releases awards 330 days in advance, so that might be part of the problem with bookability. Are you giving them specific flight numbers on specific dates for which you confirmed availability?

  • Anonymous

    I called British Airways Executive Club today(12 SEP2011) and was told that the LAN award using BA miles only allows one stopover in each direction from the final destination. Was the agent correct? Your site indicates multiple stopovers are allowed.

  • Anonymous

    The agent was wrong unless they recently changed the rules. I booked a multistop trip recently, as have many. I’d recommend calling again

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  • JaxKris

    @thepointsguy – I discovered this blog a week ago and have been reading since. Is it too late to get the household account before the Avios change. My wife and I got in on the BA-visa sign up offer and have 200 K miles and were planning to book a Europe trip in the Fall of 2012. With the new changes coming we are thinking of booking it right now and make minor changes later if necessary

  • Anonymous

    You can create a household account right now and it will be active right away.

  • JaxKris

    @thepointsguy – Thanks, tried it out and it is active and ready to go. I’ve been using your 10 part series to understand BA’s sytem. We are trying to make the following trip happen SFO->LHR(stop)->FCO(Rome, stop)->BCN(stop)->CDG(stop)->LHR->SFO.

    It already looks like an impossible trip to make using reward travel and to make full use of the points I am trying to see if I can atleast get business class for the long haul flights to and from SFO. I used Kayak to chart out the flights and itinerary and plan to call them tomorrow to make this happen. Wanted to get your input to see if there is a better way to break that trip like using one way from SFO to FCO and then another one way back to SFO. Wanted to understand a little about point 8 from the general tips of your 10 part series.

  • Anonymous

    Generally you are only allowed en route stopover (London) or if you only flew FinnAir (Helsinki). I doubt they will let you backtrack between london, but let us know how it goes!

  • Joe B

    Is there any way to find FTE or USH tickets via BA online search engine? They seem to be excluded from the search, so very hard to work out availability in advance of calling the agents (who are crazy busy right now…)

  • Kevin

    How far in advance should I start looking for business availability on the JFK-SCL-JFK flights?

  • Adavydov7

    Quick question, is the one OneWorld Partner award chart still valid. I ask this because the link you provide to it is no longer working. I am curious because I am about to book a NA->SA->NA trip with multiple stopovers and want to be sure that it is still just 40K for the roundtrip. Thanks in advance!

  • mimi

    Hi Points Guy…you seem to know a lot about this stuff…I’d like to book a trip on BA points, but I’m not sure if the passport will be ready in time. If it isn’t, can I change the booking relatively painlessly, or will I lose the points?

  • thepointsguy

    High BA fees on all flights to Europe except aer lingus

  • thepointsguy

    $90 to get miles back or to change dates – per ticket

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  • Bemi

    I only have Asia Miles, and I want to redeem tickets to go to HKG –> Tokyo –> Osaka –>HKG …. how do I find the flight availability from Tokyo –> Osaka (Since it is not operated by CX)? Shall I simpily call Asia Miles customer service or what? Please let me know. Thanks.

  • Vivian

    love the blog! thanks for the great tips!!

    so here’s my problem, tried to call ba to redeem lax –> pdx trip 6/7-6/10 which i found on aa.com under milesaver awards. the delightful ba rep said it can’t be booked through them because, and i quote, “obviously aa isn’t making those flights available for ba award redemption.” then she proceeded to tell me to “learn to use the ba website,” that if i can’t find the flight through ba.com then it cannot be redeemed.

    hm… have i been bullied?

    best course of action? option 1: fight to the death with ba rep? option 2: get an advantage card and book the flight then rack up those points? or any other suggestions?

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