The (Infuriating) Workaround for Finding AA Award Availability Through British Airways

May 8, 2018

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British Airways’ Executive Club program is typically a great choice for booking Oneworld award flights because its website will show you award seats on every alliance partner carrier and the program has some excellent sweet spots like American Airlines lie-flat domestic business-class flights for 15,000 Avios. Plus, it’s relatively easy to rack up on British Airways Avios since it’s a 1:1 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

What’s not so great about the program is that it has a history of IT glitches that prevent you from finding American Airlines award space in its system — regardless of whether you book through British Airways’ website or over the phone — and it looks like the issue is back.

Here’s an example for an early July flight from Los Angeles to Chicago on AA’s site. As you can see, there’s plenty award availability at the SAAver level:

When searching the BA site for AA award availability, there was absolutely no availability on that day — or any other day that week:

As another example, there’s practically wide open SAAver level availability between San Francisco and Philadelphia in August 2018:

Again, the BA site showed no available flights:

However, as Frequent Miler points out, there’s an infuriating workaround to this issue: refresh the search over and over again until the availability appears (assuming you found SAAver level availability on AA’s site, of course). The best way of doing this is by toggling between nearby dates on the calendar and then back to your original date. Although you’ll need to do this around 20 times, the award space should eventually show up.

Sure enough, after 19 and 16 tries, respectively, I was able to find award availability on BA’s site for the flight to Chicago…

… and the flight to Philadelphia. Funny enough, there were a whopping seven award seats available in economy for this flight.

Once you find the award seats you’re looking for, you’ll want to book right away. After switching between the dates again, I noticed that the availability I previously found disappeared and I had to go through the entire search process all over again.

Featured image by Juha Remes / Getty Images.

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