Awards on American Are Once Again Bookable Through British Airways
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
American Airlines and British Airways are both members of the Oneworld alliance, which means frequent flyer awards on each airline should be bookable using the other's mileage program. But for the last couple of months, the British Airways website hasn't been showing any American Airlines award availability, even when aa.com was showing saver level space.
There was a possible lengthy workaround to find this space on ba.com, and some TPG readers had success calling British Airways call centers. But both of these options required tremendous amounts of patience and a little bit of luck. This made it difficult, if not impossible, to take advantage of BA's distance-based award program to book domestic American flights, which is a popular way of redeeming British Airways Avios.
Fortunately, after weeks of patiently waiting, as of Wednesday night American Airlines award space is reappearing on the British Airways website, and as usual it seems to match MileSAAver space on aa.com. For instance, here's the available award space on American's website for AA's A321T transcontinental service from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) in first class on August 18:
And here is the matching space on British Airways' website (along with an open business class seat as well):
Another search for economy space between American's hub in Dallas (DFW) and Atlanta (ATL) on February 4 shows just the 8:40pm flight available on aa.com...
And the same 8:40pm flight is available on ba.com with 7 open seats, and prices for 7,500 Avios and $5.60 in taxes and fees as usual:
Domestic travel on AA is one of the best uses of British Airways Avios. Flights up to 1,151 miles only cost 7,500 Avios — in comparison, American will charge you 12,500 AAdvantage miles for flights within the US that are longer than 500 miles (flights under 500 miles only cost 7,500 AA miles). Remember though that American must have award space available at the lowest MileSAAver level for it to be bookable with Oneworld partners, including British Airways Avios. AAnytime space is not available to partners.
If you've been holding off on applying for the British Airways Visa Signature Card during this glitch, the tiered 100,000-point bonus offer is still available, so you may want to give it your consideration and stock up on a bunch of Avios while you can. You can also get Avios by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints.
This is not the first time AA award space has disappeared from the British Airways website, but nonetheless, it's a relief to see it finally fixed. And along with Cathay Pacific partner award space returning to normal two weeks ago after an IT glitch blocked all its partners from seeing and booking awards, that makes this a pretty good month for Oneworld award travelers.