American Airlines Award Flights (Again) Bookable Online Using British Airways Avios
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Families that like to stretch their miles to the max know that learning a foreign frequent flyer program or two can be paramount in getting more value out of your miles and points. One pretty easy-to-use frequent flyer program used by many families is the British Airways Executive Club. Via British Airways, flights on partner airlines such as American Airlines, start at only 7,500 points each way using their distance based award chart.
This is useful information even if you don't typically fly British Airways as you can transfer points from programs such as Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways. You can also rack up Avios using the British Airways Visa Signature Card and its up to 100,000 bonus points.(50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening and an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year)
Book American Airlines flights using British Airways Avios online
Booking your American Airlines operated award flights using British Airways Avios can be a very good strategy, but in recent months, it has been quite the challenge as the British Airways website was virtually not permitting any award bookings on American Airlines flights even when space was available. You could call and book over the phone with the British Airways Executive Club, but that could very easily take over an hour thanks to extremely long hold times.
However, this week it seems that the British Airways Executive Club website has finally been fixed and American Airlines operated flights can again be booked online using your British Airways Avios!
Using British Airways Avios to fly American can stretch your family's miles
As a refresher as to why this is a pretty big deal, if you wanted to fly your family from Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) to Cancun (CUN), American Airlines would want 15,000 AAdvantage miles to travel in each direction for an economy saver award. However, the exact same flight can be booked for just 7,500 British Airways Avios when there are American AAdvantage saver award seats available. This cuts the number of miles you need in half just by booking with a different program!
To give another example, to fly from Phoenix to Honolulu on an economy saver award, American Airlines charges 22,500 miles each direction. The exact same flights can be booked using 12,500 British Airways Avios each direction which means a family of four could fly round trip to Hawaii from just 100,000 Avios. Keep in mind that the award chart is distance based, so the further you fly, the more it costs. Adding in connections will also increase the price, so you will want to target nonstop flights when using British Airways Avios.
Save by booking lap infants via British Airways Avios
Internationally, the deal can get even better for families - especially if you are flying with a lap infant. British Airways charges just 10% of the award rate + taxes for lap infants, while American Airlines (and most other airlines) will charge you 10% of the going fare.
To put this into real numbers, an American Airlines operated flight from Dallas Fort - Worth (DFW) to Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) would cost you 57,500 AAdvantage miles for an adult business class saver award ticket and hundreds of dollars for a lap infant since the selling cost of the ticket is thousands of dollars.
However, you could book the same ticket for 60,000 British Airways Avios for the adult ticket + just 6,000 Avios for the lap infant. There are about $100 in additional taxes and fees when booking these particular tickets via British Airways over American Airlines, but booking international premium cabin awards with a lap infant is almost always a better deal via British Airways rather than American Airlines. It is great news that you can again book these and other American Airlines operated flights online using British Airways Avios.
Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, I'm thrilled that you can again book American Airlines operated award flights directly on the British Airways website!