Booking American Airlines Award Flights Through British Airways Just Got Even Harder

May 31, 2018

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It’s been difficult to search American Airlines awards using British Airways’s website for a while now. And, just as we figured out a work-around, the situation got worse.

On May 22, British Airways added a warning to the top of its award search page alerting travelers of “a technical problem with American Airlines’ reward flight availability which American Airlines is currently working to identify and resolve.”

Image courtesy of @T_Waits_4NoOne on Twitter.
Image courtesy of @T_Waits_4NoOne via Twitter.

That message has been softened since to take some of the blame off of American Airlines and generally reference “a technical problem displaying American Airlines reward flights.”

We were hoping that this was a temporary issue, but it’s stretching on into its second week. When I tried to book an American Airlines award with British Airways Avios on Wednesday, there were 10 nonstop flights — and 40 total itinerary options — available on AA.com:

But no options were showing on British Airways’ website:

As the website directed, I called British Airways to book the flight. An agent picked up after less than a minute of wait time. The agent patiently went through the whole booking process before the AA-BA situation came up. Without me saying anything about the issues I had trying to book on BA’s website, the agent said that he was waiving the phone booking fee as this was an American Airlines award flight.

How Long Until We See a Fix?

Since he brought it up, I inquired about the status of the situation and how long it would take to fix. Noting that the problem was “completely dependent on American Airlines,” the agent grimly noted that there was “no end in sight.”

Next, I checked in with American Airlines about this issue and when it’s going to be resolved. An spokesperson responded that AA is aware of the technical issue that’s causing British Airways to not accurately display available award seats, and AA is working diligently with its partners to fix. After speaking with AA, I came away with the impression that this is a temporary, resolvable issue that’s just the result of trying to get multiple systems to work together.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a timeline for when the issue will be resolved. Until it’s fixed, you’re going to need to call British Airways to book AA award flights. Hopefully you’ll be as lucky as I was to have no phone wait time, and luckily it seems that the BA phone agents are fully briefed on the situation and will waive fees accordingly.

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