Hey! You’re reading an outdated Free First Class Next Month series. Check out the latest version published in April of 2015 here.
This is the twenty-first post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flier miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go. Previously Searching AA.com to Redeem American Airlines Miles.
Knowing how to use ba.com is crucial for making award bookings with British Airways Avios and American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
Why? ba.com displays award space for more oneworld partner airlines than does aa.com. That means you often need to search ba.com even if you are redeeming American Airlines miles. For instance, ba.com is a great place to search space on Cathay Pacific before calling American Airlines to book with American Airlines miles.
Award Searches on ba.com
First, you need to sign up for the British Airways Executive Club to be able search. The link is on the top right of BA.com. Next, you must log in.
Along the left side of the screen after logging in, click on Spending Avios. Several choices will emerge beneath where you clicked. Choose Book Flights with Avios.
On this screen, type in the details of your potential award trip. One trick is that if you’re willing to fly either of two classes, select the higher one. ba.com will always display worse classes with space available if the class you want doesn’t have space.
If you’ve selected a route British Airways flies, a screen will pop up asking if you want a stopover in London. Leave No Stopover selected, and click Continue.
If you’ve queried a route not served by British Airways, you’ll be brought directly to results.
The results are displayed by airline. British Airways is at the top and the rest are ordered alphabetically. You can change the sorting to Total Journey Time in the dropdown menu.
If your day comes back with no results, you can click on the nearby dates one at a time on the results screen or move one week at a time.
To get more info on a flight, click the linked flight number, and a new window will open with pertinent info including the aircraft and flight duration.
To see the price of an award including taxes and fees, select one and click the red Continue button.
If you don’t have enough Avios in your account, you will just be shown the Avios price and dollar amount without a breakdown.
If you do have enough Avios, the price screen looks a bit different.
If you want to book the award you found with Avios, enter your credit card info, and you are all set. If you want to book the itinerary with American Airlines miles–both itineraries above are way better deals with American Airlines miles–note the flight dates, numbers, cabins, and taxes.
American Airlines will charge all the same taxes, but not the fuel surcharges. Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 and feed the agents the flights you found.
ba.com shows space on airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, and S7, which is all of oneworld.