Free First Class Next Month 4.0: Searching BA.com to Find oneworld Award Availability

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This is the seventeenth 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 Using AA.com to Search for Awards.

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.

How do you search BA.com?

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. Since the changes made to ba.com a few weeks ago, the Class dropdown doesn’t matter because award space in all cabins is shown together.

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.

I always select Continue without selecting a Stopover because I never am searching for longhaul British Airways flights on ba.com. 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. Next are direct flights on any airlines. Finally, connecting itineraries are shown.

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.

The price will be displayed, usually with several options where you can pay fewer Avios in exchange for more cash. Grayed out options mean your account doesn’t have enough Avios for that option. The account used to take the screen shot below has fewer than 105,000 Avios.

For more information and analysis on Cash & Avios options available on Avios award bookings, see this Cash & Avios Analysis.

If you want a price breakdown of the dollar amount, click the small “i” highlighted in red below.

If you click on the little “i” icon, you will see how the cash component of the award breaks down. This is how the $311 in addition to the Avios needed to get from LAX to Budapest breaks down: $258 in fuel surcharges plus $53 in taxes.

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. BA.com doesn’t show its non-oneworld partners like Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines.


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46 COMMENTS

  1. I currently have a one-way CX First Class award on hold: BOM-HKG-LAX with a 4 hour layover in HKG. AA is pricing this award at 112,500 miles while I think it should be priced at 90,000. All the reps I spoke to said 90,000 is only for flights through Europe (e.g. BOM-LHR-LAX). Is this true? I thought AA didn’t charge by segment. Any suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks,
    Hitesh

  2. I am new to award booking. Do I need to have miles transferred into my account before calling American Airlines to book an award flight, or will they hold the reservation until I transfer miles into my account? Thanks.

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