One of the main reasons why people who don’t know how miles work think that miles are a scam is because they searched award space in the wrong place! For instance, they wanted to use American Airlines miles and searched AA.com. While that sounds logical, that’s often the wrong place to search. BA.com is often the better place to search.
Knowing how to use BA.com is crucial for making award bookings with British Airways Avios and American Airlines AAdvantage miles. As I noted in Where to Search Award Space for All American Airlines Partners, there are many AA partners that are searchable on ba.com but not aa.com.
BA.com shows space on airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7, SriLankan, and TAM, which is all of Oneworld. Note that BA.com does not show its non-Oneworld partners like Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines.
How Do You Search BA.com for Award Availability?
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.
After logging in, you will be taken to a page that displays your account information. Along the left side of the screen is a box with a drop down menu where you must select “Book with Avios.”
Directly below this box is another box where you type in the details of your potential award trip. The Class dropdown doesn’t matter much because award space in three cabins is shown on the results screen. Segment-by-segment searching is often the best way to yield positive results.
If you’ve selected a route British Airways flies, a screen will pop up asking if you want a stopover. Always select “no.” Because of the way Avios awards price, there is never an advantage to booking a stopover.
Once you select “no” or 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 tab at the top of 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, bubble in the class you want to fly in.
The price in Avios plus the cost of all taxes/fees/fuel surcharges will be displayed in red. Underneath will be a link to see more pricing options if you would like to pay fewer Avios in exchange for more cash.
For more information and analysis on Cash & Avios options available on Avios award bookings, see Cash & Avios Analysis.
The old version of BA.com used to show you price breakdown of the dollar amount, but the updated site does not. You can put your desired award flight info into ITA Matrix for those details instead. Read this prior post to learn how to use ITA matrix to view and translate the price breakdown of a ticket.
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, note the flight dates, numbers, cabins, and taxes. Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 and feed the agents the flights you found.