Free First Class Next Month: Searching BA.com to Redeem American Airlines Miles

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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.

LAX-HKG-MNL in First Class price

If you do have enough Avios, the price screen looks a bit different.

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.

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.

Continue to Using Qantas.com to Redeem American Airlines Miles.

14 Responses to Free First Class Next Month: Searching BA.com to Redeem American Airlines Miles

  1. great example! i was just looking for those exact flights to spend AA miles =)

    • I just tried some searches through ba.com and it appears that they may have removed the partner search availability (maybe delta took over their website). Was doing a simple search for cathay flights from JFK to HKG so I know there are routes there for the 8/1 or 10/3 and I checked other dates, but getting no results and no options to check partners. Anyone have ideas here? Or another good way to search cathay availability?

  2. BA does not fly out of my city, but AA does. Should I use AA’s site to book, and if so, how do I book using Avios? Or do I find the AA flights on AA’s site and then call AA (or BA?) to book with Avios? Thanks!

    • To book with Avios, you always contact BA either over the phone or on BA.com. You always book with the airline whose miles you are using.

  3. Followed your instructions step by step. Trying for AA rewards ticket from JFK to BKK on Cathay Pacific but on Ba.com only getting 1 result AA+JAL flight.

    • There must not be space on the Cathay then. Try to search just JFK-HKG to see if that leg has space on Cathay.

  4. Pingback: Singapore Suites Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, and the Lufthansa First Class Terminal on One Trip | milevalue.com

  5. What if I want to book a OW partner using BA or AA miles ? It’s a route served by BA but I want to fly Cathay or Qatar (when it joins). How do I find and book those flights ?

  6. I just tried some searches through ba.com and it appears that they may have removed the partner search availability (maybe delta took over their website). Was doing a simple search for cathay flights from JFK to HKG so I know there are routes there for the 8/1 or 10/3 and I checked other dates, but getting no results and no options to check partners. Anyone have ideas here? Or another good way to search cathay availability?

    • BA.com searches have improved. Partners are searched automatically. You can also search Cathay space on Qantas and JAL’s websites.

      • Thanks so much. Guess all my searches were coming up blank. Appreciate the information. If I missed it somewhere else my apologies.

  7. Got that working. Sorry now have one other follow-up. On BA website it only displays up to Business Class, or is it just that First doesn’t show? Again looking at cathay pacfic, trying to get into that first class cabin.

  8. Pingback: Gold Mine First Class Award Space from United States to Asia | milevalue.com

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