On Monday, I wrote about US Airways and TAM joining the oneworld alliance. That meant that US Airways and TAM flights were now bookable with British Airways Avios, a founding member of oneworld.

In the renewed interest in searching ba.com for award flights, there were some hiccups that people noted in the comments. Often the best way to plan an Avios award is to search aa.com, and then when you find the award space you want, go to ba.com to book it.

AA.com and ba.com didn’t seem to be matching up in the availability that you could book. See these two comments:

Scott, one example [where aa.com and ba.com don’t match] is DFW-HNL, 12-7 to 12-12 (My hub is DFW). AA shows availability. I see availability on the outgoing but not the incoming on BA.

and

So, I tried AA.COM to find one ways from PHX – OGG. For example, PHX-OGG 9/9/14 (or any that week) show available Economy MileSAAver Off Peak. BA.COM shows no flights available.

Why doesn’t ba.com show the same availability as aa.com?

There are two times when ba.com won’t match aa.com on Saver availability. One of the times, you can call British Airways to book the missing award space, and the other time you are out of luck.

What are the two times that ba.com won’t show the same Saver award space as aa.com?

American Airlines and British Airways are both in the oneworld alliance, so they share all their oneworld partners including now TAM and US Airways.

But each airline also has other partners from outside the alliance. For instance American partners with Etihad, Hawaiian, and Alaska. British Airways partners with Alaska too, but not Etihad and Hawaiian.

All oneworld Saver award space that displays on aa.com will display on ba.com also. But space from AA’s other partners will not.

For instance, in the first comment above, a reader saw award space at the Saver level from Dallas to Honolulu roundtrip on aa.com, but ba.com showed nothing for the return.

Mismatch #1: Hawaiian Airlines (no solution)

His problem was that the return on aa.com included a flight on Hawaiian Airlines, which is not a partner of British Airways Avios.

This is what he saw. “HA 6” means Hawaiian flight 6.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.47.42 AM

On the same day, ba.com shows no award space because British Airways doesn’t partner with Hawaiian.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.48.30 AM

The second commenter above had the same problem on his September 9 search of award space from Phoenix to Maui. It brought up an itinerary that included a Hawaiian Airlines flight, so ba.com didn’t have access to the itinerary.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.49.32 AM
HA 33 is operated by Hawaiian, which is not an Avios partner.

If the only award space you see on aa.com is with Hawaiian Airlines, and all you have are Avios, you are out of luck.

Mismatch #2 Alaska Airlines (call British Airways)

Another partner of American Airlines that is not displayed on ba.com is Alaska Airlines.

Imagine you searched for space from San Diego to Lihue, Kauai on January 20, 2015 on aa.com. This Alaska Airlines flight would show up with Saver economy space.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.50.41 AM

Unfortunately BA.com doesn’t display Alaska Airlines flights, so this itinerary doesn’t show up at ba.com.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.51.57 AM

But as I noted above, British Airways does partner with Alaska Airlines, so you can call British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS and request the flight by number. The agent will see the space and charge you 12,500 British Airways Avios to book it.

Recap

When you search aa.com and find Saver award space, ba.com will have access to all the same oneworld space.

BA.com will not display Hawaiian or Alaska award space that you find on aa.com.

Hawaiian is not a British Airways partner, so Avios can’t be used to book its flights.

Alaska is a British Airways partner. You can call 800-AIRWAYS to book Alaska award space you find on aa.com.


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