How To Find AA Record Locator For BA Avios Ticket

How To Find AA Record Locator For BA Avios Ticket

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Redeeming British Airways Avios for travel on American Airlines is a popular award redemption, given British Airwyas Executive Club’s distance based award chart. These awards can be a great deal, especially for domestic and short haul international travel. On top of that, British Airways Avios are easy to come by, as British Airways partners with most major transferable points currencies.

In this post I wanted to address a couple of frequent questions that people have when booking these awards. How do you manage your reservation on American’s website, and how can you add your AAdvantage number to your reservation?

How to find American Airlines locator through British Airways

When you ticket an award through British Airways Executive Club, you’ll get a confirmation code. If you then go to American Airlines’ website and try to enter it, you’ll get an error message. That’s because the two airlines use different reservations platforms — American uses Sabre, while British Airways uses Amadeus.

Fortunately finding your American Airlines locator is quite easy. Once you’ve ticketed your reservation, go to the “Manage My Booking” portion on ba.com, to manage your reservation. Once there, go to the “Change seats” section.

“Manage My Booking” on ba.com

There you’ll see that the flight is operated by American Airlines, and you’ll see a button that says “View or change seats for this flight.”

“Change seats” section on ba.com

Once you click that, scroll down, and you’ll see both the “BA booking reference” and “American Airlines reference” listed.

Where the American Airlines locator shows on ba.com

Once you’ve noted the six digit American Airlines locator, go to the “Manage trips” section of aa.com, and you can access your itinerary with your last name and confirmation code.

Access your reservation on aa.com

This is useful since it allows you to select seats, add any travel requests, and even check-in online 24 hours before departure.

How to add AAdvantage number to British Airways Avios booking

Understandably you might want to add your American AAdvantage number to your reservation, especially if you have elite status, like Executive PlatinumPlatinum Pro, Platinum, or Gold. The catch is that if you’re booking a ticket for yourself with British Airways Avios, your Executive Club number will automatically be on the reservation. Then when you go to American’s website, there will be no way to remove it.

Fortunately there’s a trick. When you’re at first booking your ticket with Avios, make sure you remove the Executive Club number when entering the passenger details.

Avios award booking process on ba.com

For what it’s worth, this is also automatically removed when you select “No” to the answer of whether the payment card holder is traveling on the booking.

Avios award booking process on ba.com

If you forget to do this during the booking process, worry not, as there’s another workaround. Visit the website of oneworld member Royal Jordanian (rj.com), and go to the “Manage My Booking” section. Enter your last name and British Airways record locator.

“Manage My Booking” on rj.com

Then you should be on the itinerary mangement page, so select the “Modify traveller details” button.

“Manage My Booking” on rj.com

Then on the next page you should be able to change your frequent flyer number.

“Manage My Booking” on rj.com

Now, there are always some questions about whether you can use AAdvantage elite perks on a British Airways award booking. Back in 2018, American’s terms & conditions stated the following:

“You cannot redeem partner airline miles with your partner frequent flyer number and obtain AAdvantage program benefits such as priority boarding and access to preferred seats.”

This has since been removed, so I don’t believe this is the case anymore. You might still get some agents who say it isn’t possible, but if you’re able to self-serve your reservation, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Bottom line

If you redeem British Airways Avios for a flight on American Airlines, you’ll need a different confirmation code to manage your reservation on aa.com. Fortunately this is easy to find on ba.com, in the section for choosing seats. Also, do what you can to leave the field with your Executive Club number empty, assuming you want to add your AAdvantage number to the reservation. If you forget to do that, you can easily change it on rj.com

What has your experience been with managing British Airways Avios tickets for travel on American?

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  1. Cha Guest

    Seems like BA/AA changed the process recently so now the BA record locator is needed instead of the AA one. But otherwise, the usual route of using Finnair (which I like better because their site is nice) or Royal Jordinian to boop BA Executive Club off and add AAdvantage on works!

    I can also say I've done this on two domestic flights now and my credit card benefits have worked. Might be heavily flexing...

    Seems like BA/AA changed the process recently so now the BA record locator is needed instead of the AA one. But otherwise, the usual route of using Finnair (which I like better because their site is nice) or Royal Jordinian to boop BA Executive Club off and add AAdvantage on works!

    I can also say I've done this on two domestic flights now and my credit card benefits have worked. Might be heavily flexing the program terms but the card and the Avios redemptions are the only thing keeping me flying AA.

  2. Lori Guest

    I’m a bit new to miles transfers. Thinking I could book a flight on American and pay for it with Avios, since it’s operated by BA. I went ahead and held the booking.
    British Airways said it’s not possible to pay for a flight that I saved on AA,
    (AA gave me a record locator for AA and BA) though I read all over the web that it is possible, Unless I’m misunderstanding..

    I’m a bit new to miles transfers. Thinking I could book a flight on American and pay for it with Avios, since it’s operated by BA. I went ahead and held the booking.
    British Airways said it’s not possible to pay for a flight that I saved on AA,
    (AA gave me a record locator for AA and BA) though I read all over the web that it is possible, Unless I’m misunderstanding..
    When BA said no I can’t pay for that booking with my Avios, I started searching for similar flights on BA. I narrowed one down, and Funny thing is, once my points were transferred into my acct on BA, the taxes went up $400 for the flight I was searching.
    Though when hubs searched the same itinerary, (we logged in at the exact same time) his taxes were $400 less. (He has no points)
    Then, each subsequent time we both logged in, same thing. His acct showed taxes to be $400 less than mine every time we tried it. . I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

  3. Dennis Guest

    I have used BA avois to book a Qantas economy award between Sydney and Melbourne added my AAnumber as I’m platinum and gotten free checked bags no problem.

  4. Peter Guest

    Related topics, any similar trick to find Turkish record locator with the Avianca Lifemiles booking?

  5. Nathan Guest

    How do I find the AA ticket number for a BA Avios booking?

  6. Liz Guest

    I found this post extremely helpful as I was on hold to American trying to change from BA FF# to AA FF#. I was able to do it via the chat in the app which was much quicker than waiting for them to pick up.

    Thanks for all you do!

  7. AD Diamond

    @Ben this is super helpful. It would be great if you have info on how to do the same when booking with other partners. Does the RJ trick work for booking on all oneworld airlines? Say, to add my AA number to a BA reservation?

  8. Boise Ding Guest

    OMG, thank you Ben for the RJ trick to add my aadvantage number! This saved so much headache to call BA instead!!

  9. IrishAlan Diamond

    If you have a BA Household account the easiest way around this is to add a second profile in your name to your household account and leave the FF number field blank. It has worked well for me.

  10. dimitka Guest

    I use different trick. I go to Finnair website and enter British record locator. They will allow to enter AA account number in addition to British

  11. Jake212 Guest

    This article is beyond cringe. Pumping out content for content & SEO sake and using tons of filler words to build out an “article.”

    Do better Ben/Lucky or your luck is going to run out quickly as your traffic base declines.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jake202 -- I'm sorry, what? The real motivation for this post is that earlier today I booked my first AA ticket using Avios in quite some time. The methods I used to use to access itineraries on aa.com for these bookings no longer worked. So I decided to share my experience, because this is information I would have found useful when I was trying to figure out the best way to find the locator.

      ...

      @ Jake202 -- I'm sorry, what? The real motivation for this post is that earlier today I booked my first AA ticket using Avios in quite some time. The methods I used to use to access itineraries on aa.com for these bookings no longer worked. So I decided to share my experience, because this is information I would have found useful when I was trying to figure out the best way to find the locator.

      Honestly, if you think I'm trying to pump out content for SEO sake, don't you think this is a bit niche? Like, what am I going after, 0.0001% of travelers here? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to pump out SEO content for something that's either more widely useful or that I can monetize?

      Sorry you don't appreciate this post, but please don't mischaracterize my intentions. Maybe not every post is interesting to you, and that's fine. But you don't need to insult me/suggest my blog is going to have no more traffic because you don't personally find this post to be valuable.

    2. backpacktrot Guest

      Thank you Ben. It just happened that I also recently used my BA Avios on an AA-award LAX-YVR ticket for December, but found myself no longer able to use just last name and AA flight number to display the PNR on AA.com. The thought of having to go on a long phone hold to reach AA just for this (in order to gain the slight advantage of entering my AA Gold number to access AA's...

      Thank you Ben. It just happened that I also recently used my BA Avios on an AA-award LAX-YVR ticket for December, but found myself no longer able to use just last name and AA flight number to display the PNR on AA.com. The thought of having to go on a long phone hold to reach AA just for this (in order to gain the slight advantage of entering my AA Gold number to access AA's slightly advantageous Gold seat inventory) led to to shelf the matter already for two weeks--until you published this most timely article. :)

    3. Not an Idiot Guest

      Ridiculous comment. I didn’t know how to do any of this until I read this article. Ben is providing useful information.

    4. GBOAC Diamond

      @Jake212:
      I have no idea what you are referring to. And based on the reaction from the rest of the folks leaving positive comments on this post, your comment is beyond cringe.

  12. Peter Guest

    I also copy my ticket number from my BA confirmation email. On AA Phone app under “Find trip”, paste that ticket number in the “Record Locator / ticket or credit number” field.

    I then “manage trip” and add my AA FF#, checking that my TSA number etc is there (also for other passenger). Select seats and done.

    1. Peter Guest

      The AA Phone app under “Upcoming trips” will list both the AA and BA booking Ref numbers. I noticed this for Qatar, Japan Airlines and Etihad flights.

      I noticed when Booking through Aeroplan and Avianca that the code was the same as airline I was flying on.

      Booking ANA for United (like BA for AA), I recall hunting through a kanji heavy email for a 6 character code.

      On the flip side if booking through...

      The AA Phone app under “Upcoming trips” will list both the AA and BA booking Ref numbers. I noticed this for Qatar, Japan Airlines and Etihad flights.

      I noticed when Booking through Aeroplan and Avianca that the code was the same as airline I was flying on.

      Booking ANA for United (like BA for AA), I recall hunting through a kanji heavy email for a 6 character code.

      On the flip side if booking through AA or Alaska, they supply the other booking code up front.

      Don’t recall a summary article on this stuff.

    2. D. Guest

      This way has never worked for me. I always have to go the finnair route.

  13. MDflyer Guest

    On a related topic -- my wife's British Airways Avios booking on 2024 Qatar Airlines flights via DOHA was caught up in the QR swap of their PHL-DOH route to American Airlines for a JFK-DOH route. I have a booking on the same flights booked with cash via AMEX Travel. After the route swap, my PHL-DOH flights were automatically changed from QR to AA (with QR codeshare numbers). My wife's reservation was cancelled by BA....

    On a related topic -- my wife's British Airways Avios booking on 2024 Qatar Airlines flights via DOHA was caught up in the QR swap of their PHL-DOH route to American Airlines for a JFK-DOH route. I have a booking on the same flights booked with cash via AMEX Travel. After the route swap, my PHL-DOH flights were automatically changed from QR to AA (with QR codeshare numbers). My wife's reservation was cancelled by BA. QR says it's not their problem as the booking reference number is not in their system. BA says they have a relationship with QR but not AA. AA declined to get involved, even though I am exec plat, again because of unrecognized booking reference numbers. This has gone through three or four cycles with each airline with no resolution.

    1. Phillip Diamond

      This does surprise me because for all their sins BA tend to be helpful when it comes to partner redemption issues. I’d go back to BA and ask what their re-protection policy is. This is normally issued by the operating airline (in this case Qatar). If Qatar then allow swaps to specific flights, BA are happy to follow them. But not all agents are sighted to the specific policies. Have they offered you any alternative...

      This does surprise me because for all their sins BA tend to be helpful when it comes to partner redemption issues. I’d go back to BA and ask what their re-protection policy is. This is normally issued by the operating airline (in this case Qatar). If Qatar then allow swaps to specific flights, BA are happy to follow them. But not all agents are sighted to the specific policies. Have they offered you any alternative other than cancellation? Or is it that the alternative is not what you want, to tie in with your second booking? They would at the very least put you on BA flights to Doha via London (agreed, not ideal).

      Also, out of curiosity, is there a reason your wife didn’t make the Avios booking via QR given that it’s QR flights?

    2. MDflyer Guest

      BA has been very difficult to contact -- only about one in three calls goes through; the others get a 'too busy" message or are automatically terminated after a wait on hold. Three separate 15-20 minute conversations with different BA avios customer service reps (and purportedly their supervisory staff) approximately weekly have yielded only one non-negotiable offer which is refund of avios. Qatar Airlines told my AMEX travel agent that they had not (as of...

      BA has been very difficult to contact -- only about one in three calls goes through; the others get a 'too busy" message or are automatically terminated after a wait on hold. Three separate 15-20 minute conversations with different BA avios customer service reps (and purportedly their supervisory staff) approximately weekly have yielded only one non-negotiable offer which is refund of avios. Qatar Airlines told my AMEX travel agent that they had not (as of two weeks ago) finalized recharacterization of the QA to AA route swap and that this might not happen until Oct 29. I am thus forced to try to reach BA periodically to see if things have changed.

      Six months ago when I made the initial avios booking, the Qatar Airlines website was very slow and froze frequently. The BA avios site in contrast was quite easy to use and the booking seemed to be in order until the route swap in August.

  14. jdink Member

    I have 2 RT tickets booked and followed your instructions- still don’t see th AA recloc. It’s easier just to call American to get it!

    1. Phillip Diamond

      If you actually click on the option to change your seats, the BA website will re-direct you to the AA website and log you in automatically where you can see the AA record locator.

    2. Scott Katsinas Guest

      Hi Phillip & Ben,

      I booked AA First Class using Avois. BA automatically assigned seats.

      Sounds great, but on the off-chance that seats are assigned, the CHANGE SEATS option does not function.

      Any work-around?

  15. Charles Guest

    Off topic but related.. would be great if you had experience booking qatar avios on short haul AA flights (eg 6000). I hit some challenges.. first couldn’t see anything until I transferred some avios. More disappointing.. it looks like AA flights operated by republic airlines don’t show. So back to ba at 7500. But was looking forward to my first qatar booking and seeing if you have to do the same royal Jordanian or finnair...

    Off topic but related.. would be great if you had experience booking qatar avios on short haul AA flights (eg 6000). I hit some challenges.. first couldn’t see anything until I transferred some avios. More disappointing.. it looks like AA flights operated by republic airlines don’t show. So back to ba at 7500. But was looking forward to my first qatar booking and seeing if you have to do the same royal Jordanian or finnair trick to get the aadvantage number in. I’ll await your experience.

    1. Peter Guest

      Had similar issue last week(also my first try using QR miles for AA).
      Interesting observation. I’ll retry to see if these are Republic Airlines operated.

    2. Peter Guest

      For this Qatar 12.5k Avios business award for AA flights under 650mi, I checked some from DFW. All had award availability on BA.

      Could book DFW to BNA, STL, DEN & ABQ but NOT to SAF, MRY or VPS.

      SAF flights operated by Sky West as American Eagle but MRY & VPS appear to be via AA. Same results on Qatar phone app as desktop. Have not tried to call to book.

  16. Reyyan Diamond

    If you overlooked updating your frequent flyer number when booking an Avios ticket and still have your BA Exec club linked, you can modify it on the Royal Jordanian website. This method has consistently worked for me!

  17. Mapoosi Ann Makrak Guest

    Do you have any reviews of BA’s intra-Europe business class? This looks like such a fantastic product, one of the best in the world.

    1. PHXFlyer Guest

      It reminded me of First Class on domestic flights in the US. Most (maybe all) intra European Business Class consists of having the center seat blocked on each Business Class row. So it's the same seats as coach, but with nobody sitting directly next to you. But I found the food and service very enjoyable but would not pay a whole lot extra for it.

  18. Tom Guest

    You say, "Also, do what you can to leave the field with your Executive Club number empty, assuming you want to add your AAdvantage number to the reservation." For me, this is critical since AA's system then adds the trip to "Manage Trips," which makes checking in and dealing with the reservation easier all the way around.

  19. Al Guest

    YOU can give your BA confirmation to AA via the APP Chat and customer service will give you your AA confirmation, literally take 2 minutes

    1. Lynn Guest

      I’ve found the AA Twitter team does this very quickly also.

  20. sk9879 Guest

    Getting the AA record locator attached to the booking (the second step mentioned above) is also necessary to get your free checked bag(s) if you are an AAdvantage credit card holder. If you simply get the AA locator from BA and then use that at the AA site, you will be able to find your reservation, get seats, etc.; however, unless you attach the locator to the booking, you won't automatically get your free bags...

    Getting the AA record locator attached to the booking (the second step mentioned above) is also necessary to get your free checked bag(s) if you are an AAdvantage credit card holder. If you simply get the AA locator from BA and then use that at the AA site, you will be able to find your reservation, get seats, etc.; however, unless you attach the locator to the booking, you won't automatically get your free bags and will have to submit a claim after your trip, which can be a major pain (a family member of mine had so much hassle they finally gave up and ate the bag cost). Attaching the AA locator to the reservation is also necessary to automatically get your TSA Precheck number on the ticket (assuming you have a precheck number in your AA profile). I have never tried the step mentioned here (i.e., removing your BA FF number from the reservation at the BA site), but you can also call AA customer service to get the locator linked before you check-in.

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Not an Idiot Guest

Ridiculous comment. I didn’t know how to do any of this until I read this article. Ben is providing useful information.

4
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Jake202 -- I'm sorry, what? The real motivation for this post is that earlier today I booked my first AA ticket using Avios in quite some time. The methods I used to use to access itineraries on aa.com for these bookings no longer worked. So I decided to share my experience, because this is information I would have found useful when I was trying to figure out the best way to find the locator. Honestly, if you think I'm trying to pump out content for SEO sake, don't you think this is a bit niche? Like, what am I going after, 0.0001% of travelers here? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to pump out SEO content for something that's either more widely useful or that I can monetize? Sorry you don't appreciate this post, but please don't mischaracterize my intentions. Maybe not every post is interesting to you, and that's fine. But you don't need to insult me/suggest my blog is going to have no more traffic because you don't personally find this post to be valuable.

2
Cha Guest

Seems like BA/AA changed the process recently so now the BA record locator is needed instead of the AA one. But otherwise, the usual route of using Finnair (which I like better because their site is nice) or Royal Jordinian to boop BA Executive Club off and add AAdvantage on works! I can also say I've done this on two domestic flights now and my credit card benefits have worked. Might be heavily flexing the program terms but the card and the Avios redemptions are the only thing keeping me flying AA.

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