What To Do When American Award Flights Don’t Display On British Airways Site

What To Do When American Award Flights Don’t Display On British Airways Site

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British Airways Executive Club has an extremely lucrative distance based award chart, which can be especially useful for travel within the US on American and US Airways. Assuming you’re looking at traveling nonstop with the lower 48, you’ll pay anywhere between 4,500 and 12,500 Avios one-way, which is a heck of a value. Here’s what their award chart looks like:

Distance in Air Miles
Avios Cost in Economy
Avios Cost in Business
Avios Cost in First
1-650
4,500
9,000
13,500
651-1151
7,500
15,000
22,500
1152-2000
10,000
20,000
30,000
2001-3000
12,500
25,000
37,500
3001-4000
20,000
40,000
60,000
4001-5500
25,000
50,000
75,000
5501-6500
30,000
60,000
90,000
6501-7000
35,000
70,000
105,000
7001-10,000
50,000
100,000
150,000
British Airways Executive Club Award Chart

British Airways has a useful award search tool on their website, and in a vast majority of cases it works well. That’s a good thing, since their call center is absolutely horrible, possibly the worst of any airline. Hold times for making an Avios booking are consistently over an hour.

One issue that’s becoming more and more common is that British Airways’ website isn’t displaying some American award space. When I want to make an Avios booking I always first search space on aa.com, and then once I’ve found it go to British Airways’ website to book. But in some cases British Airways doesn’t display all partner award space.

For example, take a look at award space from Chicago to New York for this coming Friday, August 15:

American-Award-Space-2

As you can see, at least seven flights have economy award space between Chicago and New York LGA, though British Airways’ website only shows four options:

American-Award-Space-1

Unfortunately this is a website glitch that happens most often on high-frequency routes and there’s no way to force that award space to show online. It is possible, however, to book that space over the phone, though it usually requires a long wait time.

Calling the US or UK Executive Club phone numbers is always a pain, so my recommendation is to call the Singapore Executive Club phone number instead, assuming the hours work for you. Their number is +65 6823 2095, and they’re open Monday through Friday from 9AM till 5:30PM. Assuming the hours work for you, that’s definitely the route to go. Their hold times are much shorter, and agents are much friendlier, than what you’d get with the US or UK call centers.

And since I’m a night owl, the hours actually work better for me than the US call center hours, in most cases.

So there’s no trick to forcing the space to display, though there is a trick to making calling more pleasant.

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  1. James Guest

    Still having the problem today. Called BA, no help.

  2. Ned Guest

    I know this was from a while ago but does anyone know if this works for the delay in BA recognising award space. For example AA releases its seats c.10.5 months in advance but BA's system is about a few weeks behind that (showing no availability for this furthest out period)

  3. Matt Vorwald Guest

    Just pulled up flights on AA that show plenty of availability in booking class T (Economy SAAver) for DFW to SAN round trip Mar 3 to Mar 5. However, no space shows available on the BA site. When I called the service line, the rep could only see space bookable on BA for Mar 3, but not Mar 5. I thought if AA showed available space for Economy SAAver awards, it should be bookable on BA. The rep would not elaborate on any availability differences.

  4. jordan whitehead Guest

    2.5 years later and no surprise that BA hasn't fixed the "glitch"

  5. Tom Guest

    Same problem here with Houston.. NOTHING on AA appears on the BA sight out of houston and only a fraction of the US space.... primarily F which is very expensive. VERY frustrating.

  6. Ivan Y Diamond

    As someone who doesn't live in a AA/US hub, this issue is hugely annoying as it can mess up 1+ stop(s) routings. First reported it here when BA changed their system to include US Airways flights -- all Houston (IAH or HOU)DFW flights disappeared completely (not just missing SOME -- missing ALL flights) and only flights on US Airways would appears (e.g. IAH-CLT-DFW).

    Sent them a message and a month or two later it...

    As someone who doesn't live in a AA/US hub, this issue is hugely annoying as it can mess up 1+ stop(s) routings. First reported it here when BA changed their system to include US Airways flights -- all Houston (IAH or HOU)DFW flights disappeared completely (not just missing SOME -- missing ALL flights) and only flights on US Airways would appears (e.g. IAH-CLT-DFW).

    Sent them a message and a month or two later it got fixed; was able to see space to DFW (and, at least for the dates I had been looking, BA.com availability matched AA.com).

    However, was searching for IAH-MIA flights on AA and nothing appears again even though AA.com shows a ton of availability for this nonstop route. Disappointing :( Perhaps too much space causes BA computers to fail :P

  7. Bob Guest

    I am taking my son to Fenway Park for our first time on Sept 6 (BNA-BOS) and returning September 8th (BOS-BNA). When I checked AA.com I saw SEVERAL low level flights available that I SHOULD be able to use Avios points on, so I went ahead and bought Red Sox tickets. I had already seen that BA.com was not showing availability for any of these low level AA flights but thought it was just a...

    I am taking my son to Fenway Park for our first time on Sept 6 (BNA-BOS) and returning September 8th (BOS-BNA). When I checked AA.com I saw SEVERAL low level flights available that I SHOULD be able to use Avios points on, so I went ahead and bought Red Sox tickets. I had already seen that BA.com was not showing availability for any of these low level AA flights but thought it was just a glitch and that I would (regretfully) have to call BA's phone center to book it. Well, I just called and they told me that not all low level AA flights are bookable through Avios points and that I was essentially out of luck :( I already have game tickets and hotel reservations and any help, thoughts, ideas, etc would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks!

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Bob -- If the space is actually available with American it should also be available through British Airways. I'd recommend either waiting a day or so as there might be a system lag, or calling again.

    2. ben Guest

      @Bob I'd try calling BA again. Some of the flights are operated by US so you might specifically ask the BA agent to check US and US / AA combined itineraries.

  8. purcitron Guest

    @lucky
    cost of international phone call?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ purcitron -- A couple of cents if you're using Google Voice or Skype.

  9. Chris Guest

    @ Steve -- Just saw milevalue's post on this issue and your subsequent comment. Looks like not just phantom space going on here.

    ... the plot thickens

  10. Chris Guest

    @ Stephen @ lucky -- Think this is an issue with AA.com showing "phantom award space." If you actually try to book the DCA-MSY award ticket on AA.com you'll get the following error:

    "The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request."

    So BA.com and Qantas aren't displaying the award space because it isn't actually available. I'm having the same issue searching for DCA-ALB. Maybe just an issue with USAirways flights from...

    @ Stephen @ lucky -- Think this is an issue with AA.com showing "phantom award space." If you actually try to book the DCA-MSY award ticket on AA.com you'll get the following error:

    "The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request."

    So BA.com and Qantas aren't displaying the award space because it isn't actually available. I'm having the same issue searching for DCA-ALB. Maybe just an issue with USAirways flights from DCA?

    (lucky pardon me while I mention another blog). I've had good luck setting alerts using Wandering Aramean's OneWorld Alerts tool. Yearly membership is well worth it to snag those seats without checking every day!!!

  11. SkiCO Guest

    @Iva...really. We can't share this here? Its not clearly on FT.

  12. Ivan Guest

    there actually is a trick to display all of the space and I think you know it... lets not spill all the secrets : )

  13. Pat Guest

    Thanks for the advice. But how does one call Singapore without a large phone cost? I don't normally call overseas so I'm not sure how to do that in the least expensive way.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Pat -- If you call through Skype or Google Voice it should only be a few cents per minute.

  14. Stephen Guest

    Any tips for getting the BAEC reps to see saver award space available on USAirways.com or AA.com? HUCA did not work unfortunately: I got the same answer from BAEC of "no award availability" and "just because it is on AA.com or US.com, does not mean it is available for us to book."

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Stephen -- That's odd. What route are you looking at?

    2. Stephen Guest

      @lucky DCA-MSY 3/12/15-3/15/15 and DCA-BTV 12/24/14-12/28/14.

    3. lucky OMAAT

      @ Stephen -- Very odd that they can't see it. Maybe wait a day or two and call back? Otherwise might just be some weird glitch.

  15. Penny Guest

    Great post! Quick question to make sure I understand the tip about the Singapore call center. Is it permissible for US based BA members ( without status at BA) to use the Singapore call center to book flights on Alaska or Aer Lingus using avios for flights originating in US? I've been hesitant to use the us/uk call center because of the bad press and it would be nice to have a more pleasant alternative. Many thanks and have a nice trip in ICELAND.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ penny -- Yep, sure can!

  16. Ben Guest

    Lucky, slight correction, with Avios we pay on a distance basis for most, but not all routes. For example, BOS-DCA and BOS-PHL-DCA are both under 650 miles, but BA charges 4,500 miles for the former one-way in Y and 9,000 for the latter one-way in Y. Do you know if this is the result of additional routing rules on awards, a glitch, or otherwise?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Ben -- They charge you on a per segment basis. So since each segment is under 650 miles, they charge you 4,500 Avios per segment.

    2. Ben Guest

      @lucky - right. thanks for the correction. there are many Avios sweet spots but this definitely not one of them.

  17. herbertgzb Guest

    Worked like a charm. It's singapore accent English and they had difficulties hearing me but they waived the booking fee since I am just booking a simple route...

  18. Matt B Guest

    @4Health, you might want to try booking as separate one-ways rather than a round trip. I've run into problems where flights are AA non-stop one way and US non-stop the other, but the combination of different carriers seems to trigger higher cost. Have found that splitting into separate one-ways tends to solve the problem.

  19. 4Health Guest

    Do you know what is going on with the BA website? I am attempting to book SFO to LAX on an AA/US air flight and it is pricing out at 15k each way per person.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ 4Health -- Hmmm, haven't had that issue, and just tried making a booking and got the correct fare quote. When were you looking at?

  20. Ryan K Guest

    Hi Ben,

    I think this may be more common on routes with many daily flights. I commonly it on BOS-LGA where US Airways has a bazillion daily flights. It is usually the flights towards the end of the day that get cropped off. It's almost like the BA algorithm amasses a certain number of results and then call it quits. "Meh, good enough."

    That said, I haven't had any issue getting the BA phone agents...

    Hi Ben,

    I think this may be more common on routes with many daily flights. I commonly it on BOS-LGA where US Airways has a bazillion daily flights. It is usually the flights towards the end of the day that get cropped off. It's almost like the BA algorithm amasses a certain number of results and then call it quits. "Meh, good enough."

    That said, I haven't had any issue getting the BA phone agents to waive the fee it's the phone call itself that I dread more than anything else.

    Good to know about the Singapore number...the last time I was in a jam with BA I think I called Tajikistan or something equally absurd!

    Cheers,
    Ryan

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Ryan K -- Indeed, this issue happens when there are lots of frequencies, but also otherwise as well, unfortunately.

  21. James W Guest

    I was having a similar issue with qatar space from dxb-doh (connecting to 787 business class :D ) except it was showing up just wouldn't book online. I am a night owl myself and ended up calling the hong kong call center. Not only were wait times not an issue their english was flawless (as you would expect from an ex-british holding). I wasn't aware of the singapore call center so I will add that to my list.

  22. Herbertgzb Guest

    Wow, i literally am having this issue right now and i tried calling ba us line like 20 hours today. Not even going through!
    Thanks!

  23. Nick Guest

    What other partners don't they display correctly?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Nick -- American and US Airways? In my experience Qantas and JAL show them correctly, so not sure there are any others that have issues.

  24. byron Guest

    Do they charge extra to book over the phone?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ byron -- There is a phone booking fee, but they'll usually waive it if you explain it can't be booked online.

  25. Erik Guest

    Does BA charge the award flights via segments? I just booked AUS-DRO (~900 air miles) and was charged 12,000 avios one-way - I assume his was 4,500 avios for AUS-DFW and 7,500 avios DFW-DRO, which is where the 12,000 avios comes from, I guess? Or should it be just the total mileage air mileage of the city pairs and only 7,500 avios total for each one-way?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Erik -- With BA Avios you pay on a per segment basis.

  26. Nick M Guest

    What impeccable timing! Tried calling the US number today....got hold times of 45+, 65+, and then busy signals. Called the Singapore number and the agent picked up right after I pressed 1 to book a flight!!

    On another note....I tried booking an Alaska Airlines flight from LAX-SEA....operated by AS, not AA.....and there is availability on AA at the saver level, but BA is saying that it is completely booked. What gives? Any tips? Thanks!

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Nick M -- They should have access to identical space. I'd suggest hanging up and calling again.

  27. stvr Guest

    I've had phone agents unable to see the space until you clearly describe the problem like you do here. Then a light bulb goes off in their heads and they figure out a workaround in their system. DO NOT book a different flight and then think the change flight screen will bail you out. It won't.

  28. Stephen Guest

    What I usually do is book the space that is available on BA's site, even on an earlier flight. Then, I'll call up and ask to change within 24 hours. Saves the time of having to set up the whole booking over the phone. Instead, they just make the change and re-issue the ticket without a fee.

  29. Kevin Guest

    I'm having the opposite problems which happened twice this week, saw US Airways availability for a flight from ORD - PHL (and was bookable, confirmed with BA) but AA.com or USAirways.com wasn't showing it and wasn't bookable by AA agents.

    Frustrating because I planned out everything on BA and this last flight not being available screwed up everything.

  30. Angelina New Member

    Thanks for posting this! I literally asked my friend this question 5 minutes before you posted this. I am also going to ORD from NY tomorrow and had the same issue. Called the Singapore office (thanks!) and was ticketed in 6 minutes.

  31. Steve Guest

    Called BAEC 2x today to try and get around the "glitch" which I am thinking is more reality now (BA has limited access to US/AA award space). Example: DCA-MSY RT on US is wide open in Y for the weekend I am trying to travel (four flights per day Friday and Sunday) but the BAEC call center availability was the same as the website.

  32. Daniel Guest

    Do they waive the phone booking fee since their website doesn't show the space?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Daniel -- You can request they do and they often will.

  33. Jeff R Guest

    This is a fantastic tip - thank you! (My usual reason to have to call is to book Avios tickets on Alaska - I assume these agents in Singapore can do that as well.)

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

James Guest

Still having the problem today. Called BA, no help.

0
Ned Guest

I know this was from a while ago but does anyone know if this works for the delay in BA recognising award space. For example AA releases its seats c.10.5 months in advance but BA's system is about a few weeks behind that (showing no availability for this furthest out period)

0
Matt Vorwald Guest

Just pulled up flights on AA that show plenty of availability in booking class T (Economy SAAver) for DFW to SAN round trip Mar 3 to Mar 5. However, no space shows available on the BA site. When I called the service line, the rep could only see space bookable on BA for Mar 3, but not Mar 5. I thought if AA showed available space for Economy SAAver awards, it should be bookable on BA. The rep would not elaborate on any availability differences.

0
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