Recently, I received a question from a reader named Paul who asked me about searching for domestic flights using British Airways Avios. British Airways has fantastic short-haul mileage awards that can cost as low as 4,500 miles for a one way ticket. To read more about the benefits of British Airways Avios and how to do an award search on their website, click here.

Paul was having trouble finding availability for flights with oneworld alliance partners such as American Airlines and US Airways on British Airways’ website. Often times, British Airways will fail to show flight availability for many routes that can actually be booked through British Airways in order to utilize their mileage based award chart and use less points than booking directly with American Airlines or US Airways.

As long as there is availabiltiy being shown on American Airlines’ website for the flight of your chance in the Economy MileSAAver award category, then the flight should be bookable on British Airways’ website. For example: I searched for a flight from San Diego to Salt Lake City on American Airlines’ website and found plenty of Economy MileSAAver availability but could not find those same flights through British Airways’ website.

San Diego to Salt Lake City with availability in AA's Economy MileSAAver category

San Diego to Salt Lake City with availability in AA’s Economy MileSAAver category

But when I look for that same flight on BA's website I don't see any availability

But when I look for that same flight on BA’s website I don’t see any availability

If British Airways isn’t showing availability, it could be for 2 reasons and you should call British Airways for either reason and book over the phone and ask them to waive the booking fee.

  1. The flight is either not being shown because the date is too far out or there is a mistake on BA’s part for not giving you the option to book the flight on their website.
  2. The flight is run by Alaska Airlines which can be booked by British Airways, but you have to call them in order to book.

Alaska Airlines has flights from San Diego to Maui for 40,000 points roundtrip in their lowest mileage category, but the same flights can be booked through British Airways by calling in for only 25,000 points roundtrip! Thanks for the question Paul!

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