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Get up to 4 times better when you book an American Airlines award flight with British Airways Avios

American Airlines is one of the largest and most famous airlines in the world. However, when you book award tickets on AA, don’t automatically assume that your AAdvantage account will be the best loyalty program to use. Did you know that you can Book American Airlines flights on partner airlines? And that it can cost you fewer miles?

As British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, members of the British Airways Executive Club can redeem Avios, BA’s loyalty currency, on partner airlines; this includes American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Since you can transfer most credit card points to British Airways, it’s worth considering which program to book with.

Here are some situations where it might make sense to book an American Airlines award flight with British Airways Avios instead of American Airlines A Advantage miles.

Related: British Airways Executive Club: A guide to Avios, elite status and transfer partners

Short flights during peak times


AAdvantage still operates using an award chart. However, in 2023, the airline changed its charts to reflect a more dynamic pricing model with flights on AA “starting at” 7,500 miles within the US and Canada. However, American will sometimes offer award flights that cost less than the award chart.

Meanwhile, Avios redemption for domestic AA flights starts at 8,250 Avios points, each way in economy class as follows:

  • Zone 1 (up to 650 miles): 8,250 Avios
  • Zone 2 (651-1,151 miles): 11,000 Avios
  • Zone 3 (1,152-2,000 miles): 14,500 Avios
  • Zone 4 (2,001-3,000 miles): 16,000 Avios

On off-peak days, such as midweek in winter, you can often find flights through AAdvantage for as low as 7,500 (or sometimes less). This is a better option than the 8,250 Avios BA fee.


However, if you want a flight at a specific time or need to fly to a specific airport, using Avios is a cheaper option when AA prices start to increase sharply.

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For example, flights from Miami International Airport (MIA) to New York area airports in September start at a reasonable 8,500 AAdvantage miles.


However, if you want to catch the first flight of the day and fly into LaGuardia Airport (LGA), AA prices this flight at 12,000 miles.

You can book a similar Zone 2 flight through British Airways for 11,000 Avios (plus taxes and fees similar to AAdvantage fees), saving you 1,000 miles.


If you wanted to book this flight in first class, it would cost you more than 83,000 miles. If you booked the same flight on British Airways using Avios, you would only pay 20,500 Avios.

Related: Review of American Airlines first class on the Airbus A321neo from Philadelphia to San Francisco

Nonstop economy class flights to Hawaii


Another sweet spot in the battle between Avios and American Airlines is nonstop flights between the West Coast and Hawaii on flights operated by American or Alaska. Booking a one-way, nonstop award ticket under 3,000 miles through British Airways will cost just 16,000 Avios plus $5.60 in taxes and fees each way.

American Airlines offers flights between the US and Hawaii starting at 20,000 miles each way, so you can save at least 4,000 miles by booking through BA’s Executive Club instead of AA’s AAdvantage program.

Note that these prices apply to both American and Alaska Airlines flights, so in either case, you’re better off redeeming Avios for awards to Hawaii from many West Coast gateways. Also remember that Avios prices only apply to direct flights; If you start adding connections, you’ll want to compare prices in each plan before deciding which offers the best value.

Related: Best time to visit Hawaii for nice weather, few crowds, deals and more

Direct flights to South America


Like domestic flights, you can find some sweet spot on shorter international flights by using Avios instead of AAdvantage miles.

Look at routes like:

  • MIA arrives at Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport (BAQ) in Barranquilla, Colombia
  • MIA arrives at Rafael Nunez International Airport (CTG) in Cartagena, Colombia

They are just under 1,150 miles long and cost 11,000 Avios in economy class.


These flights start at 12,000 miles each way when booking with AAdvantage miles; instead, booking with Avios saves just 1,000 miles. However, with American’s flexible pricing, on the sample date of December 4 above, the same flights cost 20,500 (plus similar fees and taxes) – almost double the points.


Direct flights to Japan in economy class


When booked with AAdvantage miles, flights from the West Coast to Japan in economy class cost 35,000 miles each way.

However, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) requires just 25,750 Avios which would otherwise cost 35,000 AA miles.

You can also book Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) and HND for 31,000 Avios instead of 35,000 AA miles.

Unfortunately, business and first class awards with Avios are no cheaper than AAdvantage miles.

How to earn Avios


The easiest way to earn a significant amount of Avios for everyday spending is to sign up British Airways Visa Signature® Card.

The card is currently offering new applicants 85,000 Avios after they spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening their account.

The British Airways Visa Signature has an annual fee of $95 and earns 3 Avios for every $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Level. Plus, you can earn 2 Avios for every $1 you spend on hotel rooms when you buy directly with hotels. All other purchases earn 1 Avios for every $1 spent.

British Airways is also a transfer partner of Capital One, Chasing the ultimate reward, American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Wells Fargo Rewards And Marriott Bonvoymaking Avios one of the easiest currencies to earn.

All of the following cards currently offer strong welcome bonuses that you can easily convert to Avios:

Bottom line

Avios are valuable because they are easy to obtain and redeem. Surcharges on flights operated by British Airways can be high. However, the reasonable award chart means that, unlike other flexible flight pricing schemes, you’ll rarely see six-figure prices for a premium cabin flight on BA.

Therefore, booking American Airlines flights through British Airways can sometimes be a much more lucrative redemption option. So, it’s best to check out both programs carefully before purchasing an award ticket.

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