British Airways Avios remain a great way to book travel on American Airlines, when award space is available. The British Airways website has a problem seeing the space, here’s a workaround.
They charge 7500 points for a flight segment up to 1150 miles. That includes routes like New York JFK – Miami and Dallas Fort-Worth – Raleigh. For just 12,500 points you can even fly Los Angeles – Honolulu.
Under American’s rules they make you give up your AAdvantage elite benefits if you fly American using miles from a partner frequent flyer program. A 100,000 mile AAdvantage Executive Platinum using British Airways points to fly on American isn’t supposed to get any of the benefits of their status — from priority boarding, to checked bags, to seat assignments.
There are two important and often-overlooked items in American’s frequent flyer rules,
You cannot accrue partner airline miles with your partner frequent flyer number if you have already used your AAdvantage number to obtain AAdvantage program benefits such as First or Business Class upgrades, baggage fee waivers or complimentary access to Preferred/Main Cabin Extra seats. Additionally, 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.
Here are the two rules:
- You’re not allowed to switch out your frequent flyer number and accrue miles with a partner after you’ve used benefits of your AAdvantage elite status.
- You’re not allowed to use AAdvantage elite benefits when traveling on American through a partner award redemption.
I Might Have Even Gotten Snacks and a Drink on a British Airways-Issued Award Ticket Before
American made big changes to AAdvantage terms in 2015 and this was apparently added at that time.
In practice this is rarely enforced. However I was asked about this on Twitter,
— John Lazarev (@jlazarev) May 28, 2018
Although surprising to experts even, American’s twitter team is correct about the rules. I’m told that agents are being “remind[ed]..of this policy so our customers have a consistent experience.” Sigh. Although some agents may still help you of course. Ask nicely.
In practice I suggest taking a do-it-yourself approach to swapping out your frequent flyer number.
And to American I’d simply say that your best customers are your best customers every time they’re in the airport and traveling on one of your planes, no matter what currency they used for the ticket. Treating an Executive Platinum or ConciergeKey member poorly because they used British Airways points for the booking — and American and British Airways even have anti-trust immunity to collude on schedules and pricing — is just poor business.