The Occam’s Razor Approach to Award Booking, as American Flights are Back on the Website

When and indeed the Qantas Frequent Flyer website shows American AAdvantage award space, but the British Airways site doesn’t, odds on the problem is the British Airways website and not a new regime where American blocks their joint venture partner from having access to their (very limited amount of) award space.

So while you couldn’t book American Airlines award travel on the British Airways website for awhile, you could get the seats if you called. And indeed plenty of British Airways agents were willing to waive the telephone booking fee. (The problem is that not all would, and you could always hang up and call back but British Airways hold times can be annoying long.)

American has problems booking Etihad first class awards it should be no surprise that it’s probably a temporary IT glitch and not the new normal.

The Occam’s Razor approach is always your best bet until demonstrated otherwise (with the possible exception of programs that have repeatedly demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness, already accounting for the fact that they are frequent flyer programs).

[A]mong competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove to provide better predictions, but—in the absence of differences in predictive ability—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.

Once you figure out, of course, that British Airways can still book American Airlines award space online, you assume that these joint venture partners haven’t intentionally decided to remove access to American Airlines inventory on its website (the way that United did with Singapore and then lied about it).

So it then comes as no surprise whatsoever that the British Airways website can again book American Airlines award space.

That’s great because British Airways awards for short haul economy are super cheap. This DC-Chicago flight is just 4500 points and %5.60 in taxes. That’s far better than spending $300+ for the ticket. And it’s far better than spending 12,500 American miles (and the same taxes) for the same award.

And BA has no close-in booking fees. The cancel/redeposit fee is cheaper and indeed for online cancels is in practice capped at the taxes paid.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Hi Gary

    Just tried to book AA flights via BA, still don’t see it bookable???


  2. Sorry Gary, tried a few other dates and yes, AA flights show. On the dates I wanted, AA has Business milesaver space, but doesn’t know on BA.

  3. AA flights still not bookable for me from ABQ, CVG or DAY to VPS, or PNS, or ABQ-CVG which I’ve flown dozens of times.

    We are unable to find seats for your journey. The most common reasons for this are:
    You may have requested a route that we do not operate at that time of year.
    We may not fly to the destination you have chosen.
    Your journey may require more than six flights; you can only book up to six flights on
    What you can do:
    Search again using different dates.
    View our network
    View our flight timetable
    Contact us

  4. I got the same error message and the flight I wanted was showing up in AA at a saver level.

Comments are closed.