Yesterday was the day that British Airways had said they would adjust their redemption amounts for partner airlines. While they promised that some differences would be small (and they were), the most pronounced differences were the ones that people actually really love using Avios – short-haul flights.
Two Reasons to Use British Airways Avios for AA Domestic Flights, Post Devaluation
If you used to use Avios for those flights on American Airlines in the US, here are two reasons you may still want to do that. Note: Even though the chart says that Zone 1 is 6,000 Avios, for domestic US flights, it is still 7,500 Avios.
Some Things to Note About Using Avios
First, if you aren’t familiar with doing this, since British Airways and American Airlines are alliance partners, you are able to use each of their miles for awards on the other’s flights. As long as there is Saver award availbiiltiy, you can book those AA flights with British Airways Avios. But, remember that Avios charge per segment so this is really just useful for non-stop flights.
Second, American Airlines runs regular award sales on mileage redemptions for domestic trips. These can be like 5,000 miles one-way instead of 12,500 miles. These are available for cardholders and must be called for to book. You can keep an eye on those sales at this page.
Reason 1 – British Airways Avios Are Still Easier To Earn
American Airlines remains one of the most difficult airline miles to earn in the US. This is because they have a single transfer partner in Marriott. While their credit cards are issued by two banks (Barclays and Citi), they are the only major US carrier that does not have a bank transfer partner.
British Airways Avios, on the other hand, have several transfer partners. You can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Marriott. This is in addition to being able to earn Avios through the British Airways credit card from Chase.
Not only that, but Amex (and now Chase) have run nice transfer bonuses to give you an increased boost on your points transferred to Avios. Not only that, but there are often one-off sales or purchase opportunities that let you buy Avios for less than American Airlines sells their miles.
So, if a flight with American and British Airways are asking relatively the same cost in miles, the winning solution would be to use Avios since they are easier to regenerate.
Reason 2 – Cheap Fees with British Airways
With American Airlines, some awards are released on flights within one or two weeks of departure. If you want to book one of those flights with American Airline miles and you do not have elite status, you will need to pay a close-in booking fee of $75 (for flights booked inside of 21 days of departure). Speaking of fees, if you want to cancel an award booking made with American Airline miles, you are going to need to pay a $150 fee to get those miles back.
When you use British Airways Avios to book flights on American Airlines, you will not pay a close-in booking fee! Right away, that is a savings of $75 for last-minute award bookers!
To make it even better, if your plans change, you can cancel the Avios award redemption and you would just lose the taxes on the flight – the $5.60 per segment. That’s it! Avios back in your account and nothing extra to pay.
So, if you are booking an award flight for American Airlines flights within 21 days of departure and/or you think you may need to cancel the award, British Airways Avios will save you quite a bit of money!
While the British Airways Avios devaluation was pretty bad for short-haul flights, there are still some reasons it can be smarter to use Avios than AA miles for domestic American Airlines awards. This post highlights the two big reasons.