Getting AA Benefits On A Flight Booked Using BA Avios

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Numerous people have asked me how they can get their AA benefits when booking their tickets with BA Avios.

If you have AA elite status and have your AA mileage number connected with your BA reservation you will be able to choose seats with extra legroom and be able to go standby on other flights for free. If you have an AA credit card you will be able to check free luggage that way (though occasionally you get free luggage anyway when booking with BA Avios).

Earlier this month I faced the ever-so-tough option of dropping $1,150 on a ticket from Cleveland to NYC (due to not staying for the required 3 night minimum stay to get a low fare) or spending 9,000 Avios for a the same flights. At a value of nearly 13 cents per Avios that’s just about the easiest “redeem or purchase” scenario you will ever have for a coach flight.

It’s also why I love real miles over proprietary points like those from Capital One. The same flight would have required 115,000 Capital One points!

BA Avios really fills the gap left by my American and United miles. I hate burning those miles on short domestic trips as they’re so valuable for international business and first class trips. Thus the combination of different types of airline miles is what really allows you to derive maximum value.

It also doesn’t hurt that you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Starpoints, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points into BA Avios. Plus BA doesn’t charge any last minute expedite/close-in fees, doesn’t collect massive fuel surcharges for flights on AA within the Western Hemisphere or on Aer Lingus, Alaska, Air Berlin, LAN worldwide, and only charges $2.50-$10 (just the 9/11 fees) to cancel a domestic award.

It’s important to remember that doesn’t search for all partners (you need to call to check for awards on Alaska, Aer Lingus and others) and that it often only searches for nonstop flights, so you may need to book 2 separate tickets to find connecting flights. For example even if NYC to Chicago or Miami comes up with zilch you can always try booking NYC to Cleveland and Cleveland to Chicago or Miami.  You’ll pay more Avios than you would for the nonstop but as BA charges for each flight segment it won’t make a difference in the Avios required if you book a connecting flight as one ticket or as 2 separate tickets plus AA will be able to check your luggage straight through to your final destination. Plus you can “stopover” for as long as you want by booking connecting flights separately. Of course also won’t search for nearby airports so you may want to search for Philadelphia to Miami before throwing in the towel.

Anyway back on topic. While there are quite a few ways to add your AA number to your reservation, here’s what I do without having to pickup the phone.

-When booking a BA Avios award I leave my BA Executive Club number in my reservation.

-After booking I go to, go to the “My Bookings” section, enter my last name and BA record locator, and press continue.










-On the next page I scroll down to “additional details,” select American from the drop down menu, enter my American AAdvantage number, and confirm the change.












-Now I still need to get my American record locator to select elite seats on so next I go to and under “new trip” I once again enter my last name and BA record locator.








-There a few places on the next page to find your American record locator, but the easiest way to find it is to click on “PDF” which will download a summary of your trip with a record locator that you will be able to use on  The red box that I’ve made on the PDF is where you will find the AA record locator.









-Finally just go to, click on “My Trips,” enter your name and AA record locator, and you will be able to select preferred seats if applicable, and you will be able to confirm that your AA mileage number is in your reservation so that you will receive free checked luggage if applicable.  You may need to logout of to be able to manually enter the record locator.








-What was your favorite use of BA Avios? Hit the comments and share!

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99 Comments On "Getting AA Benefits On A Flight Booked Using BA Avios"

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I checked one bag free of charge by showing my authorized user American Airlines credit card.


Nice, but that doesn’t always work with an AU card


when traveling domestic with AA purchased with avios, which card do i need to get 1st checked bag free Citi aa or chase ba?


so i’m a bit confused- i booked using my avios number, yet i also want to get the free bag (citi platinum). do i erase my exectuve ba number or how do i add? or….do i just show up with my citi aa plat card?


i got the record locator thing, but what is the point of doing the thing



Go to to change from the BA number to your AA number.

To change from your BA number to your AA number to get the benefits attached to your AAdvantage number.


When I try using for delta and alitalia it gives me a error message.


I use to obtain my aa#. Then I go to to enter in my Alaska MVP number which gives me elite perks. I’m not sure why you need finair, can you not just do it all on


@Ryan: does not let you change the frequent flyer number of a ticket booked with BA Avios.


Why the extra step at Been using Finnair for a while now (Royal Jordanian scares people), but that’s been enough for me.


To get your AA record locator so that you can select elite seats on


I replied to your message Dan but do not see it posted. You most certainly can change the ff# for a ba booked ticked on aa. I do it all the time. Just go into the reservation using the aa locator and modify the reservation details.


finnair and check my trip both say 0 free baggage, although i did change the ffn to my aa one associated with my citi aa platinum card. as long as i bring said card to the airport i should still get the free baggage right?


Does this enable TSA pre check on AA? If so, that’s awesome!!


That has never worked for me (and for many others who have posted on DDF as well.)

As long as you’re the primary cardholders and you have your AA mileage number attached to it then you should automatically get your free bag at the airport.

It should.


Thank! You’ve just made packing for Pesach so much easier :p


can i use my Dad’s AA number with same middle and last name and get free checked bag, he has the AA credit card, also is there a way to change AA advantage number online, thanks


Dan, not sure what I’m doing different, but I’ve literally done it dozens of times directly on AA as recently as 2 weeks ago. I always use my Alaska MVP #, not AA if that makes a difference but it looks like I can type in any FF#.



Not a wise idea.

Consider yourself lucky!
Never seems to work for me or for many others.

still waiting

I’m still waiting on SPG to transfer my points to Avios. Its been 34 days so far….


“and only charges $2.50-$10 (just the 9/11 fees) to cancel a domestic award.” i thought it was $65 and i just verified with that that is the case… how do you cancel for such a nominal fee?


@still waiting:
Did you try calling? Sounds like something went wrong.

If you cancel online it only charges you the taxes paid. I’ve done it many many times.



y id

Is it just me or is it becoming harder and harder to find availability on AA with Avois? Just a few months ago I generally had easy time as long as some time in advance – as of late, never anything around.

Has AA started releasing less seats?

still waiting

Just called. Said it should take at most 1 month, so they will look into it and see what happened.


Nothing to do with Avios.
Search to see their sAAver availability.


I recently utilized AA miles to book a one way British airways ticket in First. I went to BA.COM to see if it would credit missing miles and it worked! I was able to get over 10,000 avios per ticket!


Thank you!!! It has been driving me nuts not having my AA number in the BA reservation – causes lots of problems at check in if I want the free luggage from being gold. I knew how to find the AA record locator via checkmytrip but did not know the Finnair part – thanks so much!


@bitzy: 0
Very cool! What route did you fly?

Your welcome, enjoy!


I recently flew to Chicago on aa with avios miles. At check in I swiped an aa credit card and got the free bag. thanks for all your information


I actually added my AA# and got the benefits by tweeting @AmericanAir. They told me to send them a DM with my info.


I am flying AA to LHR, I am AA elite and want to get the perks plus extra piece, but want to collect on my Avios account. How to go about it?


@Dan: I just got home from a trip from ORD-LGA booked on this basis. I called AA to substitute my AA number for the BA one once the reservation showed as ticketed on I got all my Exec Plat benefits including standby priority both ways and free drink and food. TSA pre-check worked at both airports too. Thanks for the Finnair tip though – I will try that next time.


Forgot to add in my reply above: first I got my AA locator from BA by phone, and added that manually to my list of reservations on Then I called AA to substitute my AAdvantage number for exec club. So two phone calls were needed.


I checked aa for saver availability and its available for dates thar I need.
I have an avios acct with no miles in it
I have amex that I would like to use
do I need to transfer before seeing availability on ba?
does transfer from amex happen instant or a few days?
how many points do I need for round trip ewr to ohare?


Well this should be a bit easier.

After you change your AA number and get a better seat and check your luggage you can switch your mileage number.

Though if you’re AA elite you’ll get more miles by collecting the miles on AA.


-You can search awards on without any miles in your account.
-Transfer from AMEX MR are instant.




tried to follow this but Finair won’t allow me to change the ff# – it defaults to Avios and is a non editable field? I was able to change wifey ff# on same res#


You can skip the finnair part by selecting “no” for the question if “Will account holder be traveling” when booking on All “yes” does is populate your name and avios ff number. “No” leaves ff field blank which is fine since you want the aa one anyway. You can then proceed straight to checkmytrip and then attach that record on


@Dan: I did run into some trouble at the airport with my free bag. The guy doing curbside check-in first said that I’d have to pay for the bag, eventhough I had the free bag confirmed. I had my AA credit card with me though, and it all worked out.

flyer only shows british airways flights. how do i search for a partner airline(aa) and award flight ?


on go to my trips and log in. no need to find out your record locator number



Did you leave your BA number in your res when you made the Avios ticket?

When I tried that I wasn’t able to enter my AAdvantage number on Finnair or on

Just be sure to login and then select pay with Avios.


Dan you are the man, I was just having a conversation with someone about this in Beachwood Place today!!




“though occasionally you get free luggage anyway when booking with BA Avios” How?


Happens randomly.
See comment 30, which had nothing to do with which card the commenter swiped at the kiosk.


Every time I make an AA ticket with avios I get priority access and 2 free bags.
I used to think it was bc my cousin who has the same name as me has AA gold but apparently they just randomely give it.


I recently flew DFW-DEN on Avios. Swipe my AA Platinum in self check-in, still had to pay to bag fee to check a friend’s bag on my ticket. I didn’t bother to ask ticket agent.


Lucky you 🙂

Next time add your number via Finnair!


Booked a trip to Bermuda on AA using Avios, called AA to get the record locator and asked them to replace the BA number with my AA number and I was able to see preferred seats, etc, immediately. Good tip on the Finnair website, a call to the AA will work too!


Just booked a ticket on BA, YYZ>ORD. Got the AA record locator through classic.checkmytrip and updated my AA profile on AA no problems. I know I’ve posted several times already, but this seriously works 100% of the time, no Finair needed.

I don’t log in to my AA account if that makes a difference and even if the system hangs when updating it still actually updates.


Dude, you’ve said this a half dozen times already.
As I said, lucky you.

I just booked another BA ticket, went to without logging in, and it does not let me change the mileage number.

Checked on my grandmother’s ticket, same story.


There’s no need to do the extra CMT step. AA will accept BA confirmation numbers.


@Dan: Dan, Ryan’s trick works ONLY IF you do NOT add your BA Executive number to the reservation when booking on BA (even if you are using your miles to book for yourself). Only when you leave the BA number blank when booking, can you go to and add your AA or AS number to the reservation.

I know that if you use your BA number when making the reservation AA will not let you change it.


@azhoopsfan that’s correct – that’s what I was trying to convey in #39


@Nic: I’ve also avoided by searching by flight number and city, which usually finds the reservation.


@Dan As said by others will not let you edit the FF# once it’s already added to the reservation to avoid this try booking yourself next time from a different BA account (not yours) and see what happens than


Any idea why ? i just flew aa through a ba ticket and they didnt charge for bags. i dont have aa cc just reg status . ( both ways i did curbside check in but the guy told me that the system says no charge ) ?


Use Finnair all the time. There are random times when it wont work, and for no apparent reason..


@golan It’s a glitch. Enjoy it and don’t complain!


Thanks Dan! for those less savy you missed a step. step 2 should be to click on update your details which take you to new page. Then you can…
-On the next page I scroll down to “additional details,” select American from the drop down menu, enter my American AAdvantage number, and confirm the change.


When I check on using my record locator my AAdvantage number is attached. However when I login with my AA number and check my reservation it does not show up. Is that normal?


Is there anyway to select a seat on Air Berlin without paying if I dont have air berlin status


This worked like a charm the first time I did it and I am pretty sure I did it immediately after making the BA reservation but cant remember for sure. Now today I did another BA reservation and when I go to Finnair, its not allowing me to modify the frequent flyer number in the additional details. Has anyone ever seen this? Should I maybe try again tomorrow?


dan how do i book with ba avios from nyc to la june2-june6 redeye? on it only show ba i never see any other partners available and for ba it says

British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.

do i call ba? try to use iberia or aa? how do i use my 120k ba avios?


Dan, Great seminar in Chicago
Im attempting to book using Avios points 3 seats for 2 people (my wife needs the extra space) on a flt fro ORD to LGA and im told by BA that it cant be done using Avios spoke to supervisor to no avail
ive done this with AA, UAL,and Delta

any suggestions


I do not see the option on anymore to change the Freq Flyer number
Would you please check


use to aa number



I am an AA EXP, and was wondering if I use avios to fly from xmn to bkk (stopover in hkg), would I be able to use the lounge? Thanks.



Matt B

Dan, been using this method for a while now to get AA benefits when using Avios for award redemptions on AA flights. Just now trying again but noticing that the Finnair site no longer allows me to change BA to AA FF#. Any other methods you’re aware of to change the FF# from BA to AA?


I just make a booking on a short haul AA for a family member (well, American Eagle or soon to be Envoy) flight. Neither of us have elite status on BA or AA. I did notice that I was able to select a preferred seat at no charge on the Avios booking, but I had purchased the ticket through AA, the fee would have been $6 or so. Based on this it seems like there is Priority Access and potentially a free bag. We will see.


Once you switch to AA locator, can I change the flight to a later flight that day for free?


does not work anymore. it seems finair has locked the option to change number.




Sorry for the capitals. My problem is- I booked with Avios and the flight is USAIR. I have Gold status on American. DO I need to change it now to American or is the merger enough to honor the status?

You Brother


-1 just changed the number, no problem!!!

I see it when I log onto
however it doesnt show me if I will get free bags, its shows and error in that spot.
In the past I have gotten free bags no problem.

chana k

Can you tell by the receipt if you’re going to get the free bag?


To get the AA record locator you can simply go to change seats and it redirects you to the AA site and your AA record locator is there. You can add your AAdvantage number there as well. No need for the whole runaround


You can’t edit the AAdvantage number if you used Avios from your account.


finnair won’t let me edit the BA number. Am I doing something wrong?


I think once you put in your AA number on finnair it gets added to your AA profile- you don’t need to go to checkmytrip. Because I followed the finnair and checkmytrip steps and i went to AA expecting to need to put in my AA record locator – but it was already there when I signed in.
Might be a recent change though.


question I haven’t found answered anywhere – despite searching. Can I book my BA Avios on the flight they show, then change to my AA number, then go standby on an earlier flight that BA is showing for much more points?
either standby without paying the $75 or even with?


It looks like finnair has updated their website and the instructions described above are not available anymore.

Are there any other ways to add my Advantage # to my BA flight?


Which part doesn’t work?



Changing from the BA # to my Advantage # on
There used to be “additional details”, now there is “update your details” but its bringing me to an error page


I am reporting same issue as yehuda. never used to have a problem with this, hmmm…
is there another place/way to change my FF# besides finnair?


same here


Confirming prior posts re Finair workaround to no longer be working…. I f anyone has a fix, please share. Thanks.


on the rj booking do l need to put in all my info or just aa # bec its not letting me go on without my personal info.


Just followed all the steps in the original post and it worked perfectly.


Any point in doing this for a lax-jfk booking in business class? The only status I have is that I have a Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite credit card.


Finnair locked me out after I changed it for one booking. RJ changed my wifes, but asked me for a DOB, but there was no field to input it. However, Sri lankan allowed me to change the BA to the AA number, WOOHOO!


Just FYI my BA booking ref worked on AA today, (although still needed to use finair to change my FF)

danny b

does not seem like you are able to use finnair to change frequant flyer number anymore….is there any other work around?


what benefit is there for having a ba number on ur ticket ??


I made sure to erase BA number and was still hardcoded on Finnair. Had no problem on though