British Airways Avios Knowledgebase, A Collection Of Tips For Using Your BA Avios

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People seemed to appreciate my Random Travel Tips that I posted 2 weeks ago so I figured I’d continue the series with tips on BA.  Your feedback is always appreciated!

British Airways (BA) Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, especially for one-way flights, last-minute flights, or flights in business or first class.  But they’re not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program which provides an incredible value for short-haul flights.

I’ve booked probably a dozen short-haul tickets in the past year for myself using Avios.  A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days or if you book last-minute.  But BA allows me to use just 9,000 Avios for that same flight, a whopping value of over 13 cents per mile.  Now I can hop over to Chicago or NYC on a whim without any kind of mileage regret like I used to have in the pre-Avios days.


4,500 Avios+$2.50 tax or $600. Hmmm… 😀


Here is what you need to know about the program:

-You can register for an Executive Club/Avios account via this link.

Searching for flights:
-Use this link to login or create a BA Avios account in order to search for flights.
-After logging into your account on the left-hand side be sure to change the search from “Book with money” to “Book with Avios” If you get an error about BA not having traffic rights to a route you probably forgot to switch it to “Book with Avios.”
-BA charges a flat rate for every leg of a flight. is not very effective at searching for connecting flights. You will often need to book a connecting flight on 2 separate tickets or you will need to call them to book it. Either way it will require the same amount of miles as they charge for each flight segment.
-The best way to search for availability is by using the award calendar search on BA can only book MileSAAver awards from that calendar.
-You can limit the calendar to show nonstop flights only. If it’s showing availability with connections remember that you may have to book each flight connection as its own ticket.  Just click through the find the connection city and then search on for 2 separate tickets.
-Ignore the mileage rates on, they have nothing to do with what BA will charge you in Avios to fly on that same AA flight.
-Once you find MileSAAver award availability on you can return to and plugin those same dates to book it. Don’t forget that if showed a connecting flight you may have to book it as 2 separate tickets on In other words if shows a flight from NYC to Honolulu via Dallas you may have to book NYC-Dallas as a separate ticket from Dallas-Honolulu if you want to use Alternatively you can call BA to book it as 1 ticket but the Avios rate will be the same and your luggage can be checked straight through either way.





The picture above is an award search on  Note the number of stops box on the left that I’ve boxed in red.  By changing this to nonstop you’ll be able to quickly find nonstop availability for an entire month that you can book on  Also note the boxed in MileSAAver award options.  These are the only options that can be booked with Avios.  You need American AAdvantage miles to book AAnytime double-mileage last seat awards.










 is displayed in the picture above.  Be sure to toggle from Book with Money to Book with Avios as I’ve boxed in red to search for an award flight.




Infant travel:
BA Avios are great for lap children. I used BA Avios to fly First class to Buenos Aires with Rafi as a lap child even though American would have been fewer miles. The reason for that was because with BA I only had to pay 15,000 Avios for Rafi whereas American wanted $1,000 to bring Rafi as a lap child!
-If you have a lap child and are flying within the US or Canada do not mention them when booking a ticket on  You can add them for free at the airport. There may be some small fees for Canada travel but you’ll be better off dealing with it at the airport than booking it on
-If you have a lap child and are flying outside of the US or Canada be sure to include them when making a booking on If you do that at the time of booking you will only pay 10% of the adult mileage required. If you want to add them after the time of booking you will be subject to 10% of the full paid fare.


Booking flights:
-BA does not charge a last minute close-in/expedite fee.
-Taxes for domestic flights are just $2.50 per leg.
-After booking an award you can cancel it for free for 24 hours from the time of booking by calling BA at 800-452-1201.
-Once 24 hours have passed from the time of booking you can cancel an award and redeposit your miles for the lower of the taxes you paid or $40. In other words a one-way award from LGA-Detroit is 4,500 Avios plus $2.50. You can cancel it online for just $2.50 and get back the 4,500 Avios. An one-way award from Tel Aviv to NYC via Germany that costs 30,000 Avios plus $75 tax can be cancelled for a $40 fee and you will get back your Avios and taxes paid.
-It is cheaper to cancel an award that had less than $40 in taxes than to make date changes to it which will cost $40 regardless of the taxes paid.
-You can thus extend the life of your miles for another 36 months for just $2.50 by booking a short-haul domestic award for 4,500 Avios plus $2.50 and then cancelling it after 24 hours. This constitutes account activity which extends the life of your Avios.
-You can’t cancel or change an award within 24 hours of the flight time.
-You should always book domestic awards as one-ways in case you wind up wanting to switch or cancel just one-way of the ticket. That way you just lose the tax for the one-way instead of the round-trip. Plus if you want to change just one-way you won’t have to cancel the entire ticket and hope the award space for the leg you want to keep will still be there.
-If your international award isn’t subject to fuel surcharges (so the departure flight from the US costs just $2.50 in fees) then you should book that as a one-way award in case you may want to change only the outbound flight for just the $2.50 fee.
-If your international award is subject to fuel surcharges (so the departure flight from the US has heavy fees) then you should book that as a round-trip award as otherwise you will be hit with the $40 fee twice in case you need to cancel the trip. If you need to change just one segment you will be paying a $40 fee regardless as the fees you paid will have been more than $40.

Partner awards and fuel surcharges:
-BA is part of the OneWorld alliance. Alliance partners include Air Berlin, American, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL, LAN, Malaysia, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, and S7. These are all bookable on
-BA also owns Open Skies which flies between NYC (JFK/Newark) and Paris Orly. This is bookable on
-Other partners include Aer Lingus and Alaska. These airlines can only be booked by calling BA at 800-452-1201.
-You can get the $25 phone fee waived if you explain that you tried booking online but were not successful. Ask for a manager or play HUCA if the rep refuses to waive the phone fee.
-Flights that are on Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, and LAN are not subject to fuel surcharges.
-Flights that are on American and are wholly within the Western Hemisphere are not subject to fuel surcharges.
-Flights that are on Qantas and are wholly within Australia are not subject to fuel surcharges.
-If you have an Iberia account with miles in it (including a transfer from AMEX or Starwood) then you can transfer BA Avios into Iberia at a 1:1 ratio and save on much lighter fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia.
-BA flights from London have a double whammy, they are subject to heavy fuel surcharges and obnoxiously high London APD fees. However there are BA flights that don’t touch London such as Singapore-Sydney, Nassua-Grand Cayman, Antigua-Punta Cana, etc. that are called 5th Freedom flights. These flight have much lighter fuel surcharges and of course don’t have the APD fees.

Problems people run into:
-If you have an AA credit card you get benefits like free bags when flying AA and using your AA mileage number. If you have AA elite status you also get benefits like preferred seating. However it can be difficult to change the mileage number from BA to AA. Read this post for the steps you can take to do so. often forgets to ask for the passengers date of birth, especially when you are booking a ticket for someone besides for the account holder. In this case it will seem like you have a valid ticket but you actually do not. I have heard from many people who were told at the airport that they did not have a ticket issued.
To avoid this you should always checkin on 24 hours before your flight so that you can print your boarding pass and know that you are good to go.  If there is an error you have to call BA to have your ticket properly issued.
You can read this post for info on how to get your AA record locator online so that you can look at your reservation on and make sure everything is in order.
-If is not asking for a date of birth you can try using another browser. Otherwise just book the ticket and then call them at 800-452-1201 to add the passenger’s date of birth. If you don’t give BA this info you will not have a ticket.
-People that use their account to sell tickets to several people with different last names will likely find themselves in audit and have their accounts frozen and tickets possibly canceled.
-People often just search for an origin and destination city without considering stopping over in between. For example if you are searching for a ticket to Israel without any luck you may be able to search for a ticket from the US to Berlin or Dusseldorf and then a separate ticket from Berlin or Dusseldorf to Tel Aviv. See this post for more information on properly searching for Air Berlin award tickets.

Award Bands:
-BA Avios are based on 9 award bands. The longer the flight is the more you pay.
You can calculate distances using the Great Circle Mapper. You can type in LGA-YUL to learn that the flight distance from LaGuardia to Montral is 324 miles and is therefore a band 1 award that costs 4,500 Avios each way.

-The prices below are for coach travel. You will pay double for business class and triple for first class. Note that BA considers most domestic US flights to only have first class and will thus cost triple the coach rate. So a flight from LGA to Cleveland in business class will cost 13,500 Avios each way. This does not apply to international flights so LGA to Toronto in business class will cost just 9,000 Avios each way. Either way you’ll get 3 free bags-definitely something to factor into the cost!
Exceptions to the triple business class price are on domestic routes operated by 3 class planes like between JFK or Miami and Los Angeles or S. Francisco where business class is just double the coach price as there is a real first class cabin on those planes that cost triple the coach price.

Award bands include:
Band 1: Flights that are 1-650 miles cost 4,500 Avios.
Sample routes: LGA-Cleveland, LGA-Toronto, Miami-Cancun, Miami-Key West, London-Paris, Melbourne-Sydney, Los Angeles-Las Vegas
Band 2: Flights that are 651-1,151 miles cost 7,500 Avios.
Sample routes: Los Angeles-Cabo San Lucas, LGA-Chicago, LGA-Miami
Band 3: Flights that are 1,151-2,000 miles cost 10,000 Avios.
Sample routes: Los Angeles-Chicago, Berlin-Tel Aviv, Hong Kong-Singapore
Band 4: Flights that are 2,001-3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios.
Sample routes: Boston-Dublin, JFK-Los Angeles, Los Angeles-Maui, JFK-Costa Rica
Band 5: Flights that are 3,001-4,000 miles cost 20,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-Berlin, Dallas-Maui
Band 6: Flights that are 4,001-5,500 miles cost 25,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-Buenos Aires, London-Johannsesburg
Band 7: Flights that are 5,501-6,500 miles cost 30,000 Avios.
Sample route: NYC-Amman
Band 8: Flights that are 6,501-7,000 miles cost 35,000 Avios.
Sample route: S. Francisco-Hong Kong.
Band 9: Flights that are 7,001 miles or more cost 50,000 Avios.
Sample route: Los Angeles-Sydney

Award chart anomalies:
-All flights from North America to Hong Kong are band 8 awards, even though flights like JFK-Hong Kong should really be a band 9 award.
-Due to using a band system instead of a region system it’s important to search for surrounding airports. For example a flight from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale is 1,182 miles according to the Great Circle Mapper and is therefore a band 3 award. However a flight from Chicago to West Palm Beach is just 1,144 miles and is therefore just a band 2 award, saving you 5,000 Avios round-trip per person in coach in 15,000 per person in first.
-While you may not find availability for NYC-Miami for your dates, be sure to check other airports like Philadelphia-Miami.
-Due to the band system flights with connections may be cheaper than flying nonstop so always check possible connections! A nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is 7,488 miles placing it into band 9 with a round-trip cost of 100,000 Avios in coach. However a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu is a band 4 at 2,556 miles and a flight from Honolulu to Sydney is a band 6 at 5,066 miles. The cost of a band 4+band 6 round-trip is just 75,000 miles in coach.
-A nonstop from JFK to Dublin or Shanon on surcharge-free Aer Lingus is a band 5 award. If you fly from NYC-Boston-Dublin or Shannon you’ll save Avios as Band 1+Band 4 is less than Band 5.
-A nonstop from Miami to Tokyo is a band 9 award. However Miami to Los Angeles is a band 4 and Los Angeles to okyo is a band 6, meaning you’ll save 25,000 Avios by connecting.
-Plus when you connect using Avios you can stay in the connection city for as long or short as you desire.

Earning Avios:
There are more ways to collect Avios than any other mileage currency!

-You can earn Avios on the Chase British Airways Visa. You earn 50,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months plus 1.25 Avios per dollar spent everywhere and 2.5 Avios per dollar spent on BA.
-By having the BA Visa you also get 10% off paid BA flights with code: CARDOFFERU
-If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the BA Visa you earn a free companion ticket that is good for a free companion award in any class when you redeem your Avios but it is only good for travel on BA or Open Skies operated flights which means you’ll be paying fuel surcharges.
-You can transfer Starpoints to Avios at a 20K:25K ratio thanks to the 25% bonus for transferring Starpoints to miles. Starwood points are earned from the consumer Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN.
-You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Avios at a 1K:1K ratio. There are bonuses that range from 20%-50% several times a year. Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Business cards include the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN.
-You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Avios at a 1K:1K ratio. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Sapphire Non-Preferred, and Chase Freedom Visa. They can also be earned from business cards like Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.

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171 Comments On "British Airways Avios Knowledgebase, A Collection Of Tips For Using Your BA Avios"

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For domestic business is it cheaper than SQ?


Love that you “listened” to your readership and posted more travel tips. This post is extremely helpful-especially the part about separating band travel to save Avios.

Thanks and keep it up!!


I’ve found that after I booked on I head over to and click find reservation. All I do is enter my name, date and departure airport and it comes up there – no need to go to finnair.


@PAL Fan:
No, Singapore is a better deal for domestic business.

Will do 🙂

@Moses: will not always allow you to change the BA mileage number to an AA number. That’s the reason to go to Finnair.


“Once 24 hours have passed from the time of booking you can cancel an award and redeposit your miles for the lower of the taxes you paid or $40”

So if you have to change the date on a domestic award ticket, you should cancel it and book another one, rather than changing the date only which would cost you $40?




wow dan thanks!! You wrote that domestic awards should be booked as 2 one way tickets. How about international?

Also if I change the second leg on an international flight to a different date do I lose the first leg as well (say it’s no longer available?


You can change one-way for $40 without affecting the other way, so on an international award when the taxes are more than $40 I don’t think there’s a need to book it as a one-way.


Love Avios for short haul & didn’t realize the option of forfeiting taxes as opposed to paying $40. Thanks Dan. A nice way to “hold” bookings.

Btw, might want to edit band 2 & 3 sample flights both reflect Los Angeles-Chicago.


Dan if i open up a BA frequent flyer account, and after that in the future i will apply for the Chase British Airways card will i get the 50,000 Bonus offer? even i already have a FF account by them?


Someone told me that if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year on the BA card you get an additional 10,000 Avios. Is this true?


Indeed it is.

Of course.

No longer true. And anyway it was a one-time bonus for people who signed up with that specific offer.


Thanks Dan, this is very helpful
I tried booking several times round trip NYC – YUL and the taxes are $2.50 one way and the return trip is much more like $50 $60 , why is that?
Thanks Again


Those are Canadian government taxes, every program charges them and they’re built into paid tickets as well.
They are not fuel surcharges which is just a bogus money grab.


Thanks. Luckily I didn’t do too much spending!


If I book two flights because BA is not good at finding stopovers… does that mean I have to check my luggage twice?


Great post.
Best of all is that you wrote this up as a single blog post instead of breaking it up into 39 parts as other bloggers are prone to do.


Great post, Dan! Totally agree with Sam


whats a better use to transfer miles to avios
spg or chase points

i need 35000 avios
i have over 100000 spg & 35000 chase


Just because AA has sAAver availability for a specific flight does NOT mean you can use Avios to purchase a ticket. Case in point: I have over 700,000 Avios and have been looking to book a NYC-MIA flight on BA for MONTHS. AA has plenty of sAAver availability, but BA has none. I’ve spoken to at least 10 BA reps and get the same answer every time, namely, AA allocates X number of seats to its partners’ rewards programs. When they’re gone, they’re gone, regardless of Whether or not AA still has sAAver award availability.


Great post!
One thing to add, that even if Ba asks for birthdays you should still check AA to see if it’s ticketed. It happened to me twice that it asked me for my birthday and the ticket wasn’t ticketed, I had to call in.

Also I’m not 100% sure but I think if you are flying as the account holder and it doesn’t ask for birthday, it may ticket automatically later on since your birthday is on profile.


No, just show the agent both of your reservations and they will check it through.

Thanks guys!

That is BS. The award space is identical.
Read the post about limiting to nonstops or booking connecting flights on

Otherwise please give me an example with an exact date.

As I said, always checkin on 24 hours before your flight and then you’ll have no problems.


Whats the best way to use BA from nyc to israel ( economy)?
is it a good redemption option? how many points are we talking?


Dan what happens if you book the ticket on points, but you choose to also pay something for it (exp. 2,500 points and $65 from jfk-yyz) and then after 24 hours you wanna cancel? can you still get the points and cash back and only lose the security fee?


You’re asking about a cash and points booking?
I’ve never done one but I’d assume it would cost $40 to do such a change.


hey dan thanx this post is especially good for us at yul… who use ba a lot jut want to point out if your ticket starts in america example jfk-yul-jfk they only charge u 2.50 even though its intl but if you book it as 2 separate tickets ie jfk-yul yul- jfk or yul-jfk-yul youll be charged the 50$ tax… so if any Americans are booking a rt flight to Canada they should book it as one rt as supposed to a one way..


That’s incorrect.
JFK-YUL is $2.50
YUL-JFK is $52.64
JFK-YUL-JFK is $55.72

Reason to book as one-way: If you might need to change the JFK-YUL flight you’ll be able to do so for just $2.50 instead of $40.
Reason to book as round-trip: If you need to cancel the whole ticket you’ll be out $40 instead of $42.50

So in this case you’ll probably want to book as a one-way. Plus there’s 58 cents less tax as a one-way 😀


i stand corrected! :)btw theres a promo now if you convert your rbc (canadien bank) points to ba avios theres a 50% bonus


If you book on Cathy pacific using Avios (JFK- Vancouver) within the us and Canada, what would the process be for adding a lap child and how much would it cost?


I tried searching NYC > Niagara (BUF) and got nothing do they not go there?


Very good question.
Anyone have any experience on that route?

Read the post again about and connecting flights.


Could you please give examples of good uses of the companion voucher from Cleveland using BA or Open Skies since we just received one.


I have searched aa and not found any availability – but when I called ba avios they said it was available and booked the ticket for me.
I suggest calling if you can’t find what you need.
Anybody else ever have that?


Dan, my issue is that none the sAAver flights on don’t show up in

my story is that i have a flight from tlv to jfk and return from ewr to tlv. while im in the states i wanted to pay a visit from nyc to houston (iah).

none of those flights that were on showed up on

what do i do?


@Dan: I would assume that the process for adding a lap child on CX would be the same as AA for domestic, I just priced out a JFK-YVR on the fare for the inf. was 0.00 and the taxes USD68.70 however $51.20 of this was related to Fuel-charges


I used Avios from Newark to Miami in March & it worked great. However since then I tried many times & nothing was available round trip to Miami (tried Newark, Philly, JFK…)


Dan, so it seems these are great for everything but USA-UK travel, is that right? What is the best way to get to London on these from the east coast?

elite mavin

Dan, you shouldn’t need to change the frequent flyer number from ba if you don’t put it in to begin with. In order to do that, just click that the person traveling is not the account holder, and the mileage field will bee left are then free to add any ff number that you wish.

eric medstudent


I’m trying to book a flight from Med school (gnd) to JFK.. I know there are aasaver awards available but I can’t book via the website. Any tips..I tried one ways mia to gnd but no luck


I had the experience of coming to Westchester airport and finding out that my flight was not ticketed because ba didn’t have my birth date. I was at the airport early enough and the airport was not busy so they resolved the issue in a timely fashion. it took aa check in a little while to figure out the problem so check in before to be able to resolve your problem if you have one


Hey Dan-

If you go through vs. going through, there is significantly less award ticket availability (i.e. Avios vs. AAdvantage). If there are no seats left to book with Avios but on it shows that seats are available with AAdvantage, is there a way to still utilize Avios by calling someone (a toll free/ customer service line) instead?



Dan – any help you can offer regarding an Avios accoutn that’s been frozen for booking too many different names? I’ve heard that if you ignore the audit requests, it re-opens within 4-6 weeks. True?


dan when i spoke to AA they said that a lap child in the us is free but internationally even to Canada there is a %10 fee, are you sure that they wont charge it at the airport? and how much will be the fees that they will charge?


The search box is a little funny.Sometimes the box on the left that says book with money or avios will search as if its a paid ticket even if its an avios ticket. If that happens select book with money then back to book with avios and it should work.


thanks so much for this post! Saved us hours of searching


How do I make sure I’m ticketed if I booked through air Berlin?


Dan, I am flying to London with my wife on a companion voucher on British airways business class, how can I take my 2 year old child with?


As a YYZer, Avios are awesome especially as we are not charged the 3x points for domestic business which really makes no sense for domestic AA.

In Canada there are tons of great ways to pile up on Avios between RBC’s Avion and the various Amexes that consistently have great promotions.

The absolutely only time BA will not allow you to book Saver awards is within two hours of the flight. Several times I’ve tried where its clearly available on AA, but not on BA. I called and was told AA doesn’t allow it. I’m sure there are exceptions but that has been my experience.

Dan – you may also want to add to your post how to go standby. My experience has been that you will be charged $75 if you do not have status, but I’ve also been told by agents that because its a BA ticket, there is nothing we can do. Generally, I would think it should follow AA policies.

As well, every BA AA ticket I’ve used said ‘priority access’ even without status on it which can be useful – but no automatic free luggage as some have implied.


BA doesn’t fly from Cleveland. You would have to book the companion ticket from places like Chicago or NYC and then book a separate ticket to get there.

It can happen, especially because there are airlins that can’t be booked online.

Again, why not just read the post before commenting?

Those sAAver flights on were connecting flights.
As I wrote, you need to book connecting flights leg by leg when using as is designed to search for nonstop flights.

If the sAAver flight is on and you search leg by leg (as I explain in the post) then 99% of the time it will be on

Interesting, but it would be good to har from someone who’s actually done it.

That’s why you should use to search, the availability is there but summertime is always going to be tougher for award tickets.

United miles, AA miles, etc. are typically easier to international travel.

@elite mavin:
Perhaps, though I think booking travel for the account holder makes it less of a chance that BA will manually review your account.
And going to Finnair just takes a minute to switch the BA number to AA.

@eric medstudent:

You need to narrow the calendar to nonstop flights only.
If the flight isn’t nonstop you need to see where exactly it stops. Then you need to book each leg separately on OR you can trying calling BA to book it as one ticket.

Either way the Avios required will be more than the nonstop as BA charges for every leg.

Hence why I recommend that everyone should check in online!

Please give me an example of what you are talking about with the exact route and dates.
I know there is a bug that on some dates when there are lots of sAAver flights that BA may not show them all.
However in 99% of cases people just aren’t searching properly on

You can always try calling BA to book.

Beats me, sorry.

The rep you spoke to was wrong. None of the US airlines charge 10% for travel within the US and Canada.

You can always print this page if you’re nervous:

“Infants under 2 years of age who travel within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands† may be held in an adult’s lap at no charge.
For transatlantic/transpacific travel or travel to/from Latin America, children under two years of age are required to have a ticket in their name for 10% of the applicable adult fare for the International portion.

AA reserves the right to request documented proof of age for any traveler 2 years of age or younger. Please be prepared to provide documentation (birth certificate, passport, etc.) upon request.”

Call BA and confirm it.

I would just book her on a separate reservation and write that she is an adult…Birthdays are never actually verified on airplane tickets and are never printed on the ticket.

Some people have gotten free luggage, but most do not.
Standby is also YMMV, really up to the airport agent.


i have the BA Chase Redemption Voucher for a Companion and i am looking to fly to Israel with my wife in business or first, any suggestions on that? i don’t see you mentioning anything about the BA Chase Redemption Voucher for a Companion in this thread – it is related to BA.



It is in the post, read it again or search for it (Ctrl-F)


How come DCA-JFK-YYZ is 9k even though the GCM shows it’s only 579 mi? Can someone please explain


Because BA charges separate for every segment.
You have 2 band 1 segmentsx4,500 each=9,000 Avios.


“Note that BA considers most domestic US flights to only have first class and will thus cost triple the coach rate”

So generally it is not worth flying domestic 1st class using Avios (unless maybe Band 1/2 flights)?


No fuel surcharges on Qantas, but the tax for a short haul flight (4500 points) is about $14.
Still a great deal though!


Question re: LGA to Toronto-
I tried booking 2 flights on with Avios, from LGA to Toronto, and i was charged about $115 for taxes and fees (on top of the Avios. Is this normal for travel out of the country?


Well, if there is only business class availability it may still be worthwhile.
I’ve also added a few exception routes to the post just under that.

See comments 14 and 28 where I addressed that already.


@Dan: Dan I mean can I book her on a regular economy ticket, as I don’t want to use another 80k miles plus the taxes for her.


@Dan: yes but you dont talk about using the Companion Voucher


If she’s 2 she will need her own seat.
What exactly is your question?

What do you want to know, you go onto just like you would otherwise and you use it except one passenger doesn’t cost you any Avios and you must fly on BA or Open Skies.


are you saying that if it is not on BA’s website, I can see it on AA & then what.. I have to book by phone, there is no way to book it online? I tried again, this Sunday going Newark to Miami & I get the same error “Sorry, there are no flights available on Tuesday 16 July 2013.”
Thanks for all!!


So the flights with connections may not be cheaper. Is there a tool or a way to find out if AA has a non-stop flights from D.C to Toronto or just search it on


I’m saying search on AA’s website for sAAVer awards.
If has a nonstop sAAver award available then will be able to book it.
If AA has a connecting sAAver award flight there then you can book each leg seperatly on
If AA has nothing than BA will have nothing.

Just search on to see if they have nonstops.

If the award calendar has no option to toggle to nonstop only (as shown in this post) then they don’t fly that route nonstop and you’ll need to pay for both legs.


Is there value to using the companion ticket voucher given the fees, taxes and fuel surcharges?


How does one transfer UR points to avios account?


is the 10 percent off for BA visa cardholders on any flight booked through or only flights operated by british airways?


Not in coach but there can be in business or first if you’re willing to part with the cash to fly up front and enjoy kosher food in the cabanas, etc.

On or call Chase.

I’d assume only BA operated flights but I haven’t tested that.


I wanted to book an evening flight from ORD to NYC. The BA website only had the first page of flights listed. I called BA and they very nicely booked me on the evening flight I had seen available on AA. So everyone, if you see it on AA and it’s not on BA – CALL!


when i try to book on BA i keep getting a message ‘Error
British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.’ i know im doing something wrong just cant figure it out…. any help?


Good advice.

Read the post.
“-After logging into your account on the left-hand side be sure to change the search from “Book with money” to “Book with Avios””


Thank you dan! This is some good info as my avios is expiring in December.


Can I just show the aa agent my credit card at the airport to get free bags wo having to change the ff number?


is it possible to transfer AA miles into BA avios so that I can take advantage of their great program?




No, but AA miles are worth more than Avios for international tickets or for business/first class tickets.


I know you said to look at AA, which I did not do yet… however I looked for a round trip to Miami from Newark for several weeks ahead… Nothing. then I tried one way & the first thing that came up was at the end of August. My point is there used to be much more availability between Newark / NY & Miami something changed a few months ago…


Where is the best place to buy large amounts of avios points?

Will BA block my account if I buy millions of avios points, and spend them on flights in my name?


That has nothing to do with BA and everything to do with AA. Look at the month-long calandar there for nonstop flights and you’ll know exactly what the situation is month by month.

As I told you, summer award travel is always tough. Consider Philly-Miami as I said in the post or fly with a connection somewhere in between. Maybe Atlanta or Baltimore?

Not here.


Dan, thanks a lot for all.

See following I copied award flights that shows up available for points redemption with AA but not with Avios, BA representative told me that AA does not make all of their award seats available to BA, is that correct? because it seems from previous comments that that shouldn’t be the case.

From:New York Area
To:Orlando International – MCO
Flight Date:Sunday, August 4, 2013
Miles Used:25,000
Taxes and Carrier-Imposed Fees:
up to $10 USD per person per award
Flight Details
7:25 AM
10:10 AM
From:Orlando International – MCO
To:New York Area
Flight Date:Thursday, August 8, 2013
Miles Used:25,000
Taxes and Carrier-Imposed Fees:
up to $10 USD per person per award
Flight Details
6:45 PM
9:40 PM


Read the post. There are no nonstop MileSAAver awards for those dates showing on thus BA can’t book it.
Those are AAnytime awards.


dan, i have a household account, and when i try to book it only let’s booking for members of household. Any way around that?


That’s why I don’t like household accounts.

I think you should be able to disband the household but I’m not familiar with that aspect of BA.


@Dan: Worked! Thanks


Dan, just one more tip from my experience. For some reservations, will not allow you to change the BA number to AA number (happened to me once and I think others have mentioned that occasionally they ran into that problem).

In that case, will work (it’ll take a bit more time to do it on because they want more information than finnair)


so what charge could they charge at the airport?


My guess would be somewhere between $0 to $20 for the flight from Canada to the US
Anyone with experience adding an infant at the airport in Canada?


Dan, thanks for an extremely informative piece. I use BA a lot for flights within Europe and the value is great. If you are flying through London to a UK domestic destination the connecting flight is effectively free. Unless you have an immediate connection it is worth considering using extra AVIOS and booking Club Europe. Aside of lounge access and a Business seat, which in Europe is often just a blocked middle seat, that gives you access to the great BA lounges in Terminal 5 where you can also request kosher food. BA kosher food out of London is excellent but flying in it is very very patchy. I flew in [Club Europe] from Kiev a few weeks ago and the kosher meal, roll and all, could probably have been served at Pesach – it was doubtfully roi l’achilas celev. Even the flight attendant was highly embarrassed.


I have an Avios free companion ticket expiring 11/17/2013.
Is there anyway to extend this? (Book and cancel?)Even if it costs?


@Dan: I will be travelling with my wife on business class, so if I make my 2 year old a regular economy ticket, will they alow me to take her into business class as I don’t belive that she can be in the back by her own


I would like to know how to open a BA card on my business? I am trying to but it doesn’t allow me, I would also like to open a Hiltons Honors on my business.


Hi Dan, I wanted to thank you for your forums on booking BA miles and how to search for the flights on AA website. My daughter wanted to go to Israel this summer but the price tag was too expensive. After reading your forums I was able to book a flight to Israel through Air Berlin with a stopover in Europe on the return and all for less than $200 in fees. I never would have been able to do that without your help! Thank you so much!


I know this is misplaced, but cant seem to find when searching previous posts, incluing ddf. Dan ir anyone know if there’s a post that talks about specific routes that are cheap $ per mile to fly, when the sole aim is attaining or maintaining elite status (sa, aegen gold would be fine), Or perhaps a site that can be helpful? ( ita wide searches did not turn up anything worthwhile) any other ideas or link to relevant post please? Much appreciated.


What is the charge to change a one way ticket from south America to USA economy seat to biz class seat (same flight) ?


How does free bag with AA credit card work? I booked paid ticket through Travelocity, included my FF #. The reservation shows in my AA account. When I called Citi to asked how do I get free bag the CSR said it must be paid with AA credit card which I didn’t used.

Anyone have experience with this?


Hi Dan!
On, it shows availability for a nonstop milesaaver flight on 7/23/13 & return date is 7/31/13. However, on there’s no availability for these dates….
Thanks for your help!


Is this from Miami to the Moon?


sorry nyc to mia


It is on for those dates. Plenty of seats too.

Be sure you follow my direction for how to search.


Classic problem with booking Avios- 7/29 flight LAX-JFK has availability in business but BA site has no availability. Can you advise?


@easy: is NOT showing nonstop MileSAAver availability in coach, business, or first for that date.

In fact it’s not even showing connecting MileSAAver availability in coach, business, or first for that date.

As the post says, BA cannot book AAnytime awards.


Great post, thanks! The problem I once had was the birthday thing you wrote about, and I tried checking in 24 hours in advance on AA, but it was Sunday so BA was closed! I had to call England… After some pleading the rep helped me out.


How long does it take for the Avios to be redeposited after you cancel you flight before 24 hours?



Instant. Just logout and login again.


Post 92, anyone have an idea please? Thanks


ok; try this one- on AA there is availability LAX-MIA on 8/20 but BA shows no availability. Am I missing somethign?


Maybe try here:

So what do you call this?

People have this perception that BA has less availability than AA when 99% of the time it’s people who aren’t searching properly.

Just follow the simple steps in the post.


Somehow I dont have the same screen that you have. I go to book flights with avios and type in the destination. I dont have that ability to toggle between book with points or money that you show in your picture. Where can I find that?


Follow the link I provided in the post.


oh. Now it worked! Should I save the link? Why is it different than the regular page?


A useful point you may not know: Removing a child [under 18] from a family account cancels their BA account. However the child’s mileage WILL BE DEPOSITED into the primary cardholder’s account. I have done so myself… This way, you can get everybody’s credit and then cancel accounts to restore single user flexibility….

Canadian admirer

hi dan. how do i check partner availibilty on flights to israel using it never gives the option on the screen even on days w/o ba availibity. also ba has no flights at ALL from anywhere on the east coast travelling to the ca utah arizona etc. thanx


Your post just saved me a ticket! I booked 2 return flights and realized that they did not ask me for DOB, I called and found out my ticket has not been issued, they then added the Date of births and issued the ticket.
If not for this post I would have never known this was an issue.
Thank you!



If i want to book a ticket using Avios plus cash from ny to Toronto, (40 bucks extra cash plus 60 dollars taxes ) and I cancel, what do I get back and what do I forfeit?


Hi Dan and Dans Deals readers. Thanks Dan for the daily postings of the deals. They really are helpful for saving money.

I am new to the whole credit card/mileage scene of getting points/mileage etc and I wanted to go about it the smartest way. I was wondering if there are some posts or articles on DansDeals for starters so that I can read about applying for the right credit cards, how to maximize points and mileage, satisfy spending requirements, etc. Any help from Dan or DansDeals readers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and kol tuv,




Dan I did it! I booked from BOS-DUB for 25K/pp and $61.14/taxes; called them up as instructed and got the last two seats. Thank you for helping us celebrate our one-year anniversary in style!


Hi Dan,
Any ideas if we can book Jetblue flights using BA avios points following the recent announcement of their interline agreement?


dan, thanks for this very helpful post.I have a question the companionship ticket is redeemable on ba only does that mean there is no way to avoid these huge fees? is there any way around that?



lax to seattle sep 18 returning sep 29


Where do I enter for the 10% off ba flights with the ba visa card? Im trying to book flight+hotel and I cant find the option to enter the 10% code


Great guide Dan!
I’ve tried seeing how to get cheap rewards flights FROM Israel to other destinations, but BA’s website will only tell me how many Avios rewards flights to the UK cost (without being very forthcoming re:flights to other European destinations). I’ve followed your instructions, but it needs me to put in a specific destination and date, while I’m just interested in finding out how much anything would cost for a range of places and dates (similar to the matrix you presented above). Is there any way to do that from Israel? Thanks!




I follow all the steps, find direct flights on that are MileSavers, go to (although it does not look like the screen shot above), log in, pull down the menu for spending Avios and book with Avios – and not one date or route or city to or frm works. Everything I try comes up with: BA and its partners do not fly this route.

Someone please enlighten me


How do you expect help without posting exactly what you searched for?


@Dan – that is an excellent question.
Anyway, I think I figured it out. Even though AA has mile savers flights from/ to PIT or PHL, BA does not recognize them (at least until the possible US Airways merger with AA. So I started searching with CLE originations and found. flights.


Challa Lover

nyc – tlv 12/22-12/30 or 3/31

any suggestions best way?

Have miles available with DL, AA, BA, United




Ok – so maybe BA does recognize Pittsburgh. Some dates (even though there is an AA Milesavers award available) BA says it does not fly the PIT route and other times, flights come up.

please hold....

does BA actually have anyone answer their phones. Tried calling this morning to cancel a flight and tried again now. Both times warn they are experiencing extremely high call volume and the wait is over an hour minimum. I guess I’ll just wait for the 24hr period to be over and then cancel online.


If I want to fly my family to Israel with a stop in London one way and in Italy the other way, are Avios the best miles to use? I have lots of Ultimate Reward miles that I can convert based on your post above.


@Dan I booked an Avios reward CLE-LGA round trip. I then found a better return from JFK to PIT. Can I cancel half of the round trip or do I have to cancel the whole award ticket and rebook as a one way?

What if I cancel after using the outbound portion?



Better off transferring to United.

You have to cancel it all.
That’s exactly why I wrote in this post to book one-way flights with BA!


i am not able to find a availability within this school year that i could take a sunday day trip to miami from nyc. fly down in morning coming back at night.


Hoe can I transfer amex points to ba?


Dan, I’m planning a trip to your hometown from nyc on12/26-12/29 for a family simcha. I applied far BA and wont have the points until beginning of december(unless you know of a way to get this faster). Since this is holiday season should i transfer MR or UR points and book now or could i wait for more availability closer to departing date? Thanks, love your site!


@Dan: @Dan: : What is the best method for using Amex points for a trip from NY/NJ/Balti/Wash. to London roundtrip?


Hi Dan,
I see that my RBC avion has a promotion in converting to BA for 50% more rewards. I have tried going on their site and find it very frustrating to use. I log on and then each time I want to go to book it takes me back onto the login page. I have already spend all afternoon on that site. AA site is so much easier to use. Can you tell me which is better to do with my avion points if I want to go to Quito or Laos. I have almost 50,000 ppts on avion so need to know if I would have enough to get to one on them. An answer to this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Hey Dan,

Thanks for the helpful post.
Pardon my stupidity, but I’m trying to figure out why a round-trip from DCA to LAX should be quoted to me as 69000? Does that seem high? They are forcing a connecting flight from Chicago, but even so, I can’t see why that should make such a difference.




I just looked at RT flights from LAG to YYZ Toronto. It was 9000 Avios and $57. This seems higher than what I have seen (e.g. someone wrote about Chicago to YYZ for 2250 Avios each way and $2.50). What am I doing wrong?




I see a flight available on but when I call BA they say they don’t see anything…is that possible?

Deal Guy

@Susan: keep on calling. HUCA!


can I book tickets for others through a household account on BA.
Can I transfer Amex points from someone else’s account to my BA account.


I cancelled my BA chase card more than a year+ ago after receiving my 50,000 point bonus and today I noticed that I received a 2nd bonus of 50,000 miles.


Hi! My daughter is applying for a first credit card. She is going to do the BA visa for 50k bonus. She will need us to help her reach the $2000 spending. Can I be put on as a AU to help her? Any chance they would say no to that cause no credit history?


not sure how to book NYC to MIA using Avios because it keeps on telling me that it will cost me 30K points what did you mean that it would only be 9K points


When I transfer 20000 Amex or Starwood points I thought I receive a 5000 bonus plus a 20 percent bonus yet I recently transferred 40000 and only received the 5000 not 5000 per 20000 and no 20 percent bonus
Can u enlighten me


Very helpful post. When flying from USA to London using just Avios, is there a way to avoid the huge cost of the taxes? Sometimes its 600-800 dollars?
Any ideas on how to avoid paying the crazy taxes when flying international?


I am a newbie in using points for flights and I truly need help with this. I live in south Florida and my wife and 1 year old son need to go to Israel for 2 weeks before Pesach. Dates are from mid March for 2 weeks (so she will be back home about 2 weeks before Pesach). I have 58K points on my BA chase card and about 20K amex membership awards. What is the best way to go with this? Thank you in advance for anyone’s help with this.


If one has both AA & BA miles, and the mileage redemption rate needed for the domestic US city pair one is looking to book is the same in both AA & BA miles, which miles would you recommend redeeming/using for the trip? The AA or BA miles? Thanks for your insight!


According to the amex website Platinum MR points transfer @ 2:1 ratio to avios.
Is this accurate? current?
And if so can i transfer MR points from another cc (my friend’s) so that he can transfer at that rate as well?


Does AA ever open more ‘reward seats’ for flight?
I’m looking to book two tickets from nyc area to Montreal on April 17/18, 2014. It seems like all flights are fully booked then other than the US Airways flights with a stopover (can i book those with Avios?). please advise!


Is there a link to instructions on how to book AA flights with Avios? All the British Airways flights are booked, from NY to La…from what I’ve been reading it seems like it should be possible to use my avios for other airlines, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do it…

Dallas ite

Looks like AA finally caught up with this BA-Avios loophole of booking cheaper miles. I just tried booking dfw-jfk for June and it kept saying : British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.
I checked aa and there are Milesaver seats available . Sigh .


@Dallas ite:
What date exactly?

Dallas ite

june 13-16


Several flights show up.
Search for DFW-NYC now DFW-JFK.

Dallas ite

Oh okay. Don’t know what happened and almost cancelled my BA card. Thanks

Avios - AA question

Does this still work. I’m trying to book from NYC to Detroit but I am getting the following message:
“British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.”


If I book my family with Avios all on one reservation and end up cancelling, how much to I get charged? $40 total for the whole reservation? Or $40 per passenger?

Thanks Dan!


Is there anyway to get from CLE or OHIO area to NYC now with Avios? Tried CLE and Columbus but the search comes back with nothing.
Also where can you fly now with avios?


scratch that I see I can fly c-bus to NYC now. not sure why it wasn’t working before. But would still like to know where I can fly direct from CLE, is it just Chicago now?



Just called BA to cancel a ticket from Toronto to LGA. They said that as of 3/31, the cancellation fees increased. This means if your taxes were about $52 per tickets, you forfeit ALL taxes (i.e. no longer $40). The agent said it’s a 55 pound forfeiture PLUS 25 pound service fee to cancel on the phone. They won’t charge all of that though.. instead you just give up all of your taxes.


@dan I understand that from NYC-Mia which is a distance of 1093 is in band 2 and that’s y it’s 7500 Avios I wanna know if I book a round trip will it be 15000 Avios or being that the total miles are 2186 it will fall under band 4 and it will only be 12500 Avios thanks


15K round-trip.


I booked 9 tickets from BWI to PHL they are on us airways using my sisters avios account( I hope that’s not an issue)
I see from the post I can go into finnair and update to my us air account
Both adults flying have us airways credit card that says first checked bag free. Is it enough to have the card or does the ticket have to be booked on the card?
A side question the lounge in BWI is accessible with Amex platinum for two guests. I want to get in all my kids we have two platinum cards. Is there any other card to access airspace lounge(continental one time passes?)


How long does BA take to put the award availability back into the system after cancellation. I need to cancel a round trip and book one leg back again.


No late flights? For some reason, I can’t never find late flights (red eye or late afternoon) on BA Avios, but the flight is available on AA.


I hope someone can help me. I’m looking to book JFK to PRG leaving May 7 There’s a flight from JFK with AA leaving at 18:05 with connection in LHN with BA arriving 1030 AM

with AA miles flight is 40K plus $192 for 2 passengers. On Avios, they want 49K + $642 Isn’t Avios supposed to be much cheaper ??? Im new with Avios and trying to figure this out.


Hi, is there any way to get my avios back if BA doesn’t want to give then to me??
My flight is in one week.



I’ve been reading your post, very helpful!!! Thank you for the great job!!!! 🙂


Hi Dan. I’m looking at a flight on tuesday APR 21 from mia to lga ON AMERICAN WHICH IS SAVER AWARD AT 850 PM BUT IT DOESNT SHOW UP ON BA WEBSITE is there a way to book it bec i thought if its on aa as saver it should be available on ba website too. Thanks

Steve Koenigsberg

Has there been any update to the way that one would book a US domestic award flight using Avios? I have searched for flights on the BA web site and under reward searches, they seem to only be searching for BA flights. Is there something else that I can do, or is a phone call my only option now?