You should always add your American Airlines frequent flyer number to a British Airways Avios booking. Doing so will allow you to get free checked bags, priority boarding, and better seats, if you have American Airlines elite status, or certain American Airlines credit cards like the Citi AA Executive card.
Why Would You Book AA flights through BA?
For short flights, you should always first consider British Airways (BA).
BA charges miles based on distance, which is different from most of the other major airlines. For example, it costs 7,500 British Airways Avios to book a flight that is 1,149 miles or less (each way).
And because American Airlines is a partner of British Airways, you can use BA Avios (miles) to book AA flights. To do so, just create an account with British Airlines, then search for award flights. AA flights will be shown when available, and can easily be booked on the BA website.
Why Add Your AA Frequent Flyer Number?
When you use the BA site to book AA flights, you cannot add your AA frequent flyer number. That has to be done after the flight is booked.
There are several reasons why this is worthwhile:
1) Free Checked Bags
If you have elite status with AA, or hold certain credit cards like the Citi AA Executive card, you and your guests can each check at least 1 bag for free each flight.
Additionally, you get priority access when checking bags, which means you get to cut in line and get through the weigh-in process quicker.
2) Lounge Access
Just like above, the AA Executive cards grants immediate access to the AA Admirals Club Lounge. You can also gain access with paid memberships, etc.
The Admirals Club is much nicer than the public airport. Free snacks, drinks, showers. Better Wifi. Less noise.
3) Better Seats
AA now has many flights with Main Cabin Extra (MCE) seats. These are economy class seats with a little extra legroom (6 inches, supposedly).
You can choose these seats online when your AA number is added to your booking.
4) Priority Boarding
You’ll get to board the plane first and put your luggage above your seat, if that’s important to you.
How to Add Your AA Frequent Flyer Number
There are tutorials all over the internet that focus on using the Finnair website to add your AA number to BA bookings.
That’s too much work, and there is a much easier way:
- Locate the confirmation email that BA sent you after booking your flight. It will say BA e-ticket receipt XXXXXX (where the X are your booking reference).
- Follow @AmericanAir on Twitter.
- Tweet to AA that you’d like to add your AA number to BA booking. They will recommend that you send them a secure message on Twitter.
- Send them your AA frequent flyer number and the BA booking reference. Feel free to add any support flight detail.
- That’s it, they will add it for you and DONE.