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Over the weekend I chatted with a fellow traveler on Twitter who was trying to use British Airways Avios to book a US Airways operated flight from DCA – Syracuse. The nonstop US Airways award availability was there at the saver level, as was shown by cross-checking on American Airlines’ website, so it should have been bookable via British Airways Avios. This route is actually a great use of Avios as it would cost 12,500 American Airlines miles, but since it is under 650 miles in distance, it costs just 4,500 British Airways Avios via their distance based award chart. However, the British Airways’ site was not only not displaying the award availability, but instead it was stating it and its partners do not serve that route at all.
The British Airways website has a history of being glitchy from time to time, but in this case it quickly became apparent that all US Airways award availability has disappeared from the British Airways website.
I reached out to British Airways on Twitter and they said that expect the functionality to book US Airways award flights to be back online by February 1st. In the meantime, you have to call British Airways in order to book US Airways operated award flights.
Calling British Airways is about as fun as a trip to the dentist, as it can be a slow and painful process. My best luck with reasonable hold times has come right when their phone lines open at 7:30AM Eastern (1-800-452-1201). Some have better luck calling the Singapore number at +65 6823 2095. You should remind them the website is not accepting US Airways reservations at the moment, and ask them to waive the phone booking fee. I will also add that some agents have been telling callers they cannot book US Airways awards over the phone, but that is not the case, and “Hang Up, Call Back” has been successful with getting an agent who can book the awards….though that is a miserable process if there are long hold times.
While we are on the subject, remember that British Airways has a 40% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards that runs until January 31st. Hopefully the ability to book US Airways operated flights does come back by February 1st, if not sooner!