Rewards Programs Travel Tips

Booking American Airlines Flights Using Chase and Amex Points

I often expound on the value of flexible bank points in the P&M world. “P&M” is how I will now be referring to points and miles. Please use it often so it catches on and I can take credit for yet another P&M influencer movement.

Anyway, one of the best ways to unlock high value is by transferring those points, if you can, to dedicated travel partners. The Chase cards that allow transfers are the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred, and the Ink Business Preferred. Most Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points all point transfers. Always check a card’s terms and conditions to be sure. Don’t just trust a random travel blogger to be accurate all the time. Between the Chase and Amex rewards programs, many domestic airline and hotel loyalty programs are represented as travel partners. Notably absent, however, is American Airlines.

The good news is that, while not a direct partner with Chase or Amex, it is possible to book AA flights using points from those programs. Both Chase and Amex feature British Airways as a travel partner. Because BA and AA are oneworld alliance partners, it’s possible to book AA flights using BA Avios points. A significant advantage to this strategy is that award bookings through BA can be quite inexpensive when compared to booking through a Chase or Amex portal. Further, many flights are cheaper on a point for point basis than if booked with AA points.

First, make sure you have a BA account set up. This takes only a couple minutes to do so. You’ll have to add your BA account information to both your Chase and Amex rewards profiles to initiate the transfer.

Before doing any transfer, always check availability. Point transfers from both Chase and Amex to BA take only a couple minutes to settle, so it’s ok to wait until you’re ready to book to transfer the points.

To find AA availability through BA, login to your BA account. Find the booking table somewhere on that mess of a website. Right now, it shows up for me as a column on the left when I’m in my account’s main page. The BA site seems to change constantly, so I expect this to be different by the time you read this.

Enter the booking options you desire as you normally would. Just be sure to change the currency option in the tab at the top to read “Book with Avios”. From there, you’ll find whether your date and destination is bookable with Avios points. It will look similar to the feature photo. Simple enough. If successful, head to your bank rewards account to transfer those bad boys. Transfers are done in 1,000 point increments.

Thank goodness for the British. Sorry about the tea.

This is a fairly simple indirect transfer, but it stands as a good example of P&M problem solving. If you have other simple, great tips, please share them! Safe travels.

About the author

Travel Fanboy

Adam is the host of the Travel Fanboy Podcast, editor of TravelFanboy.com, and a super famous travel influencer. He's no expert, just an enthusiast who enjoys having a top-shelf trip at a happy hour price. Formerly of Vegas Fanboy fame.