Sometimes it’s not which flight you book or when you book it, but where you book it. For anyone who’s best case scenario on a flight is usually some extra legroom, a spacious flat bed for the same price should certainly be music to your ears. Using a simple booking trick and a relatively small number of miles, you too can enjoy the good life. The only problem is you’ll never be able to go back…

Ok, Gimme The Basics, I’m Interested…

For reasons that aren’t worth guessing, you can buy British Airways Premium Economy for less if you book it through American Airlines rather than British Airways. This is pretty consistent and almost always true (look for yourself). Since British Airways and American are besties (and partners) you can then use your American Airlines miles to upgrade your flight to British Airways Business Class “Club World”. This is a double win because American requires less miles for the upgrade than British Airways would using their own miles. You’re spending less money and fewer miles for the same seats…

So It’s All About Where We Book?

Totally. It’s almost entirely that simple. The final piece of the puzzle is having at least 12,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for a one way upgrade, or 25,000 for the round trip, the second piece is booking a ticket on a British Airways flight via American Airlines booking. Getting American Airlines AAdvantage miles is easy, and we’ll talk more about that shortly…

But What About Finding Space For The Upgrade?

Great question and one you’ll DEFINITELY want to consider before booking your premium economy ticket. To find space for an upgrade, login to your account on British Airways website, even though you’re going to use American miles. Search for seats in business class on your desired travel dates using miles “spend avios”. Next, write down the flight number where there are seats avaialble. When you go to book your American Airlines ticket, just book a seat in Premium on the flight with availability in business and then call American to upgrade for 12,500 miles each way. Easy…

Great Trick But I Need American Airlines Miles…

There are three main ways to create American Airlines miles. You can get their credit card, you can fly on them, or any other OneWorld airline, or you can transfer Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points. You can indeed earn miles while flying on other airlines whom they partner with and you can also earn miles for hotel stays. For those a little scrappier, you can earn miles for online shopping, car rentals and other things too..

Final Tips…

You’ve got it, that’s everything you need to know. Credit card, check, miles, check. Search for upgrade? Yep, that’s next. Then book the flight. Done. Enjoy business class. Once you have, you’ll never want to go back, and the next journey will be figuring out how to go from business to first…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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3 Comments

  1. Tried to do this earlier today but the American Airlines customer service rep said it isn’t possible to use AA miles to upgrade on BA (even though it clearly says so on AA website). Any tips on how I can accomplish the upgrade?

    1. absolutely can be done. To upgrade using american ticket MUST be booked via American. So it can contain BA flights, just needs to be booked on American website and ticket stock. I’d call again and get an agent that’s not unqualified.

  2. just tried to upgrade my AA (operated by BA) P.Economy ticket, $3700/rt, refundable/flexible. AA says its ‘its not allowed in this market (LAS – LGW). AA suggested that I buy the same seat/ticket on BA, and call them back and upgrade with AA miles – wow. the only thing I’ve heard so far that seems to make sense is to buy the BA P.Econ ticket for +$6,000, and then waitlist using AA miles or the Avios from BA. At $6k, what’s the point? seems like the fare for discount biz. class ticket anyway, or close to it.

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