How To Reserve British Airways Seats On American Airlines Award Tickets For Free

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American Airlines AAdvantage members can redeem miles on AA’s partner airline British Airways. Business and Coach Class passengers that don’t have American Airlines Gold status (or higher) are not allowed to select a seat in advance of the flight unless they pay a fee.

For example, on a recent AA award flight in coach intra-England, British Airways was requesting $10 reserve a seat.

BA Pay for seat selection

But you don’t have to pay this fee if you don’t want to.

How To Reserve Seats For Free

You have two options. Wait until you check in to reserve your seat. But this option doesn’t guarantee you’ll have seats together or the most desirable seats.

Instead, you can call or log into British Airways and “Manage Booking” to reserve your seat 24 hours before your flight.


To do this, you’ll need your British Airways record locator. Simply call up American Airlines and ask them for your corresponding record locator for the British Airways segments on your itinerary. Once you have this information, log into British Airways at the 24 hour mark to select your seat. At the 24 hour mark, you’ll notice that seat selection is now complimentary.


Bottom Line

British Airways seat selection for Business and Coach Class seating is not complimentary on an American Airlines award for those with no status. If you want to avoid the fee, you can select your seat 24 hours before the flight online or wait until the day of departure at the airport.

Granted, waiting until the 24 hour mark may not give you the exact seats you were looking for, but it’s free and you’ll have a better chance than if you waited until you checked in at the airport.

And if you are looking for extra American Airlines AAdvantage miles, American Airlines and Citi are running a limited time offer for 40,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending only $3,000 within the first 3 months of getting the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World Signature® Card. I’ve already had this card, but I recently signed up for the 40,000 bonus mile offer for the US Airways Premeir World MasterCard in anticipation that the US Airways Dividend Miles will be merged with American Airlines AAdvantage miles in the near future.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. “passengers that don’t have American Airlines Platinum status (or higher) are not allowed to select a seat in advance of the flight unless they pay a fee.”

    AA Gold members’ seats can be reserved at the 1-week mark.

  2. I got gold status on AA. Just call AA and ask them to change the FF# to AA and then you can pick your seats!

  3. It’s kind of confusing how you say “British Airways seat selection for Business and Coach Class seating is not complimentary on an American Airlines award for those with no status”
    Isn’t that because seat selection on a British Airways flight is not complementary in coach or business class? I must say I was surprised when I booked a business class award using avios on BA and then was asked to pay another $95/person if I wanted to select seats immediately?!
    If you have a child traveling with you, BA will choose seats for you 5 days before the flight that ensure each child will be seated with an adult, if you don’t pay to choose your own seats.

  4. If you don’t feel like calling AA to get your BA record locator, just head over to Qantas and locate your flight on their site. From there they have a link to modify your flight on BA. It also shows you your BA record locator!

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