I had to make changes to a BA award redemption last month, and accidentally stumbled upon this feature.
Most of us know that the sweet spot for British Airways Avios redemption is in its short-haul redemptions. You can fly one way in economy for as little at 4,500 miles.
I found a short-haul flight I needed via its oneworld partner airline, Cathay Dragon. I splurged and booked the flight for 9,000 BA Avios and nominal taxes and fees.
Somewhere along the line, there was a change of plans and I needed to depart a day earlier than scheduled.
British Airways has some of the most reasonable change/cancellation fees (compared to the major US carriers). I wasn’t worried about the change fees or not getting back my taxes and fees if I had to cancel. Rather, I didn’t want to pay through the nose for a new, last minute flight. Flights on my desired date were pricing out in the hundreds of dollars in economy.
I kept checking on the BA website for other oneworld alliance redemption options.
All I see was, No availability.
Out of luck, I guess. Or so I thought…
With every intention of canceling my reservation, I logged into my account. I clicked on the “Change/cancel book” option to begin the process.
Different Availability Bucket?
I followed the on-screen instructions. Instead of cancelling, I decided to check out my “change” options. When prompted, I plugged in my desired date.
Much to my surprise, availability popped up! I couldn’t believe my eyes; I just had to pay a change fee of about $55USD. Just to be sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I opened up an incognito window and checked for award availability for my desired date again.
I don’t know if general award availability was blocked and BA website only opens up more (or a different?) inventory for confirmed passengers. In any case, I quickly paid the change fees and booked the available flight.
Needless to say, this isn’t something I’ve run into frequently since I don’t typically need to change flights (or deal with change fees). Still, it was nice to see more availability when I thought I was out of luck with the options.