The FinnAir Trick with British Airways Bookings when Flying AA


Airfares for a couple of the routes that I regularly travel are annoyingly high for the next couple of months, and my go to for short hop domestic mileage redemptions on those routes is also double what it would normally be (10,000 Delta SkyMiles versus the normal 5,000 on the days that I want to fly).

As a result, I’ve pivoted to AA bookings with British Airways Avios and the 40% transfer bonus from American Express. On short-haul domestic routes, those flights are 7,500 Avois or ~5,400 Membership Rewards points with the bonus. (Side note: I suggest Seth’s wonderful Avois Redemption Calculator when deciding whether Avios for AA short-haul redemptions will work for you and your travel patterns.)

That’s all fine and good, but after my Avois booking is complete I have a British Airways record locator and my British Airways frequent flyer is attached the ticket; that’s not ideal because I hold an AA credit card which gets me priority boarding and a few other perks. That credit card is tied to my frequent flyer account with AA, not my BA account. If I had AA status I’d be even more annoyed since that wouldn’t be attached to the ticket either because the AA status is necessarily part of your AA account.

The Trick

So, I want to book with BA Avios but have my AA frequent flyer number on the ticket. While it’s possible to call British Airways or message them on Twitter to get your AA record locator, and then to take that record locator and contact AA and hope that the agent you talk to knows how to update your frequent flyer program and number, it’s annoying and error prone. There’s a much easier, mostly unknown method: Use the “Manage Booking” section of OneWorld Alliance member FinnAir’s website and you can update all of those details yourself. The steps:

  • Visit FinnAir
  • Enter your BA record locator and last name
  • Click “Search”
  • Click “Passenger Details”
  • Click “Update Details”

You can then enter your AA (or Alaska) frequent flyer number and click “Save”. After that your record will automatically attach to your AA account. You’ll then get all the measly benefits that your AA credit card provides, and/or you’ll get the flogging attached to your AA elite status, all without having to talk to another human.

Unless you board with AA elites, how would anyone know that you too are elite? By looking at your bag tag? Groan! Avoid that embarrassment with the FinnAir trick.

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