British Airways – Destination not found

British Airways Avios is my favorite award program for getting to the Caribbean from Miami due to it’s distance based awards.  To show you why, check out our prior post on booking award travel using British Airways.

As you may already know, Hyatt is opening a new Andaz property in Costa Rica come December of 2013.  I happened to have two free night vouchers with Hyatt which are allowing me to stay there but I need to fly there which is the purpose of this post.

Destination no found

Being a partner of American Airlines, the British Airways lets you book award travel and  leverage American Airlines flights.  Oddly enough when I started looking up flights online  to LIR (Liberia Airport in Costa Rica) the system would not find that as a valid destination.

LIR-not-foundThis screen caught me off guard as I thought AA flew direct from MIA to LIR.  Given this I decided to go to the AA site and search for award travel using their system.

AA-LIR AA-LIR-Availability

The AA site not only found availability but found MileSAAver availability.  Typically the award space that British Airways has available to book for award travel is the MileSAAver availability on AA.

Find the solution

As much as I like booking online and not having to deal with phone reps, this is a case where you must call.  Turns out that even though the online system will not see LIR as a valid airport, the phone agents can and they also saw the same availability that I saw.

As an added bonus, since the airport won’t show up online, they are authorized to book the flight for you and not charge the phone booking fee.

Monetary Savings

As an added bonus, I am using BA Avios points at a rate of 4.9 cents per point.  The flight to LIR is only 15,000 Avios points per roundtrip and the current monetary cost on AA’s site for the same flight is $741!  Not too shabby of an exchange!

Summary

Just another reminder that just because you don’t see availability online, you need to understand the partner rules and learn to work your way around it to get what you need.

I am now booked on Avios points to Costa Rica and staying at the new Andaz which I am greatly looking forward to!

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4 Responses to British Airways – Destination not found

  1. Brennan says:

    That’s a great tip!

    Out of curiosity…what were the taxes/fees on that trip to LIR?

    I was looking at using Avios for an upcoming trip to Haiti, but the taxes and fees far outweighed the miles I would have saved using Avios. Actually wound up booking thru UR site as it was “cheapest” all around, plus I’ll earn miles for the flight w AA.

  2. ShoNuffHarlem says:

    I did MIA to San Jose, Costa Rica and got:

    1Adult 15000 $ 0.00 $ 45.51View taxes, fees and surcharges $ 45.51
    Total 15000 Avios + $ 45.51

  3. Brennan says:

    That’s great, good to know. Must just b a Haiti thing w the hi taxes then. Glad I saw ur post, I was gonna write off the whole Caribbean as not worth it for Avios.

    • travelguys says:

      Brennan, sorry for the late reply as I was traveling all day today. What Shonuff says is about right. The taxes aren’t that much. Shonuff, thx for posting!

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