Award Flight Change: Can Avios Open Up Partner Award Space?

Award Flight Change: Can Avios Open Up Partner Award Space?


Can British Airways Open Up Partner Award Space if a partner airline changes your original award flight? As with many things, it depends. We had a chance to test this out recently when Iberia cancelled one of our 2023 Iberia business class award flights and automatically changed it to a different day, which didn't work for us.

Try to Make Your Preferred Change Online

If your British Airways Avios flight was changed, you should have received an email notification. It's also best to “babysit” your award flight reservations and periodically check whether your booked flight day and time remain the same, in case you missed receiving a notification of a change.

If there has been a change, British Airways may have already rebooked you on a different flight. But if that flight doesn't work for you, don't accept the change, and instead seek a different flight that works for your travel plans. In our case, our Iberia flight had been cancelled (Iberia was no longer operating a flight that day) so the system had rebooked us on a flight the following day that didn't work for us. We were unable to change our flight to an earlier day that did work for us, because Iberia generally only releases two business class award seats per day, and both had already been booked. That meant we had to call British Airways Executive Club.


Call With Your Preferred Solution

Our first call to British Airways Executive Club was a bust: there were system glitches that meant the representative was unable to even pull up our flight award using the record locator. The next day, we got a helpful representative, but before she could check with a manager, our flight was inexplicably disconnected. The third try was a charm: British Airways' systems were working, and I got a helpful representative. I explained the situation, that the Iberia flight one of us was rebooked on didn't work for, and that we were looking to have the award moved to a flight on an earlier day that currently didn't have any Iberia business class award availability. After some time on hold while she checked with her manager, she was able to confirm that they'd opened up award space.

Keep in mind that Iberia, as with British Airways and Aer Lingus, is under the IAG umbrella. Chances are that if our issue had been with a non-IAG oneworld airline, such as Cathay Pacific or Qantas, we'd likely have been at the mercy of the available business class award space on those airlines. That said, you can in those situations ask for your situation to be escalated to the oneworld liaison, although even in this scenario, it's best to put forth a flight or flights that would work for you.

Have you had an airline change or cancel your award flight, and gotten the frequent flyer program to open up an award seat?

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1 year ago

Thank you for sharing so many helpful tips. Btw, I had luck last month with Singapore airlines. My Maldives award flight was canceled and I was able to get them to open up revenue seats to put me on the earlier flight in the day instead of the evening flight that I was reassigned. Look forward to being a client in the future as travel normalizes.