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.

Changed Plans

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.


a screenshot of a computer screen

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.

No availability. 

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.

Bottom Line

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.