Knowing where and how to search for award space is one of the most complicated and important aspects of using your frequent flyer miles effectively. Unfortunately, the airlines do not always make this an easy task.
Some airlines only show awards for some partners and other airlines won’t show you all of the valid connections you can make. This article is going to look at where are the best places to search for award space for oneworld alliance members. There are currently 14 full members of the as well as a handful of member affiliates.
Below is a table outlining the best places to search for each oneworld alliance carrier. We’ll also share some tips for search on individual tools.
|Airline||Where to Search|
|Air Berlin||AA.com, Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|American Airlines||AA.com, Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|British Airways||AA.com, Qantas.com.au , Britishairways.com|
|Cathay Pacific||Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|Finnair||AA.com, Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|Qantas||AA.com, Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|Qatar Airways||Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|Royal Jordanian||AA.com, Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|S7 Airlines||Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
|SriLankan Airlines||Qantas.com.au, Britishairways.com|
You can also search for space on American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas with non-oneworld member Alaska Airlines.
Tips By Search Tool
In addition to the ability (or not) to search specific airlines, each airline’s search tool has it’s own pluses and minuses.
American Airlines is overall the easiest search tool to use, but it has the most shortcomings in terms of the number of partners that it is able to search. It’s possible to search for space on the American Airlines site without creating an account and it is easy to filter results. For example, you might not want to use your miles to fly on British Airways because of the large fuel surcharges they charge. American Airlines makes it easy to filter out British Airways flights.
American Airlines also does a decent job of showing connections you can make on an award itinerary and has a great calendar view so you can eyeball the availability for a whole month.
If you only care about space that is on Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Qantas, and Royal Jordanian, you can get away with using American Airlines’ site to search for your flights. For trips for Europe and within Australia specifically, AA.com is usually the best place to search for your award.
Qantas just might be the best of both worlds between the ease of use of AA.com and comprehensiveness of Britishairways.com. The things that are great about Qantas is that there is a monthly calendar, it searches many partners, and you can search by class of service. But you do need to have an account with Qantas in order to search on their site.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of. First, and most importantly, Qantas likes to trick you a little bit for premium cabin awards. It will show that there is a business class or first class award available, and it will turn out that there is only business class availability for the short-haul flight. For example, if you are flying from Hanoi, Vietnam to San Francisco via Tokyo, Qantas might show you an itinerary option that is business class from Hanoi to Tokyo and economy to San Francisco and call that a business class booking. I doubt that’s exactly what you would be going for.
The second major shortcoming of searches on Qantas is that when you are looking at awards that transit the Middle East, Qantas will prioritize the award space on non-alliance partner Emirates over oneworld Alliance partner Qatar in the search results.
British Airways has the most comprehensive award search engine for the oneworld alliance, but it is not the easiest to use. You will need an account with British Airways in order to use their award search engine.
British Airways is almost a must for your award searches if you are traveling to Asia. This is because it’s the only place you can search for award space on Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. You can also search for space on all of the other oneworld alliance members.
I also find British Airways to be preferable to Qantas when searching for Qatar award space because Qantas partners with Emirates (out of alliance) and tends to prioritize Emirates awards over Qatar awards.
Sounds too good to be true? It is. British Airways’ search tool has a few major shortcomings. The most major is that it is not very capable of finding itineraries with connecting flights. This means you need to search for your award segment-by-segment. If you want to fly from Chicago to Tokyo via Dallas on Japan Airlines, you need to search for the award space for Chicago to Dallas and Dallas to Tokyo separately. Since there are so many different routing options, this means that you could be spending a long time searching.
British Airways also only allows you to search one day at a time. If you are flexible in your travel dates, not only do you have to search segment-by-segment, but you also will have to search each date separately.
Luckily, there is a free tool that makes searching for award space with British Airways a little easier. Award.flights Award Finder is a Chrome extension that allows you to enter in multiple destination cities and is able to search multiple dates automatically and doesn’t cost anything to use! The Award Finder will save you a lot of time, but you still need to think about possible routings and plan them out in order for it to be a useful tool.