In addition to recently adding British Airways, Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines availability to its award search engine, AA.com has also added award availability for two more partners – Air Berlin and Finnair – to its online award search functionality.
For instance, just searching for award availability from New York JFK to Helsinki in November, I found tons of availability both in MileSAAver Off Peak economy as well as Business/First MileSAAver.
When I clicked on the calendar for the days I wanted, it pulled up several options including a flight from New York to Berlin aboard Air Berlin (AB), and then a connection to Helsinki aboard Finnair (AY).
You’ll also note that on the left side, you can choose which airlines to include in your search from all the possibilities on this route including American, Air Berlin, British Airways and Finnair.
This could be a big help when searching for itineraries to out-of-the-way places or routes that Air Berlin and Finnair might service, such as Ft. Myers-Dusseldorf, or Finnair’s flight from Hong Kong to Helsinki (I did search for that throughout November, but there was no availability – instead you’d have to fly from Hong Kong to London and then to Helsinki from there).
It does seem that there is a glitch when searching for availability on a multi-leg itinerary where seats are not available in the same class of service all the way through, but if you find that there are seats available at the award level you want when you price out each leg of the itinerary individually, you should be able to book the award you want the old-fashioned way…by calling American and having them do it for you. Just ask them to waive any fees since the online engine wasn’t able to price out itineraries like this properly and you shouldn’t be penalized for its glitches.
Oneworld and Amerian MileSaaver Availability that shows on aa.com can also be booked using British Airways Avios, but britishairways.com is buggy and will only show British Airways availability in certain award searches. Note: BA does charge huge fuel surcharges on FinnAir flight, but not on Air Berlin. You may have to call British Airways at 1-800-452-1201 to book partner awards.
Hat tip: View from the Wing.