British Airways, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Award Availability Now on AA.com
Back at the Oneworld Megado in January, American Airlines executives told the group that AA.com would soon start adding the ability to search for award availability on various airline partners in the coming months. Not too long ago, they did so for Alaska Airlines, and just this week, AA.com also started showing availability on Hawaiian Airlines and British Airways.
AA.com's search engine has usually been pretty good for straightforward itineraries, and what's great is that you can now use AA.com's calendar view to see all the award levels and the dates they are available, so if your plans are flexible, you can find the lowest available award levels across these partner airlines. And compared to Britishairways.com, it's much easier to use because it won't try to force you to take American routing over partners.
To take a few examples:
In addition to flying from the West Coast to various spots in Mexico and Hawaii (where it's better to use Avios because of the distance-based formula), Alaska is also great because of all the flights between California and Pacific Northwest like Seattle and Portland (where it would also be good to use Avios since it would require less than the base 12,500 AA miles). However, just for search purposes, I priced out a non-stop itinerary from LAX-Portland in May. As you can see, AA.com pulled up a whole calendar showing all the award levels for flights several days before and after my chosen dates.
Let's choose to go from Tuesday-Monday, and as you can see on the following screen where you select your flights, you can choose from the Alaska Airlines flights listed at the very top--easy!
Now let's try to find some partner availability on Hawaiian Airlines. American Airlines is great because you can fly directly to Kauai if you want (or directly to Hawaii, the Big Island on Alaska) from the Mainland, whereas with Hawaiian Airlines you have to go through Honolulu. Still, if you're headed just to Oahu for your vacation, this could be a good option for you. So I searched for an itinerary from Phoenix to Honolulu (just a one-way this time) in June, and found an outbound non-stop flight on June 19 on Hawaiian Airlines for the MileSAAver level of 22,500 miles:
Now, let's check some British Airways availability. Let's say we wanted to get from Toronto to London in Business Class in June/July. Before, I would not have been able to find options that didn't stop through New York or another US gateway first on American, but now that AA.com is pulling in British Airways award availability, I found a non-stop roundtrip MileSAAver itinerary for 100,000 miles right on AA.com (keep in mind, if you actually fly BA, you'll be paying their huge taxes and fuel surcharges, though):
FYI booking a Toronto-London one-way award in business class on AA.com will cost you 50,000 AA miles and $339.40, versus booking it with Avios at britishairways.com for 40,000 miles and $436.22.
This is definitely a welcomed advancement to AA.com and I can't wait for the airline to add even more partners including Qantas and Cathay Pacific, as they said they would later this year. In the meantime, you can always call AA to search award availability or use Britishairways.com or Qantas.com.au for Oneworld coverage.