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If you want to redeem your points and miles for maximum value, you’ll likely need to use them across airline partners. In addition to offering great value for your miles, airline alliances allow you to reach more destinations and enjoy better onboard products than what you might experience with US-based carriers. To leverage these alliances, though, you need to know how to find seats available for award redemption. Today, we’ll cover the best websites to use when looking for award availability within the Oneworld alliance.
If you’re looking for tips covering SkyTeam and Star Alliance, be sure to check out the other two guides in this series:
- The Best Websites for Searching SkyTeam Award Availability
- The Best Websites for Searching Star Alliance Award Availability
Oneworld Alliance Overview
American Airlines is the North American stakeholder in the Oneworld alliance. For our beginner readers, this means that when you fly American-operated flights and collect redeemable AAdvantage miles, you can then use these miles to book an award ticket on any other airline in the Oneworld alliance — assuming you can find award seat availability. The other airlines making up the alliance are British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines (a Russian carrier), Royal Air Maroc (coming 2020) and SriLankan Airlines.
With the basic relationship understood, let’s say you want to use AA miles to fly Qatar Airways from Atlanta (ATL) to Doha (DOH). How would you find a flight that has an available award seat? Let’s take a look at the best websites to utilize when finding Oneworld award availability.
Arguably the most overlooked award search engine in any alliance, Qantas.com is a fantastic tool with which you should become familiar. You can search Oneworld and other partner award seats (Qantas calls them Classic Flight Rewards) directly from the homepage. Make sure you select the Classic Flight Rewards button or your desired city may not appear as an option in the origin and destination boxes.
You can display a month of availability for a given Oneworld route by selecting the now hidden “Flexible Dates” button on the flights booking engine. Find it by clicking the “Flights” tab at the top of the Qantas homepage and when you click the date box the option shows in the upper left hand corner:
The full month of award availability will display, and this calendar even allows you to select one or more of the four classes of available service. This is incredibly helpful in cutting down on the workload when searching for available award seats.
Any date that displays the corresponding colored seat icon means that date has an available award seat. Remember that just because you see availability in the calendar doesn’t mean the nonstop flight you’d like is available. Click on the date you want to travel to ensure the calendar is not displaying a connecting itinerary.
Once you select the individual date you see with availability, the flights and classes of service available will display for you to jot down.
Remember that you’re not actually going to book through Qantas; you’re simply using the carrier’s site to identify award seats being made available to partners. Once you find your desired flight(s), you need to call the program whose miles you’d like to redeem.
In my opinion, the Qantas engine is now the best site to use for Oneworld availability for a couple of reasons. First, I have found that it does not display phantom award availability to the extent that British Airways’ site does. Second, the calendar view of available award seats (including all four classes) is incredibly customer-friendly. The one problem is that the engine will not populate all Oneworld routes.
However, you can easily tell if the Qantas engine will work for your itinerary. If you input the airport codes of your desired itinerary, have the Classic Flight Reward option selected and you still can’t see your destination city as an option, Qantas does not have the capability to show you award seats. You’d then need to use the next website we’ll discuss to look for award seats on that itinerary.
British Airways’ ‘Book a flight with Avios’ flight search option, found underneath the ‘Book’ tab on the BA homepage, is the usual go-to engine for most award travelers (note you must be logged in to your account to access the search engine). The website will show you award seats on every Oneworld carrier. Here’s the ATL-DOH route referenced above:
Once you find your desired route with availability, take a quick note of the date, flight number and departure time. If you want to use American miles, call AAdvantage and request to book the Qatar Airways flight using your AA miles. Feed the agent the date and flight number you found on BA.com that showed availability. The agent should be able to see the same flight as having an award seat and will quote you the number of miles required according to the AAdvantage partner award chart. In this case, the contiguous US to the Middle East would be 70,000 miles each way in business class.
If British Airways operates a nonstop flight on your desired route, the site will always show those award options first in the search results. Be sure to scroll down and see partner availability when that’s the case. In addition, note that the off-peak and peak labels displayed on each date of the award search results only apply to British Airways-operated flights when booking with Avios. You can thus ignore those notations when looking for Oneworld partner space.
There is one idiosyncrasy many people miss when using BA.com for award availability. The site will not show all four classes of service (economy, premium economy, business and first) on a single search result. Here’s a search result from Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) with economy requested in the Avios search engine:
In order to see first class, you must request either business or first on the Avios search engine. Once first-class space is displayed, economy award availability will no longer display. Here are the search results for the same ORD-NRT route as above, but with possible first-class space now showing:
Another stumbling block for availability hunters is that the British Airways site will sometimes switch the date into the British format (DD/MM/YYYY). If you’re receiving an error message in the search results, make sure you’ve got your requested date in the format the site is requiring.
For the most part, the BA engine is accurate — as long as you’re searching individual segments for award itineraries. If you search a connecting itinerary, for example New York-JFK to Bali (DPS) through Hong Kong (HKG), the engine can often show phantom availability on Cathay Pacific. You need to instead search JFK-HKG and then HKG-DPS.
The latest frustration with BA.com involves American Airlines-operated flights. Even when these flights show SAAver availability on AA.com, the British Airways search engine has had issues displaying them (though this appears to be resolved as of July 2018). If you want to book an AA-operated flight with Avios and do not see your expected flights on the website, you can have success by calling the BA call center, though be aware that the US-based number can have long hold times.
Finally, if you’re looking to use AAdvantage miles for Oneworld award flights, you don’t have the ability to book premium economy award tickets, so be sure to ignore that class of service as seen on BA.com.
frequent flyer program of Cathay Pacific) are decent options to look for award seats, but not all Oneworld partners’ award seats are available for online search with these websites. However, if youit do plan to redeem AAdvantage miles, you should check AA.com at some point. If you can book an award ticket online, you’d likely be charged a phone booking fee when calling to redeem your miles. The site is continuing to add new airlines to its online search engine and currently shows award space for the following carriers:and (the
- Air Tahiti Nui (not Oneworld)
- Alaska Airways (not Oneworld)
- British Airways
- Cape Air (not Oneworld)
- Fiji Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines (not Oneworld)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qantas Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Given these developments, it’ll hopefully earn a permanent place on this list in the near future as additional partner award space is added.
In addition, it’s also rumored (but not confirmed with any solid data I’ve seen) that BA.com but not American phone agents could see the Finnair space I found on BA.com without any problem.will purposely not show partner availability for other airlines when there’s an American-operated flight with available space. I’ve personally seen this with Finnair flights showing available on
While Oneworld has the smallest quantity of airlines in the three major alliances, it’s likely that many readers will (at some point) need to redeem miles for its members given American Airlines’ prominent role. While you may want to start at AA.com, I’d strongly recommend that you utilize the Qantas engine to find more comprehensive award availability, and consider using Ba.com if your desired flight won’t display on Qantas.
Remember that you’re only using the above websites to find availability, not necessarily to price out your award ticket. The miles required will always be determined by the partner award chart of the program whose miles you are going to redeem. And if you’re unsure but are sitting on piles of transferable points, be sure to check out our guides for the best ways to use Chase points and Amex points on Oneworld airlines.
Know before you go.
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