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Searching for awards can be a pain when airline websites don’t give you the results you want. They often choke up when multiple connections are involved, missing opportunities for you to find a valuable award or to avoid things like British Airways fuel surcharges.
One tactic that helps you find awards is to search for nonstop flights from airports you hadn’t considered. If you’re going to Europe or Asia the problem you’re trying to solve is getting an award seat over the ocean, since getting to an airport in the US that has that flight is easier.
For example, let’s say you live in Dallas and all the nonstop flights to Europe are not available for awards. But what if you could get yourself to Washington D.C., Boston, or even Tampa?
These cities all have flights to Europe and might have award seats available.
But it’s hard to remember all the flights airlines operate from each airport.
Google is making that easier.
One way is to go to Google Flights and use its flight map feature.
1. Select a one-way search and a date
2. Enter the airport you’re interested in
3. Choose ‘nonstop’ and the airline alliance of the miles you’re trying to use
It will then give you a map with all of the nonstop destinations in the alliance from your airport. The only trick is you’ll need to zoom in to see all of them. Here’s an example of OneWorld destinations from Europe. Nonstop destinations are in dark blue with prices next to them.
You can click on a city and get details for nonstop flights showing the times and airlines that operate them, though you can ignore the prices.
Another short hand option is available, though it seems to be spotty for some users, possibly based on location settings.
If you do a Google search for the name of an airport city and “flights” you’ll get a list of all the non-stop destinations and the airlines that fly them for a particular airport.
For example, searching for “Boston Flights”…
pulls up this list…
You’ll see that Delta has a non-hub flight to Amsterdam from Boston, which might be an option you hadn’t considered for an award routing. You can find out if it’s available by doing a one-way search for an award on Delta.com from Boston to Amsterdam. Then, you can piece together other flights to complete your award plan.
There are some catches…
Washington Dulles and National only pop up if you search for “Washington flights”
But New York’s individual airports show up by airport name like “JFK flights” or “La Guardia flights”
It would be easier if Google let you put in an airport code like “SAN” or “IAD” and the word “flights” to make the list appear, but play around a bit and you’ll get just about any airport to show up.
It’s also good for obscure non-U.S. airports. For example, here’s the list for Palermo in Sicily.
Of course it would be great if Google let you do award searches across all airlines, but the airlines aren’t in any mood to let that happen anytime soon. They control that information.
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