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Airline websites are a great place to do your initial search for reward seats. However they don’t always show all partner options available, and worse, most airlines don’t prominently disclose that these options are missing when you search for a reward. That leads many people to think their only option is what’s in front of them on their airline’s own website, causing them to overpay for awards.
So, if you don’t see what you like on your airline’s website, try these other alternatives to find partner options you can book with your miles. They represent the three big global airline mile programs in the U.S. (US Airways members can use the American AAdvantage guidelines as the programs merge).
Then give your airline a call to book and check them again. And if the phone doesn’t give you the answer you want, try again, as phone agents can be unreliable.
AA.com does not display Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN, TAM, Qatar, or Sri Lankan Airlines award availability.
BA.com, the site of British Airways, will display award availability, but you must sign up for a free British Airways Executive Club account to view. Once you do that you can access the search here.. Qantas.com also has similar availability, and also requires a free account to view.
Delta.com does not display China Southern, China Eastern, Aeroflot, China Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, or Saudia Airlines award availability. This post has details on where to search for availability.
United.com does not display LOT Polish or Singapore Airlines, both of which can be checked via Aeroplan.com when registered with a free account. Brussels Airlines is intermittently available on United.com, but can be seen reliably via the ANA Japan website.
First / Business Class availability of partners shown on United.com may be unreliable and ANA’s website, which requires a login, is often more reliable.
Here’s how to set up a search on ANA:
1. Once you have an account you can login here.
2. Choose ‘ANA International Flight Awards’ (you’ll see the ‘Star Alliance’ option is still greyed out).
3. Do a search for an ANA flight (not a partner flight) – NRT-LAX is a good one to try. This will ‘prime’ the system to grant you access to partner searches.
4. Once that is done, you’re granted access to the partner system and you can click to check ‘Star Alliance’ availability
5. Enter the routes you really want to check and you will be set.
Once you see something available, you can call United directly to book the award.
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