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The maddening trick to display AAdvantage partner awards on AA.com

by on Mon April 24, 2017 • 13 Comments
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American

AA.com is tricky when it comes to booking partner awards.

It never displays award options from these key partner airlines:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • Fiji Airways
  • Iberia
  • Interjet
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines
  • WestJet

And it will display availability with these partners, but not always by default.

  • airberlin
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines

For years, a basic award search from the AA.com home page would show most results from these partners by default.

But with the current state of AA.com, a lot of options that have award space aren’t showing in award search results by default. And it’s especially troublesome for Alaska Airlines searches.

The trick to get around this is to go to the Advanced Search page and start your search, instead of doing your search from the AA.com home page.

aahomescreen

You don’t have to change any settings on the Advanced Search page. It has the ‘All Airlines’ selection made by default. But you’ll only see full results if you start your award search from this page.

aaadvancedsearch

Unfortunately there’s nothing on the AA.com site that says you need to do this.

And sometimes when you do a default search from the home page, you’ll get partner results like these for Seattle to Portland, which further confuses things.

seapdx

The common theme seems to be codeshare flights.

Basically, if there is an American Airlines flight number associated with a partner flight, known as a codeshare, it will display by default if there are no American Airlines options for the route.

But if there isn’t an American Airlines flight number sold for that partner flight, or there are American Airlines options, then it often won’t display by default, and you’ll need to start your search from the Advanced Search page to see the results.

For example, American will sell tickets on its own flights from Seattle to Maui, and here’s a result searching from the AA.com home page (not using Advanced Search). Only American Airlines flights are visible.

seaoggaa

But if you do the same search from the Advanced Search page, you’ll see cheaper Alaska Airlines options listed.

seaoggadvanced

This is a maddening feature of AA.com, especially since the site explicitly states partners like Alaska Airlines are visible in award searches, with no distinction that you need to use the Advanced Search feature to see all of them.

Whether it’s a bug or intentional doesn’t really matter – it’s a bad experience that hides award options from many, if not most AAdvantage members looking for awards, and it forces reliance on American Airlines flights, where American tends to be very stingy about award availability.

Bookmark the Advanced Search page so you don’t get short changed the next time you search.

 

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13 thoughts on The maddening trick to display AAdvantage partner awards on AA.com

  1. Charles

    What am I missing? I’ve tried this over and over and over and it does nothing. Site simply says, “something went wrong…” or, “This trip can’t be booked online. Contact Reservations”.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Charles – Try choosing ‘Yes’ next to the ‘book with miles’ selection at the top of the advanced search page.

      Reply
  2. Travelgirl

    Thank you for posting this. We are planning a trip to Italy next summer and I have been watching tickets as we tick near the date. Today I put in the dates and saw that there were zero mile saver awards available… bc my computer was on show American only. Frustrating.

    Reply
  3. Giovanni

    Great post!
    I have a question, In order to use Avios to pay for an AA flight does it have to be a saver award? I noticed flights available on AA but when I go to BA site it shows no availability?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Giovanni – Yes it needs to be a saver award. But there have also been problems with not all AA saver awards showing up on the BA site. Give BA a call to see if they can spot the flight.

      Reply
    2. DaninMCI

      Yes it AT LEAST needs to be AA saver available but you may also need to book by segment on USA domestic flights. BA will usually error out if it has to make a connection, most of the time but not always. The fall back is to book or find space by cabin. You can then make the choice of booking on BA for the miles listed for each or calling and trying to get them to book by the overall distance I guess.

      Reply
  4. Dave C

    I find on most searches I want to exclude partner airlines. BA flights are almost always the default for flights to Europe. It’s a pain to search and try to get rid of them in my results.

    Reply

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