A while back American promised they’d add the functionality to book partner award space on their website, and they’re slowly following through on that promise.
They already added the ability to search Alaska Airlines award space on aa.com several months ago, and now they added the ability to search and book British Airways and Hawaiian Airlines award space on aa.com as well.
This is awesome for a few reasons, including:
- It’s now possible to avoid the $25 American phone ticketing fee for reservations on these partner airlines
- American’s search tool (as I’ll explain below) is much easier to use than British Airways’ and Hawaiian’s
- American imposes hefty fuel surcharges for award travel on British Airways, so being able to know the total taxes and fees upfront is awesome
Let’s break it down by airline:
British Airways has a downright awful award search tool, so I’ll be using American’s website first every chance I get. When you start your award search, just be sure that the box reading “AA + AAdvantage Participating Airlines” is checked, assuming you want to see award space for Alaska, British Airways, and Hawaiian.
On the next page you can search by preferred cabin, but the other cool option is that you can select your number of stops by selecting either “No Preference” or “Non-stop only.” For routes that are only served by British Airways and not American, you know all your results will be British Airways if you choose the “Non-stop only” option, so if you’re flexible with dates that may be the way to go.
And as you’ll see, award space on British Airways is very good (not as good as it used to be, but still very good). It’s interesting to note that while American imposes hefty fuel surcharges for travel on American, they’re not quite as bad as what British Airways charges directly. For example, taking the same flight from Newark to London, here are the costs when booking through American:
And here are the costs when booking through British Airways:
So as you can see, they are still a bit less. As a reminder, British Airways’ USA destinations include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington.
I’ve always wanted to fly Hawaiian Airlines since they seem to be a cut above the competition when it comes to their service on routes to Hawaii, so being able to search their availability on aa.com is great as well.
The same trick above applies regarding searching for nonstop flights. For example, if you live in Portland and know you want to fly Hawaiian nonstop to Honolulu, just select “Non-stop only” in the dropdown menu.
And as you can see, the first option will be a Hawaiian Airlines option nonstop:
Hawaiian Airlines’ lower-48 destinations include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, and Seattle.
I’m also quite intrigued by how American is pricing some of these awards, like this one:
For this much: