British Airways Award Search Tool Changes

British Airways’ award search tool is usually my “go to” place for searching oneworld award space for the airlines which aren’t displayed on (like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines).

It’s not the most user friendly search interface, but it gets the job done, ultimately. In August of last year they made some positive changes to the search tool, whereby it became possible to search for multiple classes of service at a time.

Prior to that you could only search for economy, premium economy, business, or first class, while now they’ll let you display up to three cabins at a time.

Anyway, this morning I noticed that they made some further changes to the search page, which unfortunately appear to just be cosmetic. I was excited for a moment, though it looks like they’ve just changed the formatting of the search page:


Meanwhile the results page and everything else seems to remain the same:


So if you’re using the British Airways search tool and see the new search page, don’t get too excited, as it doesn’t seem like it comes with any added functionality.

In terms of things I’d love to see with the British Airways award search tool:

  • The ability to display partner award space using a calendar view
  • The ability to search just nonstop flights, as opposed to itineraries with connections
  • Accurately displaying partner award space (lately the British Airways website has shown a fair bit of phantom Cathay Pacific award space)
  • Displaying Alaska and Aer Lingus award space, which in my opinion are two of their best partners (so it’s certainly convenient to make them difficult to book)

Or I guess my real hope is that American’s website just displays all partners, as I love their interface for searching award space. Or maybe I don’t really want that, since the “masses” easily being able to find Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines award space only makes it tougher for the rest of us to secure those seats.

What’s your wish list for the British Airways award search tool?

(Tip of the hat to David)


  1. The phantom award space is really annoying. I tried to book a CX itinerary last night through AA and couldn’t book due to phantom space. I later used JL’s search and found alternate flights which were bookable. I think JL’s search tool is better.

  2. Lucky, when did you take the screenshot displaying LAX to HKG? I just did the same research as yours, and my results was yours minus one seat, meaning no seats at 01:00 and 23:55, two seats at 09:40 and one seat at 13:05 (the same applies to J seats).
    I´m asking this because it’s very difficult to find Cathay first class award space on BA, but I can find them on JL and QA. I don´t know if it is something related to status.

  3. It drives me nuts how they don’t show the entire list of flights between cities with ~10+ flights per day. For example, if there was availability on all of the BOS-LGA hourly shuttles on a given day, it stops displaying after the 4pm shuttle.

  4. I did this same research on QA (JL only displays flights departing in four days) and got the same result as yours. BA is really hiding something from me.

  5. Hi Lucky, I am seeing one F seat on CX flight available via BA, QF and JL search engine, but AA rep both regular and exp line told me they do not see the availability. Could there be a problem with AA’s system? Is there anyway they can manually issue award ticket?


  6. @FRAN – Same thing happened to me yesterday but after 8 HUCAs (that’s not a typo) I was able to find a agent who could see the flight.

  7. Big deal, redesign the website and still leaves us on the US west coast high and dry at least in business and first, and the companion tickets worthless – you can search the while year month be month and not a single availability.

  8. Lucky,

    Have you been observing AAdvantage agents unwilling to sell flights connecting to Cathay flights that have available J and F. ORD is my gateway and in the last 14 days, AA agents seem totally unwilling to reserve anything but seats on the ORD Cathay flights. Only one of Cathay’s ORD flights has First class. To get First class, I was willing to go to SFO or LAX. But the agents refuse to reserve them saying it isn’t available or the AA connecting flights are unavailable. Kind of unfair, I guess if you aren’t Exec Plat, they don’t want to you get your flights.

  9. @ Lucky – has BA Avios agents gotten any better (long waits, not calling back, etc.) and what number do you recommend calling if we need an airline that can’t be booked online?

  10. @ Ivan Y — Not in my experience, though the Singapore call center continues to be fairly good, so isn’t a bad option for booking those tickets.

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