Figuring out where to search for award availability can be complicated. Take American Airlines, for example. If you search on their website, they will show you awards for their own flights, but they will not show any results for partners like Cathay Pacific, even if seats are available. The flip side of this, however, is that you can find pretty good availability if you know where to look for it.
The below tables list all of the members of the Oneworld and Star Alliances and indicate which search engines can look up their flights. Non-alliance partners for American and United are listed as well. In case you’ve never heard of a few of these airlines, there is a reference at the very bottom of this page called What Are All Of These Other Airlines?
American Airlines’ search is very easy to use, but as you can see below, it has a lot of gaps. Gaps in Oneworld are filled in nicely by British Airways, but other partners can only be searched for separately.
Oneworld Alliance Award Search Engines
|Oneworld Alliance Partner||American Airlines Search||British Airways Search|
|American, British, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL, Malaysia, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7, Sri Lankan||X||X|
|Alaska*, Cape Air**, Fiji, Hawaiian**, Seaborne **||X|
* Not a member of Oneworld Alliance, but partners with American and British Airways
** Not a member of Oneworld Alliance, but partners with American
*** Qantas can be searched with American Airlines, but the results are not very accurate. Use British Airways.
Non-Oneworld Alliance Partners Of American Airlines
|American Airlines Partner||Award Search Engine To Use|
|Air Tahiti Nui*, China Southern, Gulf Air||Expert Flyer|
|Interjet, WestJet||Call American at (800) 882-8880|
* Air Tahiti Nui and Etihad can be searched with American Airlines, but the results do not show all available award space.
United’s search covers nearly all of Star Alliance as well as many of their non-alliance partners. Aeroplan can be used for missing availability on Shenzhen and Singapore Airlines. United’s other partners are difficult to search for, though you usually won’t need them. Out of the difficult-to-search group, Jet Airways can be useful for travel to India (and Amsterdam).
Star Alliance Award Search Engines
|Star Alliance Partner||United Airlines Search||Aeroplan Search|
|Adria, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, LOT, Lufthansa, Scandinavian, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TACA, TAP, Thai, Turkish, United||X||X|
|Aer Lingus*, Aeromar*, Germanwings*, Hawaiian*, Island Air*, Silver Airways*, Vistara*||X|
* Not a member of Star Alliance, but partners with United
Other Award Search Engines for United MileagePlus Miles
|United Airlines Partner||Award Search Engine To Use|
|Air Dolomiti, Cape Air, Great Lakes||Call United at (800) 421-4655|
What Are All Of These Other Airlines?
If you want to search for partner award space, it helps to know what cities these partners operate from. Below I’ve listed all of the airlines that do not show up by default in American’s or United’s searches, as well as the locations of their main hubs, and any special routes they fly that may be of interest. Cathay Pacific, for example, is based in Hong Kong, but they also operate a flight between New York City and Vancouver.
|Airline||Main Hub||Special Routes|
|Cathay Pacific||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||JFK-YVR|
|Sri Lankan||Colombo||Sri Lanka|
|Cape Air||San Juan||Puerto Rico|
|Seaborne||San Juan||Puerto Rico|
|Emirates||Dubai||United Arab Emirates||CHC-SYD
|Etihad||Abu Dhabi||United Arab Emirates|
|Great Lakes||Denver||United States|
|Oceania & South Pacific|
|Air Tahiti Nui||Papeete||Tahiti||LAX-CDG|
|TAM||Rio de Janiero