American Airlines’ website is a great place to search for oneworld award space, especially on oneworld partners such as airberlin, Qantas, and Finnair. American’s site is also useful for searching award space on non-oneworld partners like Hawaiian and Alaska. Scott wrote up a good introductory post on AA.com earlier this month.
This brief post will show you a quick tip on how to search for nonstop award segments on AA.com.
How do you manipulate aa.com to show only non-stop results? When would you want to do this?
American’s site is intuitive and displays accurate award space. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect: you are often given lots of options with inconvenient or overnight connections. Occasionally you are presented with itineraries that don’t have your preferred class of service (e.g. business) on all legs. Below is a simple workaround for this problem.
When constructing an international itinerary, find the transoceanic segment first and build from there. If flying from St. Louis to London, for example, it’s best to find the flight that gets you across the Pond first. Transatlantic flights are the most sought after, so you need to start there first.
One of my favorite routes is American’s Raleigh-Durham to London Heathrow flight. Business space used to be reliably incredible on this flight, though it’s been scaled back enormously in recent months. Still, it’s a flight that novice bookers might not consider, so I often look there first.
First plug in the city pairs on the AA.com landing page. Make sure to check the “Redeem Miles” box before clicking continue.
The calendar page of availability appears next. You might think there is useful space every day in March, but that isn’t the case. Some days feature inconvenient 6+ hour layovers in other cities before connecting to London. Other days only have transatlantic space on British Airways. American Airlines collects fuel surcharges on all British Airways flights, so we want to avoid those.
The Raleigh -> London flight is American-operated, which means only taxes are collected. Before clicking on individual days, click on the “Number of Stops” drop down on the left side of the screen. Change your selection from “No Preference” to “Non-stop only.” An updated award calendar should automatically display.
As you can see below, the narrowed results are exactly what we wanted. The remaining blue days have award space on the nonstop Raleigh->London flight.
Now when you click through a blue date, you are guaranteed to see the non-stop segment first. Other results will still display, but they will usually be much poorer options. You are likely to see long layovers or British Airways-operated flights that come with fuel surcharges.
There are great uses of the “Non-Stop only” selection when traversing the Pacific as well. One of the most popular requests at our Award Booking Service is for travel to Australia. Oneworld partner Qantas is a highly sought after award, and this tip will help you find that space.
Qantas flies daily from Los Angeles to Sydney. Unfortunately, searching LAX -> SYD on AA.com will often lead to false positives. You will get lots of results on American partner Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian is great for visiting the 50th state. Scott flew them last year and had a great experience. It’s not an ideal way to travel to Australia, however. Hawaiian features recliner style seating in business class, which can be quite uncomfortable.
Avoiding Hawaiian is another great use of the “Non-Stop only” feature. Below is a search from Los Angeles to Sydney in April/May. It would appear there are multiple dates with business class space.
Narrowing down to only non-stops reveals a more accurate view of the award landscape.
Note that not all of the eliminated results were on Hawaiian. Several dates were one-stop Qantas flights that connected in Brisbane or Melbourne. It’s important to not categorically dismiss eliminated dates and follow up to make sure.
American has a great award search calendar, but that doesn’t mean it’s flawless. You will often receive multiple search results with inconvenient connections, poor seats, or featuring partners with fuel surcharges.
The best way to combat this is using the “Non-Stop only” feature on AA.com. This small drop down will help you find Qantas award space or the best transatlantic segments. This can be incredibly useful in constructing an itinerary, building a stopover, or adding a free oneway to your award.