Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.

While other airlines search engines regress in functionality (looking in your direction, Delta), British Airways’ award tool continues to improve. While researching for another article, I came across the slightly modified ba.com and noted a subtle consumer-friendly change.

Though the change is minor, British Airways has exhibited a recent history of positive improvements to their search tool. With these steps in the right direction, we can safely anoint BA.com as the go-to site for comprehensive oneworld partner availability.

Simple Tool
This simple search engine packs a punch relative to its peers.

Scott wrote up a detailed guide on how to use BA.com to search for oneworld partner award space. Make sure to check out his post, Free First Class Next Month: Searching BA.com to Find oneworld Award Availability. We’ve also detailed British Airways recent and noticeable improvements to their site here and here.

What’s the newest change to the BA.com engine? When should you search ba.com versus aa.com versus qantas.com? (Hint: it has nothing to do with what type of miles you want to book your award with.)

When clicking on available award space, the site will now quote the price in Avios plus taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges. This eliminates an unnecessary click to the checkout page, which was previously the only way to find out how much your award would cost.

For example, when searching for award space on Malaysia’s London-Kuala Lumpur flight (check out Scott’s great review of Malaysia’s A380 first class here), you would need to click through to the pricing page to find out the cost in Avios plus fees.

Pricing PageNow when you click on available award space, the price is quoted immediately at the very bottom!

LHR-KUL

Any other tweaks?

You can also see the sliding scale of Avios + cash options available. Scott wrote an excellent post detailing the drawbacks and benefits of paying more cash in lieu of Avios. You can read his thorough write up in this post, Cash & Avios Analysis. It’s definitely helpful to have all the potential payment options presented before going to the final checkout screen.

Check out the screen shot below on Mayalsia’s Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur route (flown by an A380!).

Cash & Points Option

Why else is BA.com so good?

Nearly all oneworld partners are searchable online. BA.com displays Cathay Pacific, JAL, Royal Jordanian, and S7 award space, all airlines that AA.com lack. British Airways also recently added new oneworld member Qatar’s award space to its engine which I detailed in this post.

What are the drawbacks to using BA.com?

You can’t search for award space on non-oneworld partners Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus, both of which are traditionally excellent uses for Avios. Finding and booking those itineraries requires a phone conversation with their notoriously brusque call center agents.

Where does American Airlines’ site have BA.com beat?

Though the number of searchable partners leans heavily to British Airways, AA.com allows one-month searches, filters including searching for non-stop only flights, and a generally faster performance.

JFK-HEL
Helpful month-long look at nonstop availability between New York-JFK and Helsinki on oneworld partner Finnair.

Where does that leave Qantas’ search engine?

Way behind both American and British Airways. I generally avoid Qantas due to their lack of searchable cities, false positives on award queries, and the maddeningly quick time out errors I receive.

As Scott detailed in this post, Qantas has quite a few shortcomings. The lack of searchable cities greatly limits your ability to construct an itinerary. For example, Amman isn’t on their list, so forget about finding Royal Jordanian space.

They also display “false positives” in award searches. Emirates partners with Qantas’ own frequent flyer program, and their own award space can sometimes muddle your searches for oneworld partner seats.

Recap

British Airways has made more minor improvements to their award booking tool. The price of an award in Avios and fees is now displayed directly from the availability page, removing the unnecessarily step of clicking through to the checkout screen.

BA.com has gone through several changes over the past year that have made it much more award booker-friendly. In an era of airlines going backwards, including Delta’s terrible search engine and United eliminating Singapore partner award space from their own site, this is a rare beacon of good news.

Now BA.com is the one-stop shop for oneworld partner availability. I still prefer AA.com for partners including Finnair, air berlin, but BA.com is still a critical tool for anyone holding Avios or AAdvantage miles.


Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months. Plus, new Sapphire Preferred cardmembers will enjoy a one-time, automatic $50 statement credit on grocery store purchases

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.