American Airlines has introduced a cool new Award Map, which tries to make award booking easier. It seems pretty useless to me. I want to be wrong. Please tell us in the comments how it can be useful.

The Award Map lets you input your home airport and either a destination region or goal. Your options:

You also input the number of passengers, how many miles you have, what cabin you want, whether it’s one way or roundtrip, and the dates.

Clicking search will hopefully generate a map of results that meet your criteria. On my first search of a week in the summer in Europe in business class, I got no results.

I changed the dates to November, and I had my pick of the litter.

So why do I find this feature useless?

1. It only shows the partners aa.com shows. That means Award Map is not any new information from aa.com, just a repackaging of old information.

2. There is no way to make the dates flexible, meaning you have to search over and over if your dates are flexible.

3. There’s no guide to how many miles a trip “should” cost, so people who don’t already know the award chart won’t be helped by Award Map.

I think the best possible use probably lies in the Interest section for last minute getaways. Choosing Beach or Ski might give you some destinations you didn’t think of.

But if that’s not of use to you, then I think American should have spent its programming capabilities on catching up to ba.com and qantas.com as places to search for oneworld availability. Am I missing anything?

The bottom line on Award Map is that it won’t put my Award Booking Service out of business. But maybe we can do that on our own with some of Bill’s awesome recent posts on the new way to hold United awards and negative 7,500 mile awards to Fiji. 😉

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