Compared to British Airways and Qantas, American’s website, AA.com, has been slow to add online partner redemptions. Well, we finally have 3 more partners that are now viewable without having to check 3rd party websites. Qatar Airways, Air Tahiti Nui, and SriLankan have all been bookable as part of a “live test” the last few weeks, however, they are now officially part of the AA.com award search tool.
During the trial period, our team of 53 Juicy Miles award consultants has made some interesting observations that you should take into account as you search for partner awards with these carriers:
- Air Tahiti Nui availability in business class is NOT accurate, in a good way. We’ve noted several days where seats were available as per ExpertFlyer or the Flying Blue website. We’ve been able to confirm the seats with agents by calling even when AA.com shows no availability. No surprise, but availability on LAX-PPT is tight!
- Qatar Airways has the opposite problem, the website displays more availability than actually available. If you search from the US to any destination via Doha you’ll likely see some seats that aren’t actually bookable as you advance to the payment screen. To avoid this, you want to first confirm your availability by searching in segments. For example, for a trip to the Maldives from JFK, you’d first want to search JFK-DOH followed by DOH-MLE. If those both show as available, you can then search JFK-MLE and attempt to ticket online. We’ve successfully ticketed many flights using this approach and award availability is quite generous on many US routes.
- No phantom availability or quirks noted with SriLankan
Over on the forums, several AAdvantage members are voicing concern that now that these partners are available for the average user to see, that availability will decrease for all compared to when you had to call in and search using 3rd party sites or tools.